Roenick Hall of Fame = Turgeon, too?

Great piece by Leahy over at Puck Daddy. A piece after my own heart, comparing a player who got a lot of notoriety for his flash (and mouth) with a player who quietly did things without receiving nearly as much credit.

Looking at the stats, Leahy essentially says: If Jeremy Roenick is a Hall of Famer, isn't Pierre Turgeon, too?

Personally, despite my adoration for Turgeon for much of his career, I didn't think he'd met the level of Hall of Famer. (If my old network host hadn't eliminated many of its archives, I'd dig up previous thoughts on this.) But I don't think Roenick is one, either -- although I can admit Roenick was a great player for a healthy chunk of his career.

The Hall of Fame is all over the map. It's almost a personal preference for everyone, since the standards aren't codified and are perhaps more lax in the NHL than in any other sport (not necessarily a bad thing; such institutions celebrate the game first, and parse classifications second).

For example, "publicity to the game" means zero in this conversation (yet I'm surprised Yahoo!'s Ross McKeon thinks Roenick was so far ahead of Brett Hull in this category). On the contrary, if a guy has "publicity" or other off-ice attributes going for him, it gives me pause, and greater incentive to dig around to see whether his playing career was really as good as billed.

Injuries are a judgment call: A certain amount must be forgiven, but how much is too much? (Hello, Pat LaFontaine, how do you do, Eric Lindros?) In that realm, both Roenick and Turgeon were affected by injuries that reduced the length and level of their effectiveness. Were they too much? Each achieved those round milestones of 500 goals and 1,000 points. Neither had major playoff success. Each moved around a lot, with a few great stints mitigated by time with teams that would rather forget them.

Anyone who doesn't think Turgeon was an elite player slept through 1992-93 and failed to see him control play down low and fight off checkers with his tree-trunk-leg positioning throughout his tenure as a Blue.

As much as Roenick receives bonus credit (from some) for bringing attention to the game, Turgeon is penalized for being a soft-spoken French-Canadian who avoided fights. (Didn't hurt Bossy in the end, but ... yeah, a little different.) I'm biased, but I've always endorsed the Clark Gillies induction because his role included scoring and fighting and leadership -- and he handled all three like a champ. A four-time champ.

With the caveat that the Hall is an ambiguous place, neither Roenick or Turgeon quite make the cut for me -- perhaps I'm reverse-biased because it's harder to think you saw a "legend" in your own time. But if Roenick is in, you better believe I think Pierre is, too.

And if the Hall has (rightly or wrongly) become a place that celebrates players who absolutely delighted fans with displays of skill, big goals and play-through-pain that are on a level few in the world can even imagine? Well, in that case, the Hall is for both of them.

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