Modano, Burns, Hasek, Forsberg chosen for Hockey Hall of Fame (Highlights/Video)
An all-star cast will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame this year in Toronto.
Goaltender Dominik Hasek, Colorado Avalanche star Peter Forsberg, all-time great American Mike Modano, stalwart blueliner Rob Blake, referee Bill McCreary, and the late great coach Pat Burns are joining hockey's exclusive halls, and will be inducted at a ceremony on Monday, November 17, 2014.
Burns passed away almost four years to the date of when he'll be inducted, on Nov. 19, 2010. He was most famously the head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens and he won the Jack Adams Award for the NHL's coach of the year in his first season, in 1988.
Burns coached for 14 years in the league.
"It's a great day for me and my family," said Lynn Burns, Pat's widow, in the HHOF's media release today. "I'm speechless and tremendously happy. Pat would be proud and this is well-deserved."
Regarded by some – by myself, full disclosure – as the greatest goalie to ever play in the NHL, Hasek's numbers are as gaudy as a netminder's can get.
He won a Stanley Cup with Detroit in 2002 and an Olympic gold medal with the Czech Republic in 1998, when he was named the tournament's MVP in Nagano.
Hasek is the only goalie to ever win two Hart Trophies as the NHL's MVP, which he did for two consecutive seasons in 1997 and 1998.
'The Dominator' was known for his acrobatic, unorthodox playing style, often making saves on his back or with whatever limb – even his head – he could get in the puck's way.
He won six Vezina Trophes as the NHL's beat goalie, in 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2001.
Hasek played until he was 43 years old and he was drafted 199th overall in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft.
"After I retired I really began to appreciate what the game did for me," Hasek in the HHOF release. "My goal was just to make the NHL, and achieving this recognition is far beyond what I could have imagined."
"This is a tremendous honour," Blake told the HHOF. "I am fortunate to have been around the game of hockey and have it be a key part of my life for as long as I can remember."
Blake played 20 seasons in the NHL, winning a Stanley Cup in 2001 with the Colorado Avalanche, on a team that combined Hall of Famers from all over the ice – d-man Ray Bourque, goalie Patrick Roy, captain Joe Sakic, and fellow 2014 inductee Peter Forsberg.
He was a thunderous bodychecker who also managed to chip in with 12 seasons with 40-plus points.
Blake is now the assistant general manager of the Los Angeles Kings, behind Dean Lombardi, and won a Stanley Cup with the organization in 2014.
Blake began his career with the L.A. Kings, after the team drafted him 70th overall in 1988.
He won the Norris Trophy as the NHL's best defenceman in 1998.
McCreary has been elected in the NHL's Referee and Linesman category, and he officiated 1,700 games in the league before retiring in 2011. He also refereed 282 NHL playoff games and was an official at both the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan and the 2002 Olympic in Salt Lake City.
McCreary refereed the gold medal games in both those Olympics.
"I was fortunate living in Guelph to be encouraged to get into officiating by some of the NHL greats that were involved in the game there, " said McCreary in Monday's release. "Just as with the players, being in the Stanley Cup Final is the goal of any official and I'm pleased that I was able to have that recognition on several occasions."
Remembered as one of the most exciting players of his generation and, perhaps, the greatest American-born player of all-time, Modano began his career as a first overall pick of the Minnesota North Stars in 1988 – one spot ahead of future Vancouver Canucks captain Trevor Linden.
Modano moved with the team to Texas, where they became the Dallas Stars, and won a Stanley Cup with the team in 1999.
In 22 NHL seasons – 21 of which were with the Stars, leaving in his last season to play in his native Michigan with Detroit – Modano tallied 561 goals and 1,374 points.
Originally from Livonia, Michigan – same hometown as Vancouver's Ryan Kesler – Modano played his junior hockey in Canada, with the WHL's Prince Albert Raiders.
"When I played I always hoped that I could make an impact on the game, both on and off the ice, and this honour recognizes that," he said. "I love this game and as an American born player, I owe a lot to the people in Prince Albert who helped me take my game to the next level."
Forsberg was, for much of his career, known as the best two-way hockey player in the world.
He started off his career as a Draft swap for Eric Lindros, joining the Quebec Nordiques after he was selected in the first round of the 1991 NHL Entry Draft by the Philadelphia Flyers.
Forsberg won the NHL's Calder Trophy – as its Rookie of the Year – in 1995, the year after he won gold for Sweden with a dramatically beautiful shootout move in the gold medal game against Canada. (That one-hand backhand move is now a postage stamp in Sweden.)
Forsberg won two Stanley Cups with the Colorado Avalanche, in 1996 and 2001, and played 14 seasons in the NHL, winning the league's MVP – the Hart Trophy – in 2003, beating out Vancouver's Markus Naslund.
Forsberg also played in the NHL for the Philadelphia Flyers and the Nashville Predators, and is one of the greatest Swedish players of all-time.
"It's been a good run and I wouldn't change places with anybody," said Forsberg. "Joining Borje Salming and Mats Sundin in the Hall of Fame as the third Swedish member makes it especially gratifying for me."