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s14 - Hall of a Class (HOF)

2020-01-14

The VHL HOF committee have inducted four new members into the VHL HOF. Al MacInnis, Scott Stevens, and Adam Oates will go in as players and Bryan Murray as a coach. Interesting fact, all three players spent time with the Blues during their careers in real life. Two of them have won the Stanley Cup and the Memorial Cup. Two of them have also been named winner of the Conn Smythe, and one of them was a finalist for Hobey Baker Award.

Al MacInnis

The VHL HOF committee have inducted four new members into the VHL HOF. Al MacInnis, Scott Stevens, and Adam Oates will go in as players and Bryan Murray as a coach. Interesting fact, all three players spent time with the Blues during their careers in real life. Two of them have won the Stanley Cup and the Memorial Cup. Two of them have also been named winner of the Conn Smythe, and one of them was a finalist for Hobey Baker Award.  

Before Sidney Crosby, Brad Marchand, and Nathan MacKinnon become the pride of Nova Scotia hockey, there was Al MacInnis; born on July 11, 1963 in Port Hood, Inverness County, Nova Scotia. MacInnis was drafted the Calgary Flames in the first round, fifteenth overall in 1981 while playing with the Kitchen Rangers of the OHL. After failing to win the Memorial Cup in 1981, MacInnis and Rangers would defeat the Sherbrooke Castors for the club’s first ever Memorial Cup win. The following season, MacInnis was the recipient of the Max Kaminsky Trophy as the Ontario Hockey League’s best defenseman. In both seasons, he was named to the OHL’s First All-Star Team.

After spending the early part of the 1983-84 season with the CHL’s Colorado Flames, MacInnis was called up to the Calgary Flames and played in 51 games and scoring 11 goals and 34 assists for 45 points. The following season, MacInnis started to gain a reputation for his bone-breaking, goalie-fearing slapshot. On January 17, 1984, while playing with Calgary in a game against St. Louis, MacInnis fired a shot from outside the blueline catching Blues’ netminder Mike Liut on the mask and split it. Liut fell to the ice as the puck dribbled over the goal line. No one has taken Al MacInnis’ shot for granted since.

MacInnis spent thirteen seasons with Calgary before moving to St. Louis, but left Alberta having evolved into one of the most effective defensemen in the NHL. While with the Flames, he played in eight All-Star Games, but more importantly, was a key component of a Stanley Cup championship for Calgary in 1989, the first in franchise history. For his contributions during the playoffs, MacInnis tallied 7 goals and 24 assists in 22 games and was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy.

On July 4, 1994, Calgary traded Al MacInnis and a fourth-round draft pick to the St. Louis Blues, receiving Phil Housley and consecutive second round draft selections. With the Blues, Al continued to dominate, appearing in seven more All-Star contests and winning the Norris Trophy in 1999 as the league’s top defenseman. After coming off his best season offensively in over eight years in 2002-03, a year in which he tallied 68 points (16 goals and 52 assists), MacInnis was limited to but three games in 2003-04 after suffering an eye injury.

Following the locked-out 2004-05 season, MacInnis announced his retirement from the game on September 9, 2005. At the time of his retirement, MacInnis had climbed to 17th place on the all-time games played list with 1,416, had accumulated 1,274 points and was twelfth on the all-time assists list with 934. Among defensemen, Al MacInnis ranks among the greatest ever, concluding his career third in goals with 340, third in assists and third in points.

The St. Louis Blues retired Al’s number two in a pre-game ceremony on April 9, 2006. In November of that year, Al MacInnis was appointed Vice President of Hockey Operations by club president, John Davidson.

But Al’s contributions in the NHL, though substantial, create only part of the overall picture. MacInnis’ international career has seen him represent Canada on numerous occasions, including the 1998 and 2002 Winter Olympics, the latter in which he contributed to a gold medal, the 1991 Canada Cup and the 1990 World Championships. Al MacInnis — a fierce competitor with a feared slapshot.

Scott Stevens

 

Adam Oates

Another member of the Kitchener Rangers 1982 Memorial Cup winning was Scott Stevens. Stevens is a three-time Stanley Cup champion and won the Conn Smythe in 1999-00. Stevens started his career with Washington before signing with the St. Louis Blues. Stevens only spent a season with the Blues, as he was transferred to the Devils as compensation to Devils for the Blues signing restricted free agent, Brendan Shannahan.  Stevens would finish his career in New Jersey.

Stevens is most known for bone-crunching hits. Stevens was much more than only a physical defender; he was a solid all-round defender in the early stage of his career and transition into a feared stay-at-home defender later into his career. Stevens is also remembered for detaching Kariya’s head from his body on a blind side hit and derailing the career of one of Stevens’ main foes – Eric Lindros. But, mostly importantly, he is remembered as one of the great Devils’ history.
 

As for Adam Oates, he will be remembered as one of the greatest passers/setup men in league history. Oates, unlikely MacInnis and Stevens, took the NCAA route to the NHL and signed with the Red Wings in 1985. Detroit moved Oates to the Blues in 1988 and teamed up with Hull to form one of the better set-up and triggerman duos in the league at the time, maybe even – all-time. By 1991, Oates had moved on to the Bruins, where he spent the bulk of his career. In 1996, the Bruins traded Oates to the Capitals which was his last mainstay team, before jumping around to the Flyers, Ducks, and ending his career with the Oilers.

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