The Hockey News’s Matt Larkin answers a reader question regarding the Hockey Hall of Fame candidacies of Curtis Joseph, Chris Osgood and Daniel Alfredsson in part with a staid answer regarding Osgood’s case for the Hall of Fame…
Osgood has the weakest case of the three. He was a dependable caretaker goaltender on a collection of powerhouse Detroit Red Wing teams that were peppered with Hall of Famers. He didn’t receive a single Vezina vote in 13 of his 17 seasons. It’s fair to call him underrated, as he posted some outstanding numbers during his best years with Detroit, but it was also the equivalent of piling up home runs during the steroid era. Many goalies had ridiculous numbers during the Dead Puck years, so Osgood’s stats stand out less when you juxtapose them with those of his peers. He was a good goalie but, even at his best, he was closer to top-10 in the league than top-five.
(For better or worse, Osgood won 3 Stanley Cups, too)
And I honestly disagree far more vehemently with Larkin regarding this point than I do regarding his take on Osgood’s career:
If I had my way, I’m not sure I’d put any of these guys in the Hall. I think the Hockey Hall of Fame is too lenient and should be reserved for players who were considered among the most dominant at their positions for half a decade or more. That’s why I prefer seeing a shooting-star career like Eric Lindros’ earn Hall recognition than someone who was merely “quite good for a long time.”
I’m fine with the Hockey Hall of Fame being for both “shooting stars” and players who were “really good for a long time.” As far as I’m concerned, the company is too exclusive for its own good, and the Selection Committee has, in my opinion, done a shitty job of honoring international pioneers, women players who were stalwarts at their position but didn’t win awards over extended careers.
The Hockey Hall of Fame is supposed to be a Hall of fame, and it’s too often an exclusive wing thereof. I’d love to see more players added, not fewer players.