The Free Press


Goring tops list of HOF snubs

Good morning, folks.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend — man, how about that weather?!

Along with the shining sun, there was a star sighting on Saturday.

Spotted having breakfast at Winnipeg's iconic Red Top Drive Inn was perhaps the best player to not — and many hope it's yet — be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

A veteran of 16 seasons in the NHL and a four-time Stanley Cup Cup winner with the New York Islanders, Robert (Butch) Goring, in my mind, tops the list of HOF snubs.

Wearing his iconic helmet, the one that his father bought for him as a 12-year-old, Goring played a total of 1,107 games, accumulating 375 goals and 513 assists for 888 points.

But, it wasn’t just on the scoresheet — he was tremendous penalty-killer and scored 40 short-handed goals, the fifth most of all-time — and it wasn’t just in the regular season that Goring made his mark. Perhaps the best second-line centre to ever play the game, the native of St. Boniface had 27 goals and 35 assists in 78 games over the Islanders' four Cup-winning playoff years and in 1980-81 he won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoffs MVP.

Also notable was that he recorded only 102 penalty minutes in his career, the lowest total in NHL history for a player appearing in more than a 1,000 games — and, four times in his career, he took only one minor penalty playing an entire season.

Drafted in 1969 by the LA Kings in the fifth round (51st overall) from the MJHL’s Dauphin Kings, Goring was sent to Long Island in 1980 — in what might be the best trade deadline deal ever — and became known as the "final piece of the puzzle" that catapulted the upstart Islanders to four straight championships.

Goring, now 72, was back home on the weekend, fulfilling his current duties as the New Islanders’ television colour commentator on MSG. Another local sports legend, Bob Holliday, bumped into him at the Red Top and posted a pic on Facebook. Thanks, Bob.

Butch Goring and Bob Holliday met up at the Red Top on Saturday.

Butch Goring and Bob Holliday met up at the Red Top on Saturday.

Could the Islanders have won all those championships without Goring? We'll never know for sure, but I’d suggest the part he played in the titles — and many other of his accomplishments on the ice warrant inclusion in the HOF.

And then there’s this: there’s some debate over the validity of this fact, but there are some — including Mike Bossy — who say Goring was the originator of the NHL's tradition of growing a beard in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Come on already, then.

There are plenty of other HOF omissions: names that perhaps warrant consideration include Jeremy Roenick, Theoren Fleury, Pierre Turgeon, Paul Henderson, Rod Brind’Amour, Daniel Alfredsson and Randy Carlyle.

But right up there with Goring, in my opinion, is Alexander Mogilny.

The slick-skating, sharp-shooting Russian winger potted 473 goals, including 76 during the 1992-93 season, and added 559 assists in 1,032 games and in one of just 29 members of the Triple Gold Club (Stanley Cup, Olympic gold, World Championship gold). But perhaps it’s what Mogilny did off the ice and to start his career that should most be recognized when in 1989 he became the first hockey player to defect from the Soviet Union when he fled the national team after its Only 20 years old at the hime, Mogilny had to hide from the KG in Sweden, jumping from one hotel to another as he waited political asylum in the States.

A Hall of Fame deke, to be sure.

I’d be curious who you think has been overlooked for the HOF. As always, you can reach me with your comments by responding to this mailing or by sending me an email here.

Our coverage

Net gain: Jason Bell has a story on Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck returning to practice on Monday after missing several days due to the birth of his first child and then battling a bout with the flu;

Missing in action: Jay also has a yarn on how the local NHL team has three significant forwards — Mark Scheifele, Paul Stastny and Nicolaj Ehlers — being questionable for Tuesday's game versus the St. Louis Blues;

CFL Rundown: Jeff Hamilton has his weekly feature looking at action from around the league;

That's a wrap: Mike Sawatzky has a story putting a cap on the Valour FC season;

Ice queens: Mike also has details on the final match at the provincial senior women's curling championship.

You might also want to know

In case you missed it

The Winnipeg Free Press invites you to share your opinion on this story in a letter to the editor. A selection of letters to the editor are published daily.

To submit a letter:
• fill out the form on this page, or
• email, or
• mail Letters to the Editor, 1355 Mountain Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R2X 3B6.

Letters must include the writer’s full name, address, and a daytime phone number. Letters are edited for length and clarity.


Advertise With Us