I was asked by James O'Brien of NBC Sports ProHockeyTalk to submit my fictional ballot for the Hockey Hall of Fame. So here it is. I realize that my choices aren't going to be the popular ones, but the fact is that I gave it some serious consideration. I wanted to pick people who were not only successful, but left a stamp on the sport in some fashion.
For instance, while Pavel Bure was undoubtedly an exciting player, the fact is, he didn't really accomplish much in his career. I don't think that him just being exciting is a good enough reason to be a Hall of Famer. Sorry.
So, my choices - along with reasons - were.... (Please be kind - or, at the very least, respectful.)
1. Kevin Lowe - As much as I dislike him as the president of the Edmonton Oilers, there's no denying that he was a presence on those five Cup winning Edmonton Oilers teams. And he managed to add a sixth Cup win when with the New York . Even if it was just luck on his part, those six rings speak volumes.
2. Cammi Granato - Manon Rhéaume may have broken the gender barrier in the NHL - even if it was only during the preseason - but Granato has accomplished far more on the ice than Rhéaume has. She's won just about everything there is to win in women's hockey, including the first-ever Olympic gold medal at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan. In 2007, she was one of the winners of the Lester Patrick Award, which is often awarded to NHLers; if that doesn't say something, then I don't know what does.
3. Alexander Mogilny - Mogilny's on-ice accomplishments were many, but it's his off-ice accomplishment that makes him HHOF-worthy. He was the first Russian to defect in 1989 as a junior player to the US to come play hockey in the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres - the Soviet Union didn't fall until two years later in 1991. Mogilny's bravery led the way for other Russians to join him in North America, such as Sergei Fedorov and Pavel Bure.
4. Manon Rhéaume - She was the face of women's hockey for many years, and inspired a generation of girls to toss their figure skates for a pair of hockey skates - or even just to learn to skate so they could play hockey. She broke the NHL gender barrier by playing two NHL preseason games with the Tampa Bay Lightning, one in 1992 versus the St. Louis Blues and the other in 1993 versus the Boston Bruins. She also participated in the first ever women's ice hockey Olympic tournament in 1998 with Team Canada, winning the silver medal.
Honorable Mention, Mike Richter - Perhaps not the most successful goaltender on the list, but his accomplishments to grow the game here in the US were great. He was, for many years, the face of USA Hockey - and he lived up to that admirably. It doesn't hurt that he also managed to win a Cup in 1994 with the NY Rangers as well.
To see the rest of the suggestions, go HERE.