Skip to comments.Bourque, Coffey, Murphy enter hockey hall (Cliff Fletcher in as builder as well)
Posted on 11/08/2004 2:55:37 PM PST by Dan from Michigan
Bourque, Coffey, Murphy enter hockey hall
11/8/2004, 5:12 p.m. ET
The Associated Press
TORONTO (AP) Ray Bourque, the finest defenseman of his generation, entered the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday with Paul Coffey and Larry Murphy.
The three stellar defenseman combined for nine Stanley Cups and joined the hall with builder Cliff Fletcher and hockey writer Jim Kelley.
Bourque played for 22 NHL seasons and was a five-time Norris Trophy winner. He spent all his career in Boston until he capped it by winning the Stanley Cup with Colorado in his final season in 2001.
Coffey won three Stanley Cups in Edmonton and one in Pittsburgh. His 48 goals in 1985-86 are the most by a defenseman in one season and that year he set the record for longest consecutive-games points streak by a defenseman (28). He won the Norris Trophy three times.
Murphy earned two championship rings with Pittsburgh and two more with Detroit. The records he set in 1980-81 for rookie defensemen most assists (60) and most points (76) still stand.
Bourque is first in career points by NHL defensemen with 1,579. He was the complete package: smooth skater, great vision, tape-to-tape passing, booming shot and physical along the boards.
"My only regret is not being able to win a Cup in Boston," said Bourque, whose Bruins lost to Edmonton in the 1988 and 1990 finals. "I lived something amazing in Colorado, the Cup victory, the parade. And during that parade I remember thinking how great it would have been to live that in Boston."
No one possessed Coffey's offensive flair from the blue line. He was the Bobby Orr of his generation, a sensational skater who captivated fans in the 1980s with end-to-end rushes.
"Coffey used to give us nightmares," said Fletcher, recalling his days as Calgary Flames GM and the intense rivalry with Coffey's Oilers.
The Hall of Fame was the last thing on Coffey's mind when the Oilers selected him with the sixth overall pick in the 1980 NHL entry draft.
"I just wanted to make the team and not embarrass my friends and family," he said Monday.
A little more than 24 years later, Coffey followed former Oilers teammates Wayne Gretzky, Grant Fuhr and Jari Kurri into the hall.
Murphy never won a Norris Trophy but quietly put up imposing numbers. His 1,615 games are second among defensemen behind Scott Stevens (1,635) while his 1,216 points are fifth among players at his position.
Murphy's sense of anticipation and vision on the ice made up for his lack of speed and agility. His boyhood dream of playing for his beloved Maple Leafs soured when Toronto fans booed him as the club struggled in 1995-96 and 1996-97.
"I think a lot of it ended up on my shoulders," Murphy said. "I just wish we could have won more games. That was the most disappointing thing."
One of the great moments for Bourque, Murphy and Coffey came at the 1987 Canada Cup final, the only time the three played on the same team at once.
"The level of play from both teams was just amazing," Bourque said. "It was that last great run from that Russian team that won all those gold medals."
"I definitely agree," Coffey added. "Not to take slight on any other hockey I played, but those three games, all won 6-5, there was no bull, no hooking or holding, just great hockey by highly talented players."
Fletcher also was a GM at Toronto and Phoenix. He has been vice president of hockey operations for the Coyotes the last three years. He was the first GM to sign and bring a player (Sergei Priakin, 1988) from Soviet Union to the NHL with official consent.
"The whole idea was to establish a beachhead," he said.
As one who has seen about 5 Ranger or Islander games a season since the late 60's Borque was perhaps the finest defenseman I've ever see...except for Bobby Orr..I have this image of Orr, in MSG..dropping to his knees in front of Rod Gilbert's slap shot from the point..and this in the days before helmets and visors..
That's nice, but I would rather have just plain 'ol NHL hockey again.
Obviously you have never seen this guy play. :)
He's very good..but it's a totally different league.. the talent dilution is a huge problem..6 teams , then 12..vs. what is it 30 now?
Right now it's zero. :(
That's a pretty good trio of defensemen goin' into the Hall of Fame this year, eh?
Lace up the skates, there's your hockey season.
I guess it's not quite the same though is it? :(