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Anderson deserves induction

The Hockey Hall of Fame inductions last week – power forward pioneer Cam Neely, deceased Russian legend Valeri Kharlamov and builder Murray Costello were welcomed into the exclusive club – means it is time for the annual “why isn't Glenn Anderson in the Hall?” column.

It already has been written many, many times, but the next legitimate reason you hear for keeping out Anderson will be the first.

He was an integral part of the 1980s Edmonton Oilers, perhaps the most significant and impressive dynasty in NHL history. He scored 1,099 points in 1,129 games. His 498 career goals rank 35th all-time. Of the 34 players ahead of him on that list, only two have been up for induction and NOT been voted into the Hall – Dino Ciccarelli (608 goals) and Pat Verbeek (522).

Among active players with more goals than Anderson, Dave Andreychuk (636), Joe Nieuwendyk (534) and Pierre Turgeon (503) also may share his apparent non-Hall fate.

But it wasn't in the regular season that Anderson made his name. He was a post-season star, and it's his playoff portfolio that should have earned him a perch in the Hall long ago.

Simply put, he won six Stanley Cups. Yes... six Cups. Only nine players in NHL history – all of them Montreal Canadiens alumni, either from the 1950s or the '70s – have won more Cups than Anderson.

The knock on Anderson was he might tune out during a February game in St. Louis, when the stakes were low. But when the playoffs rolled around, there were few players more focused than the Oilers (and Leafs-Rangers-Blues) right winger.

He ended up fifth all-time in playoff goals (93), fourth in playoff points (214), tied for fifth in playoff game-winning goals (17) and third in playoff overtime goals (five).

In other words, Glenn Anderson was one of the most clutch performers in NHL history. And now, he's one of the most overlooked.

Alex the Great

Had a chance to see Washington Capitals rookie Alex Ovechkin last week. Pittsburgh freshman Sidney Crosby may be a better all-around player, but it's hard to imagine any player – rookie or not – being more exciting and more electrifying than Ovechkin.

Ovechkin's most telling stat? In his first 15 games in the NHL, he had five two-goal games. And it's not like he has much help on a bad Capitals team. Ovechkin has 13 goals; right winger Matt Bradley is second with four.

I'm no NHL scout, but here's the Ovechkin-related scrawl I found in my notepad after last week's Capitals-Maple Leafs game in Toronto:

Accelerates through checks…if he gets the puck when he's beside a defender, he's gone; explosive quickness…quick-fast release and hard shot…prefers wrist shot, snapshot…high energy, coltish on every shift…continually circles (his own) blueline when puck is in defensive zone; when it looks like Caps have it, he breaks up left boards in the neutral zone…stands a bit more upright when he has the puck (for better vision?), with his hands a little higher on the stick; drags the heel of his stick when puckhandling, “chops” at the puck a bit…solid, compact build; not real tall or big…drives to the net…after scoring, he kneels down for a down-low fist pump, then stands up and waves/pumps his right fist (while pointing his index finger)…

Crosby's OK, too

You know how the “special” players do “special” things at “special” times?

Well, that was a heckuva shootout game-winning goal scored by Sidney Crosby to beat Jose Theodore and the Montreal Canadiens (Crosby's favorite team growing up) last week.

Hall of Fame Infraction

There's no truth to the rumor Philadelphia Flyers GM – and 1972 Summit Series ankle-smasher – Bobby Clarke had to be restrained from laying the lumber on Alexander Kharlamov, the son of Valeri, when he attended the Hall festivities on behalf of his father.

No truth whatsoever.


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