Tuesday, June 17, 2008


HHOF: Should Krutov and/or Makarov Make It?

With the Hockey Hall of Fame set to induct some more members into the holy shrine, everyone and their mothers has an opinion on who should be in.

Joe Pelletier, who is quite knowledgeable about the players who are up for nomination, goes out on a limb and proclaims that Sergei Makarov and Vladimir Krutov should also be inducted, after assuming Igor Larionov's induction.

But are there more deserving European candidates than Larionov? We need not look any further than Larionov's own wingers to find two equally deserving Hall of Fame inductees, perhaps even more worthy - Sergei Makarov and Vladimir Krutov.

Igor Larionov was the unselfish and brainy chessmaster of the KLM Line. With his help, both Vladimir Krutov and Sergei Makarov harnessed their near limitless raw talent and became the best players in the world. I am absolutely convinced that both Krutov and Makarov are among the top 5 wingers of the 1980s. I would suggest only Mike Bossy and Jari Kurri would challenge either for top billing, with Michel Goulet maybe rounding out the top 5.

First, let's get it right out there: The Russians were a bunch of professionals in the guise of 'amateur' status that routinely beat up on true amateurs. Yes, they often did well against NHL competition in the rare times they met (Canada Cup), but not enough to get a true measure of their skill level. If we start inducting the likes of Krutov, then how about Milan Novy and Dzurinda? There are plenty of European players who you could make a case for, eh?

Krutov is an easy NO, given that he has a whopping 34 points in 61 NHL Games.

Yes, after doing very well for the Russian team, Krutov came to North America, got fat, and was out of the NHL after one season. He was 29 at the time, and finished off his career playing in the lower tiers of Swedish hockey. What a way to go, eh?

Unless you are Bobby Orr, you don't get inducted after finishing your good playing days at the age of 29. Krutov didn't prove himself to be at all good against NHL competition, and his career was quite short. At least Larionov proved himself worthy against NHL players. Krutov was simply a Russian-league star on a team that Communist government stacked well, and nothing more.

Makarov? At least his brief NHL career showed that he was a pretty good player. From the ages of 31-38, Makarov put up 384 points in 424 games. Showing that he was a point-a-game player after the age of 30, plus his international achievements, and you have a player that you can make a solid case for, if you do your homework.

In the end, I could see Larionov making it, and maybe Makarov in a very slow year, but never EVER Vladimir Krutov.

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