Analysis: 2008 HHOF class shows committee learning from past mistakes

The Hall of Fame’s selection committee undoubtedly left former players such as Doug Gilmour, Pavel Bure and Dino Ciccarelli disappointed Tuesday, but it also went a long way toward regaining credibility with its selections for induction in 2008.

In addition to inducting deserving players Glenn Anderson and Igor Larionov, the HHOF committee chose not to induct two other players it had the option of doing.

Whether you agree or disagree with the Hall’s selections and omissions is one thing, but at least the selection committee can’t be accused this year of inducting unworthy candidates, something that has plagued this group in the past.

I have to admit, I had a sick feeling in my stomach all day this was going to be the year the selection committee would bow to public pressure and grant induction to Paul Henderson, largely because the four spots were open due to the fact there was no retirement class in 2005.

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That the Hall of Fame didn’t use those open spots to induct players who couldn’t cut it in the past is very encouraging indeed.

You can certainly make a legitimate case for Bure, as you can for Ciccarelli. But the fact they weren’t inducted indicates the selection committee might be more concerned with inducting quality candidates rather than doing something nice for a player they like or being swayed by one or two members of the 17-member board who convinced them to induct a candidate with spotty credentials.

Hall of Fame induction should be reserved only for the truly great players, not the really good ones. It seems the Hall’s induction committee took that philosophy to heart this year.

Let’s hope it’s onto something here.