Thursday, December 07, 2006


Joe Nieuwendyk Retires. Is the HoF Next?

After being limited to 15 games this season, 40-year old Joe Nieuwendyk has decided to retire due to his constant back pain.

Joe has always been of an odd-ball, given that he's one of the few players who scored more goals in their rookie season than any other year of their careers. Joe had 51 back as rookie in 87-88 and again as a sophomore in 88-89. Strangely enough, he never hit that total again and his goal total decreased as time went on. Players don't usually take a purely downhill trend in their goal totals, especially ones who play over 1000 games.

Joe was also an atypical centerman, as he was not the pass-first, shoot-second type of centerman that we're accustomed to. Joe finished with exactly 564 goals and 562 assists, and had more goals than assists for pretty much his entire career. Joe played the offensive game a lot more like a winger than a centerman, yet managed to play great defence as a centerman is often expected to.

Florida Panthers centre Joe Nieuwendyk has been forced to retire because of recurring back problems. Nieuwendyk announced his retirement Wednesday.

Nieuwendyk, 40, in his twentieth NHL season, scored eight points while playing just 15 of the team's first 29 games, because of injuries. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that he visited a back specialist in Cleveland last Friday.

Nieuwendyk had 564 goals and 1126 points in 1257 career games and won Stanley Cups with three different franchises: Calgary (1989), Dallas (1999) and New Jersey (2003). He won the Conn Smythe Award as playoff MVP in 1999.

"I have the reached the stage where structurally my back isn't going to get any better. It's not the way I intended it, but I have to be realistic as well," Nieuwendyk said.

"He was an all-around elite player," said Montreal Canadiens general manager Bob Gainey, Nieuwendyk's coach and GM with the Dallas Stars. "He is the kind of player whose accomplishments merit consideration for the Hall of Fame."

Hall of Fame?

Well, it certainly merits CONSIDERATION, but does it merit a plaque on the same wall as Peter Stastny?

Given the HoF's strange selections in the past, it's hard to predict who exactly makes the 'criteria', but we'll do our best...

  • The counting stats: 1118 points in the regular season (almost a point-a-game pace) and 116 in the playoffs. He'll finish in the Top 50 for regular season scoring and that is a big plus
  • The cups: We know how heavily the voters count cups, especially the fact that Joe won 3 with 3 different clubs. Joe was a big part of those wins, and didn't just happen to luck out as much as a guy like Mike Commodore.
  • Conn Smythe: Proof that Joe was a BIG player in the playoffs and very instrumental in a cup win.
  • Olympic Gold
  • Calder Trophy
  • Reputation: Joe has a very good reputation with the media as a typical "Canadian" player with a great attitude, leadership, and work ethic. Joe is also a King Clancy award winner and this will give him favour with the voters.

  • Joe was never an elite player, despite what Gainey said. In fact, Joe was often the second best player on his own team (Calgary and MacInnis, Dallas and Modano, New Jersey and Stevens/Niedermayer).
  • 4 All-Star games - Not that All-Star games are the greatest measurement, but Joe didn't play in a whole lot of them, and none after 1994.
  • Dino Ciccarelli, a player with more points and a better PPG pace is not in the Hall of Fame
  • Increased competition: There are many great players retiring in one big clump, which will make it harder to Joe to make the HoF, at least for awhile.

  • My choice would be that he's a Hall of Famer, given his counting stats, longevity, popularity and reputation in the media, and overall great 2-way play. He isn't the strongest Hall of Fame choice, but he certainly isn't nearly the weakest. He has a MUCH better case than Cam Neely

    Greg Cartman @ The Puck Stops Hereagrees with the assessment:
    He came back from the lockout as a valuable player even as a 39 year old. Despite missing 16 games to back problems, he is currently the third highest scorer on the Florida Panthers with 28 points in 36 games. He is still a valuable player to his team. Even after missing a season to lockout, Nieuwendyk has been a good scorer. Nieuwendyk is continuing to move up the all time goals list. He is currently the 23rd highest goal scorer of all time with 546 career goals. This season, he has passed Stan Mikita and Maurice Richard. Those are some elite players to have outscored. Had there been no lockout, Nieuwendyk would likely have moved another couple positions beyond that up the all time goal scoring list.

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    He is clutch, and clutch is everything in life.

    Joe's last great game came up against Sundin's 6 pt-er. What a show those two put on.

    One of the best 'deflectors' I've ever seen.
    "Joe finished with exactly 564 goals and 564 assists"

    ermm, how does that rhyme with:

    "Nieuwendyk had 564 goals and 1126 points."

    He might be clutch, but also Dutch, as his parents emigrated from the Netherlands and Joe still speaking the odd language. Consider it a nice international bonus:)

    "Joe finished with exactly 564 goals and 564 assists"

    ermm, how does that rhyme with:

    "Nieuwendyk had 564 goals and 1126 points."

    It was posted at 7:19am in the frickin morning before my coffee. Gimme a break!
    The fact that he is part of the Dutch mafia should get him in!!
    ha! Seriously, with his leadership skills and 3 Cups, he should get in.
    On the other hand, is he that much better than Claude Lemieux?
    Ciccarelli isn't in the HOF for reasons other than his point totals. Can't really use him as a comparison to anyone. If it was just about numbers, he'd be there.
    What did Dino do? I forget right at the moment.
    "It was posted at 7:19am in the frickin morning before my coffee. Gimme a break!"

    Free advice

    Do things in the right order. First coffee, then work:)

    If a player is coveted by just about every GM when the chips are down, that has to count for something. Joe should be in, no question.
    Lemieux is a back-stabbing like puke. Dino is a gang-banging sodomizer (back-seat of limo with several Capitals teammates and some hosebag). Dino gets in the same time Anderson and his drowned drug-dealing boyfriend get their own special win in the HoF.
    Joe should get in to the hall of fame of players that the Vancouver Canucks refused to consider drafting. yes, this is one of your ancient occasional readers. I believe I remember reading a column by Archie McDonald (a long-ago Pacific Press sportswriter), whose son had played Minto Cup lacrosse against Nieuwendyk. Impressed by the physical talent and personal qualities of the young J.N., he suggested to the boneheads then in charge of the Cashmucks that they ought to have a look at him. No, not worth their time, came the reply. Just episode #1019 or so in the long lamentable catalogue of Canyukyuk futility.
    The Canucks had two shots at him and picked Sandlak and Gamble. At least Gamble played in the AHL and did decent backup work for a short time. Kinda funny how the pick after was another Canucks backup, Kay Whitmore.

    Wow, LA Kings had picks #9 and #10 and somehow managed to screw them up.

    Calgary picked #17 and got a guy who never played. Good thing they made up with it on their 2nd pick.

    and check out who was the last pick in that draft ;)
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