So I was driving home from work last week, and I heard this on the radio.
“Daniel Alfredsson is a shoo-in for the hall of fame.”
After the tow-truck pulled my car out of the ditch, I took some time to ponder this statement.
And the more I thought, the more I realized I was right.
Daniel Alfredsson does not belong in the hall of fame.
At least, not with the way his career is now.
Don’t get me wrong, Alfie is a good player, and is a surefire bet to be the first Senator of the modern era to get his number retired by the team. Unless the Sens decide to hang Dany Heatley’s number first (with Heatley still in the jersey).
But hall of fame? I don’t think so.
Here is the following 10 reasons why Daniel Alfredsson doesn’t deserve to make the Hall of Fame.*
No Stanley Cup
There are a lot of people who believe that if you don’t have a Stanley Cup ring, you don’t belong in the hall of fame. They’ll even argue that Marcel Dionne, who is one of only six players to score 700 goals and fis ifth in points all time, doesn’t belong in the Hall.
Now, I’m not necessarily one of those people, but I think it helps. A lot. Scott Stevens wouldn’t be in the hall without his three Stanley Cups. Clark Gillies wouldn’t be there if he wasn’t a part of the Islanders dynasty at the beginning of the 1980s.
If someone like #11 makes it, it would open up the hall to the rest of the “good, but not great” players, such as Theoren Fleury, Adam Oates and Tim Kerr.
Basically, a hockey player’s career can be summed up in one of five categories:
A cup of coffee: Guys who played a couple of games or a season or two (Chad Penney, Mike Fountain)
A Sunday brunch: Played a few years, but nothing special (Anson Carter, Janne Laukkanen)
Dinner at a friend’s house: A good serviceable career in the league (Mike Keane, Yanic Perreault)
A five-course meal: Nice to see, but no guarantees it’s the best you’ve ever had (Adam Oates, Doug Gilmour)
Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings: The superstars of the league, lets you know they are something special, and sure-fire Hall of Famers (Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky)
Alfredsson falls somewhere between number three and four. He’s had a nice career, but he doesn’t belong in that upper echelon.
Every one says Daniel Alfredsson is a great leader. But is he really?
Do you ever remember Daniel Alfredsson coming through in the clutch? Me neither. In fact, if you were to look at the Sens biggest games of the past 10 years, this is how Alfie fared:
2007 Stanley Cup finals: Four goals, one assist (two of those goals came in the last game, a 6-2 drubbing).
2004 playoffs, first round, Game 7 against the Leafs: No points, no shots, a minus one
2003 playoffs, third round, Game 7 against the Devils: No points.
2001 playoffs, first round, four-game sweep by the Leafs: One goal, no assists
1999 playoffs, four-game first-round sweep by the Leafs: One goal, two assists
So in the last 10 years, of the team’s 14 most important games, Alfie has six goals and three assists. Take away the 2007 finals, and he has two goals and two assists in 10 of the team’s most important games.
That’s not leadership.
Leaders do more than lead by example. Their teammates stick up for them. Think Wayne Gretzky. If you touched him, either Dave Semenko or Marty McSorley would come over to talk about you not eating solid foods for a month.
Does Alfie command that type of respect from his colleagues? Have a look at the video.
Despite the title of the Youtube clip, mayhem did not ensue after Mark Bell left Alfie lying in a puddle of his own drool. What happened is that the play continued on for another 10 seconds before anything happened.
And even then, the whistle was blown because Alfie was injured, not because of fights breaking out while the team tried to fight for the honour of their captain.
If you watch the footage of what happened afterwards, nothing happened. No gloves were dropped, no punches thrown. I’m sure Wade Redden did a good job telling Bell that he was a bad person for throwing that hit.
I can tell you this though. If someone had tried to lay out Steve Yzerman in that fashion, they’d still be cleaning up the guy’s blood.
Not a great playoffs in career
I just touched upon this one, but it does deserve a category all on its own.
He doesn’t come through when the team needs him.
He’s like the reverse Claude Lemieux: great in the regular season, but disappears come playoff time.
He never won a major individual award.
Besides the Calder trophy (as best rookie), Alfredsson has never won a major individual award.
He’s only been nominated for an award twice: both for the Lady Byng for most gentlemanly player.
Again, when you look at other hall of famers, most of them have won awards. Look at the four players that made it this year.
Brett Hull: Lady Byng, the Hart and the Lester B. Pearson.
Brian Leetch: Norris trophy (twice), Conn Smythe and the Calder.
Steve Yzerman: Lester B. Pearson, Conn Smythe, Selke, Masterton, Lester Patrick
Only Luc Robitaille won as many trophies (the Calder) as Alfie, but he can be forgiven, since he’s the highest-scoring left winger of all time.
And Alfredsson has the credentials to match that?
He’s been named to the second all-star once, and that’s pretty much it.
Never won a scoring title
Have you ever actually looked at Alfredsson’s stats? Can you guess how many times he put up more than 90 points?
In the 2005-06 season, he had 103 points. His next highest point total is 89.
Now, can you guess how many times he scored more than 50 goals?
None. His highest total is 43.
These are the benchmarks that players are judged by. It’s been 50 goals ever since Maurice Richard did it in 1943-44.
In baseball, there are certain goals that players can hit the will generally make them a shoo-in for the hall of fame (such as hitting 500 career home runs). Hockey doesn’t really have anything like that, but scoring 50 goals in a season helps a lot (right Cam Neely?).
Alfredsson never hit it, unlike many other hall of famers.
Does Daniel Alfredsson have sportsmanship?
I would argue no.
Normally, it’s hard to argue sportsmanship in hockey. The whole point of the game is to run into your opponents to keep them from scoring.
But there are instances when you see sportsmanship come through. A guy gets accidently injured when his skate catches a rut, you see the opposing player call for the whistle right away to get the guy help.
Or you hold up on your hit if they see the guy turn his back.
Or you don’t take a shot on goal once you hear the whistle.
But this is not sportsmanship.
You do not intentionally shoot the puck at your opponent near the end of a game.
Not the top at his position for years
When you look at other hall of famers, they were the cream of the crop. Look at the top 10 centres of the 1980s. In no particular order, they were Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Steve Yzerman, Bernie Nicholls, Denis Savard, Peter Stastny, Dale Hawerchuk, Bryan Trottier, Mark Messier and Marcel Dionne. Of that list, Nicholls won’t make the hall of fame, and the rest are already in.
What’s more, is that after the top 10, there’s a huge drop in talent. Barry Pederson, Tim Kerr, Bob Carpenter, Kent Nilsson, Mike Bullard, Bernie Federko, Dennis Maruk and Bobby Smith would probably be the next top eight centres from that decade.
Only one of them are in the hall of fame (Federko), and none of the others will have a shot to make it.
So pretty much, if you’re not in the top 10, your odds of making it to the hall of fame go down drastically.
So when you look at Alfredsson of the past decade, which has been his best years, he wouldn’t be in the top 10 when it comes to right wingers. I’d put him below Teemu Selanne, Pavel Bure, Alexander Mogilny, Bill Guerin, Marian Hossa, Brett Hull, Jaromir Jagr, Jarome Iginla, Milan Hejduk and Rick Nash.
How many of those are sure-fire Hall-of-Famers? Hull’s already there, but there may only be three from that list that will join him (Selanne, Jagr and Iginla). The rest are on the cusp.
You could also argue that since Alfredsson came into the league (the 1995-96 season), he’d also be ranked below Theo Fleury, Peter Bondra, Mark Recchi, Tony Amonte and Paul Kariya.
So if he’s not even one of the top 10 right wingers during his career, his odds go down drastically.
Not the best player on the team
When you played against other hall of famers, you knew it. Coaches would design game plans to stop them. The top checking line would play against the likes of Mike Bossy, Guy Lafleur and Lemieux.
Alfie never had to deal with that for much of his career.
In the 90s, Alexei Yashin was seen as the more offensive player, and teams would focus on stopping him.
Then, in the 2000s, teams worked on stopping Jason Spezza and Heatley.
While Alfie had a good career, he was never seen as the guy that other teams needed to stop.
Hockey players are always making guarantees. The two most famous ones happen to be Mark Messier and Daniel Alfredsson.
Messier, in 1994, didn’t like the fact his New York Rangers were down three games to two to the New Jersey Devils. So he guaranteed a Rangers win to send the series back to New York for game seven.
So what did Messier do? He went out and scored a hat trick.
Fast forward ten years later. Before the 2004 playoffs had even begun, Alfie decided to tell the Ottawa Sun “Go ahead and write it, I guarantee we’ll win the Cup. I strongly believe this team will do it. No question about it.”
So what happened? They went down 3-2 in the first round of the playoffs to the hated Toronto Maple Leafs.
So then Alfie said this: “We’re going to go home, win and force Game 7. Then we’ll come back in here and win the series.”
They won game six, but lost the series.
And how did Alfie respond to his own guarantee? By scoring one goal and two assists in seven games.
If you’re going to guarantee something, shouldn’t you actually show up and do something about it?
Maybe he should guarantee he’s going to make the Hockey Hall of Fame. That’s a surefire way he won’t make it.
No WOW factor
Have you ever heard someone say “Hey, Daniel Alfredsson is playing tonight. Let’s go to the game.”
A Hall of Famer is someone who, for the lack of a better term, puts butts in the seats. Gretzky did that. So did Lemieux. And Patrick Roy.
Their play transcended the sport.
People would go to the game just to see them in action. Pavel Bure was great at this. Even if he didn’t score, his moves on the ice would make fans of him and his opponents gasp in anticipation.
But Alfie doesn’t fall into this category. No one goes to see him in action. He’s more of the side attraction of the real reason the fans are there (to see the Sens win).
While not meeting any of these criteria doesn’t mean a player won’t make the hall of fame, it’s difficult to do so when he doesn’t meet any of them.
Alfredsson is one of those players, and because of it, he doesn’t deserve to be in the hockey hall of fame.
*Of course, this all changes if Alfie can put up some monster seasons and win a couple of cups the next few seasons, but I don’t see that happening.