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Gilmour makes the grade, and deservedly so

Exactly a year ago I posted that the time was right for former Maple Leaf center Doug Gilmour to be elected to the Hockey Hall-of-Fame. (Click on his name to read the earlier story...)

For any number of reasons, he was by-passed, but his patience has been rewarded as the Hall selectors today named him to the still-select group of players and builders who make up the Hall-of-Fame.

We can all make arguments that, at times, the Hall elects players who were good, but not necessarily “the best of the best”.  That’s no doubt true.  There are a few players through the years who I felt were very good players, but not Hall-of-Famers, who have made it.  But that’s OK.  We all have our opinions and maybe it’s better to let a few more people in, than to make it so exclusive that almost no one gets in.

If you had to be Bobby Orr to be elected, it would be a pretty tiny selection announcement—every hundred years or so.

In any event, I’m glad for Gilmour, especially.  Belfour and Nieuwendyk are former Leafs, too, but they largely earned their reputations elsewhere, including their shared Cup with that tough, hard-driving Dallas team in 1999.

Mark Howe had a marvelous career.  Steve Simmons over at The Sun has been trumpeting Howe’s cause, and rightly so, for years.  It’s good to see the ex-Wing and Flyer get in.  (I watched Mark and his brother Marty play a lot at the old Gardens when they were with the junior Marlboroughs in the early 1970s.  Mark was smooth and very strong, even as a 17 year-old…)

But Gilmour:  the guy just defined heart and soul in his early Toronto years. He may have been, over a two-year window, the best all-around player in the game.  Certainly no one had a bigger heart.

Leaf fans of that era can smile today.


  1. "But Gilmour: the guy just defined heart and soul in his early Toronto years. He may have been, over a two-year window, the best all-around player in the game. Certainly no one had a bigger heart."

    I couldn't agree with you more! Doug Gilmour embodies the 'captain-as-inspiration' type of player so essential to any team's success in the NHL.

  2. Thanks Gerund O...I realize we all have different opinions about various players. But when it comes to Gilmour, it's hard to argue against the notion that, for a period of time, at least, he was one of the finest all-around players in the game. Not simply because he was a Leaf, but because he played with a determination-and at a level- that just set him apart. Thanks again.

  3. I am really happy about this news. There is a difference between playing for the Leafs and being a Leaf. The latter was the special province of some truly great players, Gilmour being one.

  4. Elizabeth. Agreed. Gilmour was one in a long line of special Maple Leafs.