When the Hockey Hall of Fame honored Ray Bourque, Paul Coffey and Larry Murphy with induction in 2004, I remember thinking at the time it is going to a long time before a more deserving group goes into the Hall together than that one.
Yeah, a long time. Try three years.
Because as awesome as that trio of defensemen is, you’d have to say the group entering the Hall today, centers Mark Messier and Ron Francis along with defensemen Al MacInnis and Scott Stevens, is the greatest group of players to be inducted on the same day.
Starting with Messier, considered by many to be the greatest leader in all of team sports history, you have a guy who won six Stanley Cup including the memorable 1994 championship with the Rangers that snapped a streak of 54 years without a title.
Messier won the Hart Trophy twice as the NHL’s most valuable player and a Conn Smythe Award as playoff MVP.
Francis won two Cups and three times was named winner of the Lady Byng Trophy.
MacInnis won a Cup and Norris Trophy as best defenseman in the NHL while Stevens won three Cups and was runner-up for the Norris twice.
Never say never, but this class of Hall of Famers is going to be awfully hard to top.