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I watched all the hype earlier this week from Canadian hockey media folks pushing Kevin Lowe’s case for induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame with most citing his five Stanley Cups.
To be fair, Lowe was a good defenceman in his day who just happened to be on the same Edmonton team with Gretzky, Messier, Kurri, Coffey, Anderson, Fuhr and others. He does not have any significant Hall of Fame numbers and it looks to me like he’s just part of the old boys’ network.
He was good, but not great.
On the topic of Lowe and his rings, how about taking a look at Montreal Canadiens’ great Claude Provost. Not only was he the best defensive player in the game, he was voted first team all-star right-winger when Gordie Howe was still in his prime. Is he more worthy than Lowe? You know what my answer is.
While most hockey fanatics consider Bob Gainey and Guy Carbonneau among the best defensive players in the modern era, in his prime Provost was better. He was the only player who could cover the Golden Jet, Bobby Hull, and he did it with speed and smarts. Gainey and Carbonneau are both in the Hall of Fame, Gainey with five Stanley Cups and Carbonneau with three. Provost won nine Stanley Cups and was an offensive threat on a stacked Habs powerhouse club.
The Hall of Fame should be reserved for exceptional players and no matter how much one likes Canadian players like Lowe, his induction raised a lot of eyebrows.
How this hockey committee could pass over Alexander Mogilny and Daniel Alfredsson is hard to believe.
After the 1972 Summit Series, the West found out just how talented the Red Army was.
At age 17, Mogilny and Sergei Fedorov made the Red Army team, a remarkable feat for players that young.
In 1989, he was captain of the Russian junior team that won gold and he starred on a line with Pavel Bure and Fedorov, the best line in the world.
He jumped to the NHL after the world junior tournament and landed in Buffalo, where he scored his first goal in his first shift, 20 seconds into the game. In 1992-93, Mogilny scored 76 goals for Buffalo, was promoted to captain, the first Russian for such an honour, but suffered a broken leg that ended Buffalo’s playoff chances.
After four years with the Sabres, who couldn’t afford the now free agent, Alex was shipped to Vancouver for prospects and a draft pick. Canucks’ president Pat Quinn acquired Mogilny to pair him with Bure, but that didn’t work out when the Russian Rocket suffered a leg injury and missed most of the year.
Playing with Cliff Ronning and Martin Gelinas, Mogilny still scored 55 with Vancouver. Next it was on to New Jersey where he helped the Devils to a Stanley Cup. In 2001, he joined Toronto, but injuries prevented him from taking the Maple Leafs to the promised land. Toronto coach Quinn called Mogilny, “the most talented player I have ever coached”.
I liked the selection of Jarome Iginla, the former Art Ross Trophy winner, and Marian Hossa, a three-time Stanley Cup winner, both well deserved.
Golf is in full swing and the stories we get are verified and true. Last week at Belvedere, Ron Carmichael and Mike Connolly trailed Craig Fitzpatrick and Paul Carmichael by 14 strokes after nine holes, but either the leaders fell apart or the other two shot the lights out as Ronnie ended up with the coins. I’ve seen horses fold under pressure, but not golfers by 14 shots with nine holes remaining.
Live harness racing continues tonight at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park with an 11-dash card and it features a terrific $3,200 top class with Rose Run Quest, Lisburn, Avatar J, Screen Test, Bugsy Maguire, Time to Dance and Soccer Hanover. The rail horse, Simple Kinda Man, was raging with pace in the lane last time out. He’s worth a long look.
Summerside Raceway holds its annual Canada Day card on Wednesday with a 1 p.m. post time.
Rabs MacDonald and his simulcast group own part of Carl Jamieson’s colt Major Bean and the two-year-old was second by a nose in 1:57 in his qualifying Mohawk debut.
Ms Patricia B, trained by Ron Matheson, is a Betterthancheddar two-year-old filly co-owned by Matheson, Colin Johnson, Wayne MacDougall and company and she has been in 2:15, no rush for her.
P.E.I. buddies Mark MacDonald and Wally Hennessey were prominent in the $50,000 graduate divisions recently at Tioga. Mark won his $50,000 division with Hurricane Emperor in a blistering 1:48:1 for trainer John McDermott while Wally was beaten by a nose with Ian Moore’s Century Farroh in 1:50 after playing hardball with Warawee Ubeaut. The winner was Workin ona Mystery for driver Tim Tetrick.
One of the better three-year-olds this season is the Ray Schnittner-trained and MacDonald-driven Captain Groovey, who won at The Meadowlands last week in 1:48 with the last quarter in 26 flat.
Fred MacDonald's column appears every Saturday in The Guardian. He can be reached at [email protected].