Yesterday, the hockey world welcomed Joe Sakic, Mats Sundin, Pavel Bure, and Adam Oates to the hall of fame in Toronto — I had the pleasure of watching these class acts while growing up. Even if you are a casual NHL fan, these names should ring a bell. It’s players of their caliber that remind us why we love hockey. Surprisingly, only one of these four inductees actually won the Stanley Cup; twice.
The career-long member of the Nordiques/Avalance franchise, and the former Colorado Avalanche captain, Joe Sakic was the only player yesterday who had won the coveted Lord Stanley — the Hockey Hall of Fame doesn’t require a player to win the cup in order to qualify for an induction.
While the other three won’t know the surreal feeling of being a Stanley Cup champion, Mats Sundin wonders what if the 2004-2005 season had actually taken place. If you had removed the last lockout from your memory, I don’t blame you. Though no fan ever wishes for a lockout, thankfully, the ’04-’05 lockout came at a decent time for me; my senior year of high school following a Mighty Ducks’ Game 7 loss against the New Jersey Devils.
Unfortunately, the former Toronto Maple Leafs captain, Mats Sundin hasn’t forgotten about the last NHL standstill that cost him an entire season and it’ll probably forever be embedded in his memory as the season that he could’ve had another chance at winning his first cup. After all, the Leafs were actually a good club around that time; they were on a run of six consecutive playoff appearances before the work stoppage.
Looking back, Sundin is still bitter about the last lockout:
“It was awful,” Sundin said. “I think it’s devastating.”
Sakic even looks back on a year of hockey being lost from his career:
“I lost a year of hockey. It would have been 21 years instead of 20. That’s what you lose.”
The repercussions of a lockout is more than just what currently meets the eye. Several years from now, as more players get inducted into the hall of fame and young stars become veterans, they will all look back at the current lockout wondering what if on a season that they will never get back.
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