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Way-too-early picks for the 2022 Hockey Hall of Fame class – ESPN

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The Hockey Hall of Fame welcomed its newest class on Monday night in Toronto, which means it’s time to start speculating on next year’s immortals.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there wasn’t a 2021 class for the Hall. That means players like Henrik and Daniel Sedin carry over to the Class of 2022 for consideration, which certainly complicates things for next year’s eligibility newbies and the 18-person selection committee.

Here’s our current ranking of eligible player candidates for the Class of 2022. Keep in mind that for players, the class can feature a maximum of four male and two female honorees:

1. Caroline Ouellette, forward (first year)

The only absolute lock for the Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2022. The forward is one of only five athletes to win a gold medal in four consecutive Winter Olympics, helping the Canadian women to the top of the podium in 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014, along with Olympic silver in 1998. She won six gold medals in the IIHF women’s world championships. Ouellette had a 2.36 points-per-game average in 97 games with University of Minnesota-Duluth.

She also won the 2009 Clarkson Cup with the Montreal Stars, becoming only one of three players to win the Cup, Olympic gold and worlds gold. The other two are Hayley Wickenheiser and Jayna Hefford. Guess where they’re currently enshrined.

The acceptable cop-out here would have been to make the Sedins tied for second overall. But it’s a demonstrable fact that Henrik is the better Sedin. He had more points (1,070) although they had the same career points-per-game average (0.80). He was the better defensive player of the two. Critically, he won the 2009-10 Hart Trophy as league MVP for posting a 112-point season when Daniel Sedin was limited to 63 games due to injury.

Henrik was third in scoring among centers during his 17-year NHL career, behind only Joe Thornton and Sidney Crosby, two Hall of Fame locks if they were eligible today. The most hilarious outcome for next year’s Hall of Fame class would be for former Canucks GM Brian Burke to nominate Henrik Sedin, while no one else nominates Daniel Sedin, and only one twin gets in on the first ballot. But that’s not likely to happen because …

3. Daniel Sedin, right wing (first year)

… if Henrik Sedin is a Hall of Famer, Daniel Sedin probably is, too. The winger had 1,041 points in 1,306 games. He was the goal-scorer in this remarkable tandem, although his 393 goals ranked him only fourth among left wings during his career — in fact, he trailed fellow first-time eligible player Rick Nash in that category. Daniel won his scoring title in 2010-11 with 104 points and captured the Pearson as the NHLPA player of the year, but he was second in the MVP voting to Corey Perry.

The Sedins were such a sensational novelty as a duo — not only in hockey history, but in pro sports history — that they should rightfully be enshrined together. Heck, they should be on the same plaque, even though Henrik Sedin once told us that “we’d have separate [ones], for sure.”

4. Alex Mogilny, right wing (13th year)

The momentum continues to build behind Mogilny’s candidacy as he lingers on the ballot much longer than his remarkable career should have warranted.

He’s 54th all-time in goals scored (473), 53rd in adjusted goals and 36th in goals-per-game average (0.478). He had a 1.04 points-per-game average — good for 42nd all time — playing the majority of his career in the defensive-trap era. A Triple Gold Club member, Mogilny was an important part of hockey history as the first Soviet defection to the NHL.

Luongo has the numbers for the Hall of Fame: 1,044 games played, second all time; 489 wins, good for fourth all time, having played on significantly less successful teams than Martin Brodeur (691), Patrick Roy (551) and Marc-Andre Fleury (495) ahead of him; and a .919 career save percentage and 77 shutouts, both ninth best all time. He backstopped Canada to Olympic gold in 2010, and was a member of two IIHF world championship teams.

The only thing he doesn’t have is a Vezina Trophy, having been a finalist three times. The closest he came to winning was 2006-07, when he finished second to Brodeur (and second for MVP honors to Sidney Crosby). A well-liked, star player and potentially a great Canucks-centric complement to the Sedins in this class. But only six goalies have gotten in the Hall since 2003; is Luongo a first-ballot guy?

Gonchar had the misfortune of not being Nicklas Lidstrom. The Detroit Red Wings Hall of Famer — considered one of the best defensemen in hockey history — is the only defenseman who amassed more goals (236) and points (985) than Gonchar did (220 goals, 811 points) from 1994-95 to 2014-15, which was the span of the Russian defenseman’s career.

Gonchar is 17th all time in career points by a defenseman, and the names in front of him are all in the Hall save for Gary Suter (14th). He won the Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh in 2009 and finished in the top five for the Norris Trophy four times.

The former Senators captain could be part of a Swedish invasion with the Sedins in 2022, or he could continue to inch closer to being in “The Hall of Very Good” instead. His 444 goals are 64th all time and his 1,157 points are 54th. He won the Calder Trophy in 1995-96 and won Olympic gold along with the Sedins in 2006, plus a silver in 2014. But he never won another individual award or the Stanley Cup.

Jarome Iginla was enshrined for being a great player and an even better ambassador for the game. Alfredsson fits that description, too.

8. Jennifer Botterill, forward (eighth year)

Botterill helped Team Canada win Olympic gold in 2002, 2006 and 2010 and won five IIHF world championships, capturing MVP in that tournament twice. But it was her dominance in the NCAA that sets her apart. Playing with Harvard, she amassed 319 points in 113 games, scoring at least a point in all but one of her college games. She was the first player to win the Patty Kazmaier award twice as the top player in U.S. women’s college hockey. Botterill also had 155 points in 78 CWHL games.

She’s a player who could be in already, and whose profile has only grown due to her work in the Canadian media. But the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee has enshrined only two women’s players in the same year once: Cammi Granato and Angela James, in the Class of 2010.

Tkachuk amassed 538 goals (32nd all time) and 1,065 points in 1,201 games over his 18-season career. He led the league in goals once (1996-97) but was otherwise a model of consistency. Unfortunately for Tkachuk, it was a solid but unspectacular career, never winning an individual award or a Stanley Cup — although he won World Cup gold in 1996 and Olympic silver in 2002.

But here’s the thing: Every player ahead of him on the goals list who’s eligible to be in the Hall of Fame is, in fact, a Hall of Famer. Theory: The success of Matthew and Brady Tkachuk have helped keep their dad on the immortality radar.

Zetterberg finished his career with 960 points in 1,082 games, including 337 goals. A great two-way forward, he never won a Selke Trophy and was nominated only once. He was second for the Calder in 2002-03 as well. His greatest individual accomplishment was winning the Conn Smythe in the Red Wings’ 2008 Stanley Cup win. That ring earned him Triple Gold Club status, along with championships in the 2006 Olympics and the 2006 world championships with Sweden.

One could argue his former teammate Pavel Datsyuk has a stronger case. One could also argue that Guy Carbonneau’s enshrinement swung the door open for the former Red Wings captain.


Other candidates

Among the other players still under consideration are centers Jeremy Roenick, Rod Brind’Amour and Patrik Elias, winger Theo Fleury and goalies Curtis Joseph and Mike Vernon. Another first-year candidate is forward Rick Nash, whose 437 goals rank him 71st all time.

One interesting candidate in her first year of eligibility: Former Team USA star Meghan Duggan, who captained the Americans’ 2018 PyeongChang gold-medal team.

As for the builders category, the candidates include Herb Carnegie, a pioneering Black player; innovative goalie coach Francois Allaire and former Michigan coach Red Berenson.

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Williams not on January's Australian Open entry list – TSN

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Not long after Serena Williams’ name was absent from the entry list for the Australian Open, she confirmed the obvious: the seven-time champion won’t play the 2022 edition of the season-opening major in January.

The 40-year-old Williams hasn’t played since retiring from her first-round match at Wimbledon with a right hamstring injury and her ranking has slipped to No. 41. She won the last of her 23 Grand Slam singles titles at the 2017 Australian Open, and was beaten in the semifinals this year by Naomi Osaka in straight sets.

The Australian Open’s website Wednesday said the seven-time women’s singles champion would not compete in Melbourne “following advice from her medical team.”

“While this is never an easy decision to make, I am not where I need to be physically to compete,” Williams told the website. “Melbourne is one of my favorite cities to visit and I look forward to playing at the AO every year. I will miss seeing the fans, but am excited to return and compete at my highest level.”

Novak Djokovic was on the men’s entry list at No. 1 in a further indication that he’ll be playing at Melbourne Park beginning Jan. 17 despite Australia’s strict regulations requiring all players, officials and fans to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

Djokovic has declined to comment on his vaccination status in recent months, although he was included last week on the Serbian team for the ATP Cup which starts Jan. 1 in Sydney.

The nine-time Australian Open champion is tied with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the men’s record of 20 Grand Slam singles titles. Nadal is also entered for the Australian Open, which starts Jan. 17, but Federer is skipping the tournament as he continues his recovery from surgery.

Daniil Medvedev, who ended Djokovic’s bid for a calendar-year Grand Slam with a victory in the U.S. Open final, Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev are listed above No. 6 Nadal, who is not playing for Spain at the ATP Cup.

Ash Barty tops the women’s entry list and will continue her quest to end a long drought for Australian women at the tournament. No Australian woman has won the singles title since Chris O’Neil in 1978.

On Monday, Canadian Bianca Andreescu, the 2019 U.S. Open champion, said she will take a mental break from tennis and sit out the start of next season, including the Australian Open.

___

More AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Canada joins U.S., U.K., in diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics – National Post

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Said China’s foreign ministry of the Australian diplomatic boycott: ‘Whether they come or not, nobody cares’

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OTTAWA – Canada will not be sending diplomats to the Beijing Olympics in early February, effectively joining a diplomatic boycott with the United States, United Kingdom and Australia denouncing China’s alleged human rights violations.

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“As many partners around the world, we are extremely concerned by the repeated human rights violations by the Chinese government,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters Wednesday, flanked by Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly and Minister of Sport Pascale St-Onge, as well as MP and former Olympian Adam Van Koeverden.

As the boycott only involves diplomatic staff and government officials, Canadian athletes will still compete at the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympic games beginning next February. The foreign minister argued that Canada’s decision sends a “strong signal” to China without unfairly affecting athletes working to compete in Beijing.

  1. A card calling the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

    John Robson: There is value in a diplomatic boycott of the Olympics

  2. A snowboarder stands in front of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics logo in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, China, on Nov. 20, 2021. Canada should join the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the Games, writes Tasha Kheiriddin.

    Tasha Kheiriddin: A diplomatic boycott of Beijing is a no-brainer, except in Ottawa

  3. In this file photo taken on December 01, 2021, people walk past the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics logo at the Shougang Park in Beijing. - Canada will not send officials to the Beijing Olympics in February, Trudeau announced on December 8, 2021, joining the US and other allies' diplomatic boycott of the Games.

    Matt Gurney: Trudeau’s diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics the absolute least he could do

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Joly and St-Onge said their top priority for the country’s athletes competing in China was their safety, and that the RCMP would be working with the Canadian Olympic Committee to ensure they are properly protected during the games.

But neither minister was able to provide details of what that meant.

“There are already agents that have been hired to ensure the security of the athletes and we’re still in discussion with the RCMP with (Public Safety Minister) Marco Mendicino. Everything will be in place to make sure that the athletes are safe,” St-Onge said.

China is facing strong and increasing international criticism over what many countries, including Canada, have called the “genocide” of its Uyghur minority, as well as its recent strongarm tactics to increase its control over Hong King by cracking down on democracy and civil liberties via a security law enacted during the pandemic.

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China also recently released two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who were detained for over three years due to what Canada described as “hostage diplomacy.”

Federal opposition parties criticized the Trudeau government for taking so much time to decide to boycott the Games and not acting sooner to push for them to either be postponed for one year or even relocated to another country.

According to former Canadian ambassador to China Guy St-Jacques, delaying the games for one year to allow an international investigation into human rights abuse allegations in China would have been the clearest and most effective message Canada could have sent.

But a widespread diplomatic boycott is the second-best option at this point and will still send a strong message to Chinese President Xi Jinping without requiring Canadian athletes to suffer the consequences of a full boycott, he said.

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“It will have an impact because this will result in a loss of face for President Xi Jinping. We know that he wanted to use the Olympics to showcase that China’s a modern country, a superpower that knows how to organize things,” said the former ambassador.

It will have an impact because this will result in a loss of face for President Xi Jinping

“He was hoping that having foreign leaders there would confirm that, in fact, China has become so powerful that nobody would dare to criticize it,” he continued, adding he expects many more if not all members of the European Union to join the boycott.

The U.S. was the first country to formally announce that they would send no diplomatic envoys or staff with their athletes to the upcoming winter games during a press conference on Monday, citing China’s “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang” against the Uyghur people.

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“U.S. diplomatic or official representation would treat these games as business as usual in the face of the [People’s Republic of China]’s egregious human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang, and we simply can’t do that,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during a briefing.

Two other Canadian allies, Australia and then the U.K., followed suit on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively, each denouncing China’s repressive actions and human rights violations against its own people.

Joly said that she has used every opportunity possible to discuss the Olympics with Canada’s allies in the G7 and NATO, likely to exhort them to follow suit in the diplomatic boycott.

“There are still many countries studying the question but clearly, I want to make sure as I’m heading to the G7 … that I raise this issue and I want to make sure that more countries in the world send a strong signal,” Joly said.

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The decision is likely to aggravate Canada’s already strained relationship with Beijing, notably as the Trudeau government is also expected to announce a formal decision on whether Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei will be allowed to participate in Canada’s 5G network.

In an interview with National Post last week, China’s ambassador to Canada Cong Peiwu warned that such boycotts are not in line with the values of the Olympic Games.

“It is for the people. It is for humanity. It is not for politicians,” Cong said. “It is against the spirit of the Olympic Games to politicize these issues.”

China has denied any wrongdoing in Xinjiang and said abuse allegations are fabricated.

Its foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a daily briefing in Beijing that Australian politicians were engaged in “political posturing.”

“Whether they come or not, nobody cares,” he added.

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Soccer-Chelsea lose top spot after 3-3 draw at Zenit

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Champions League holders Chelsea finished as Group H runners-up after conceding a stoppage-time equaliser in a pulsating 3-3 draw at Zenit St Petersburg on Wednesday.

The result left Chelsea second on 13 points from six games, two behind group winners Juventus who leapt into pole position thanks to a 1-0 home win over Sweden’s Malmo.

Both sides had already booked their last-16 berths while third-placed Zenit will go into the second-tier Europa League after the winter break.

Chelsea made a perfect start as Timo Werner fired them ahead in the second minute with a tap-in after a Ross Barkley corner was nodded into his path.

Mason Mount squandered a sitter to double the lead after Zenit twice came close to an equaliser and the England midfielder’s miss turned out to be costly as the home side turned the game round with two quickfire goals.

Brazilian forward Claudinho levelled in the 38th with a glancing header into the far corner after his compatriot Douglas Santos swung in a cross past a static visiting defence.

Rattled by the equaliser, Chelsea fell behind three minutes later when Iranian striker Sardar Azmoun beat the offside trap from Malcom’s fine through ball and slotted home after rounding goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Romelu Lukaku hit back in the 62nd minute as he stroked the ball into an empty net after a flowing move and Chelsea seemed to have forced the final twist after Werner struck again in the 85th thanks to more crisp-one touch passing.

The move left Zenit’s defence bedazzled with Christian Pulisic delivering the final pass to Werner, who fired in a snap shot from 10 metres after side-stepping his marker.

The Premier League side were undone, however, by a spectacular equaliser at the death as they failed to clear a cross and Magomed Ozdoev unleashed an unstoppable volley into the top corner from the edge of the penalty area.

(Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Ed Osmond)

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