Michigan's Red Berenson, short-lived Red Wing Marian Hossa could gain Hall of Fame entry
Detroit — The Hockey Hall of Fame announces its 2020 class on Wednesday and there could be a definite local flavor to it.
Be it the Red Wings, or from a college hockey perspective, there are strong candidates for this year’s induction, which will be revealed at 4:30 p.m. on the NHL Network.
Leading the possibilities is former Michigan head coach Red Berenson, whose legendary career with the Wolverines make him a strong contender in the “Builders” category — on top of a fine playing career, as well.
Several players who spent brief parts of their careers with the Wings also have impressive resumes that could gain them entry.
Forwards Marian Hossa and Daniel Alfredsson, both of whom played one season with the Wings during their careers, and goaltender Mike Vernon, who keyed a Wings’ Stanley Cup run, are contenders on this year’s ballot.
Also, former Wings Chris Osgood, Pat Verbeek, and Curtis Joseph remain on the ballot with impressive credentials.
Selection into the Hockey Hall of Fame is made by an 18-member committee appointed by its board of directors into four different categories — male player, female player, builder and referee/linesman.
A candidate has to get 14 of the 18 member votes to gain entry into the Hall of Fame.
Here are some of the potential nominees with local ties:
► Red Berenson: The former Michigan coach won 848 games (848-426-92), two NCAA titles and his teams went to 11 Frozen Fours. Berenson is already a member of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. Michigan won the CCHA 11 times under Berenson. Berenson led Michigan to 22 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances from 1990-2011.
Berenson’s playing career further bolsters his credentials. Berenson was a six-time NHL All-Star, played 17 years, and won a Stanley Cup with Montreal in 1965.
► Marian Hossa: Hossa spent the 2008-09 season with the Wings, scoring 40 goals (71 points) in 74 games and helping lead the Wings to the Stanley Cup Finals (seven-game loss to Pittsburgh).
One of the premier two-way forwards in the game, Hossa had 525 goals and 609 assists (1,134 points) in 1,309 games and won three Stanley Cups later in his career with Chicago. Hossa is 20th all-time with 12 playoff game-winning goals and 30th all-time with 149 playoff points.
But for all the offensive heroics, it was Hossa’s underappreciated ability on the defensive end that made him such a complete player.
This is Hossa’s first appearance on the Hall ballot, but it would be surprising if he doesn’t gain entry.
► Daniel Alfredsson: Alfredsson spent his final NHL season with the Wings, in 2013-14, with 18 goals and 49 points in 68 games. But it was his previous 17 illustrious years in Ottawa that make Alfredsson Hall of Fame-worthy.
Alfredsson is the all-time leader in Ottawa in goals (426), assists (682) and points (1,108), while serving as the Senators’ captain from 1999 to 2013.
Alfredsson ranks 50th in the NHL all-time with 713 assists, and 54th with 1,154 points, while winning the Calder Trophy (rookie of the year) in 1996.
On the international level, Alfredsson won gold in 2006 with Sweden, and a silver in 2014.
After being passed over three consecutive years, maybe this is the time for Alfredsson.
► Mike Vernon: Vernon spent three seasons with the Wings, including winning the 1997 Conn Smythe Trophy (playoff MVP) during that memorable run (16-4, 1.76 goals-against average).
Vernon’s 385 wins rank 16th all-time, and he also carried the Calgary Flames to the 1989 Stanley Cup.
Vernon’s statistics compare favorably to goaltenders Grant Fuhr and Patrick Roy, both of whom are in the Hall. But for whatever reason, Vernon hasn’t been able to gain enough support over the years.
► Chris Osgood: Osgood won 401 games in his career (13th all-time), had 50 shutouts and won three Stanley Cups, twice carrying the load in those playoff runs.
Osgood is the only NHL goalie with more than 400 wins and lose less than 250 (216).
Osgood’s statistics compare favorably with those goaltenders already enshrined, but voters likely feel he played on dominant, Hall of Fame-lineup Wings rosters that could have won with any sort of goaltending.
► Pat Verbeek: It’s somewhat mystifying the scrappy forward hasn’t received more support and attention given his accomplishments. Verbeek scored 522 goals and had 540 assists (1,062 points) in 1,424 games, and won a Stanley Cup with Dallas in 1999.
With one of the best nicknames in hockey — “The Little Ball of Hate” — Verbeek also had 2,905 penalty minutes, the most of any player in the 500-goal club.
He played two seasons in Detroit, from 1999-01.
► Curtis Joseph: Joseph spent two uneven seasons (2002-04)with the Wings, but his 454 career victories rank seventh all time. Joseph had memorable playoff runs in Edmonton, Toronto and St. Louis, but never won a Stanley Cup.