Images From Hall-of-Fame Saturday at ACC

By HOWARD BERGER

 

TORONTO (Nov. 13) – There were celebrations all through the Air Canada Centre until the final buzzer of the Maple Leafs-Ottawa game Saturday night. Most fans in the building – fortunate to have tickets for the annual Hall of Fame festivities – left despondently after a third consecutive home loss for the Leafs: 5-2 (the final score fattened by a pair of empty-net goals in the waning moments). If the Leafs are going to end their franchise-record playoff drought, the ACC will have to be a much-less inviting place than in the past week, when the club preceded the Ottawa failure with calamities against Florida and Boston.

 

Next chance to break the slide comes Tuesday night, with Phoenix in town.

 

It was a long but terrific day, as the Hangar was crawling with hockey legends. Please enjoy my photographic journey through Hall of Fame Saturday…

 

 

WHAT A PERFECT MID-AUTUMN DAY IT WAS IN DOWNTOWN TORONTO, AS THE MAPLE LEAFS AND SENATORS WENT THROUGH THEIR MORNING PACES AT THE ACC.

 

 

 

 

LEAFS COACH RON WILSON (HIS “MOVEMBER” MOUSTACHE MAKING STRIDES) SPOKE OPTIMISTICALLY ABOUT THE OTTAWA GAME AFTER THE MORNING SKATE, BUT THE LEAFS WASTED TOO MANY POWERPLAY OPPORTUNITIES, INCLUDING A LONG 5-on-3 IN THE SECOND PERIOD.

 

 

NEWLY-RESURFACED ICE AT THE ACC REFLECTS THE OCCASION (ABOVE) PRIOR TO THE INTRODUCTION OF THIS YEAR’S HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES.

 

 

TEAM CAPTAINS DANIEL ALFREDSSON AND DION PHANEUF SHAKE HANDS WITH THE 2011 HALL OF FAME CLASS… LEFT-TO-RIGHT: JOE NIEUWENDYK, DOUG GILMOUR, ED BELFOUR AND MARK HOWE. ALL BUT HOWE PLAYED FOR THE LEAFS.

 

 

NIEUWENDYK AND GILMOUR (ABOVE); BELFOUR AND HOWE (BELOW) STAND AT ATTENTION DURING SINGING OF THE NATIONAL ANTHEM.

 

 

 

 

OTTAWA’S MILAN MICHALEK SHAKES HANDS WITH MARK HOWE (ABOVE), WITH MARK’S FATHER, GORDIE, LOOKING ON. NIEUWENDYK AND BELFOUR LINE UP TO BE GREETED BY LEAF PLAYERS LUKE SCHENN AND TYLER BOZAK.

 

 

IT WAS AN HONOR TO WATCH THE FIRST PERIOD SITTING BESIDE THE SECOND-BEST DEFENSEMAN I’VE SEEN IN MY LIFE: DENIS POTVIN (ABOVE) – CAPTAIN AND KING-PIN OF THE NEW YORK ISLANDERS’ FOUR CONSECUTIVE STANLEY CUP TEAMS (1980-83), AND MEMBER OF THE 1991 HALL OF FAME CLASS. TO THESE EYES, ONLY BOBBY ORR COULD MORE THOROUGHLY DOMINATE A GAME FROM THE BACK END.

 

 

IT’S NEVER A SURPRISE WHEN THE LEAFS AND SENATORS BREAK INTO “DISCUSSION” ON THE ICE, AS HAPPENED EARLY IN SATURDAY NIGHT’S MATCH (ABOVE).

 

 

MR. HOCKEY – THE INCOMPARABLE GORDIE HOWE – WAS INTERVIEWED ON THE ACC VIDEO-BOARD (ABOVE), PRAISING HIS SON MARK’S WONDERFUL ABILITY. GORDIE, NOW 83, WAS INDUCTED INTO THE HALL OF FAME IN 1972, A SEASON AFTER HE RETIRED FROM THE DETROIT RED WINGS. EIGHT YEARS LATER – AT 52 – HE FINISHED HIS COMEBACK WITH THE NHL HARTFORD WHALERS.

 

 

PHIL KESSEL LETS FLY (ABOVE) WITH ONE OF HIS PATENTED ONE-TIMERS FROM THE FACE-OFF CIRCLE, BUT OTTAWA GOALIE CRAIG ANDERSON IS READY.

 

 

DOUG GILMOUR IS INTERVIEWED (ABOVE) ON ACC VIDEO-BOARD.

 

 

THERE WAS NOTHING AT ALL COINCIDENTAL ABOUT FORMER NHL REFEREE KERRY FRASER (ABOVE) WATCHING FROM THE ACC PRESS BOX DURING GILMOUR’S HALL OF FAME WEEKEND. KERRY IS A CREDENTIALED MEDIA GURU, WORKING AS AN ANALYST FOR TSN.

 

 

SPEAKING OF MEDIA, THE USUAL MOB GATHERED AROUND THE PRESS BOX TELEVISION (ABOVE) FOR DON CHERRY’S WEEKLY SEGMENT ON HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA.

 

 

HALL OF FAME GM – AND PERSON – CLIFF FLETCHER (ABOVE) TWICE TRADED FOR DOUG GILMOUR (WITH CALGARY AND TORONTO) AND SELECTED JOE NIEUWENDYK 27th OVERALL FOR THE FLAMES IN THE 1985 NHL DRAFT.

 

 

RON WILSON, DION PHANEUF AND PHILL KESSEL (ABOVE) ARE KEENLY INTERESTED IN A MATTER INVOLVING REFEREE DON VAN MASSENHOVEN, WHILE JOHN-MICHAEL LILES (24) AND JOFFREY LUPUL (19) ARE OBLIVIOUS. MOMENTS LATER, VAN MASSENHOVEN (BELOW) MAKES A POINT TO FELLOW REF ERIC FURLATT.

 

 

 

 

LUPUL (ABOVE) PLAYED A STRONG GAME FOR THE LEAFS, SCORING HIS NINTH GOAL OF THE SEASON LATE IN THE FINAL PERIOD, REDUCING OTTAWA’S LEAD TO 3-2. BUT, THE SENATORS WRAPPED IT UP WITH A PAIR OF EMPTY-NET MARKERS.

 

 

YOU HEAR THEM EACH SATURDAY, BUT YOU DON’T OFTEN GET TO SEE HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA’S PRIME BROADCAST TEAM OF JIM HUGHSON (SEATED) AND CRAIG SIMPSON IN ACTION.

 

 

THOUGH THE LEAFS WERE SHORT-HANDED, DON’T YOU THINK THEY SHOULD HAVE PAID A BIT MORE ATTENTION TO JASON SPEZZA THAT THE ABOVE PHOTO INDICATES?

 

 

ROOKIE GOALIE BEN SCRIVENS (ABOVE) CONTINUED HIS EARLY TREND OF LOSING ON HOME-ICE AFTER WINNING ON THE ROAD.

 

 

BEST PALS AND FORMER TEAMMATES WITH CALGARY, TORONTO AND FLORIDA – JOE NIEUWENDYK AND GARY ROBERTS – ARE INTERVIEWED ON THE ACC VIDEO-BOARD.

 

 

ED BELFOUR IS A GUEST OF AM-640’s JIM RALPH (ABOVE) DURING SECOND INTERMISSION, AND LATER POSES WITH EX-LEAFS DEFENSEMAN BOB McGILL (BELOW).

 

 

 

 

LEAF PLAYERS DAVID STECKEL, JOFFREY LUPUL AND JOHN-MICHAEL LILES LINE UP IN FACE-OFF CONFIGURATION (ABOVE) AGAINST OTTAWA.

 

 

HE’S ALIVE! LEAFS GOALIE JAMES REIMER (ABOVE) LOOKS DAPPER, THREE WEEKS TO THE NIGHT OF HIS CONCUSSION SUSTAINED IN MONTREAL.

 

 

LEAFS FORWARD NIKOLAI KULEMIN (ABOVE) IS STUCK ON TWO GOALS AFTER 17 GAMES – WAY OFF THE PACE FROM HIS CAREER-HIGH OF 30 LAST SEASON.

 

 

RUSSIAN GOALTENDING LEGEND VLADISLAV TRETIAK (RIGHT) POSES WITH USA HOCKEY PIONEER ART BERGLUND IN THE ACC PRESS BOX. TRETIAK ENTERED THE HOCKEY HALL IN 1989, 17 YEARS AFTER BURSTING TO PROMINENCE IN THE 1972 SUMMIT SERIES AGAINST CANADA. BERGLUND WAS INDUCTED INTO THE U.S. HOCKEY HALL OF FAME LAST YEAR. HE IS A FORMER COLLEGE SCOUT WITH ST. LOUIS.

 

 

DETROIT RED WINGS EXECUTIVE JIM DEVELLANO (RIGHT, POSING WITH MY FORMER FAN-590 COLLEAGUE STORMIN’ NORMAN RUMACK) ENTERED THE HOCKEY HALL OF FAME IN THE BUILDER’S CATEGORY LAST NOVEMBER.

 

 

YOU HAD TO KNOW “THE KISS” WOULD BE SHOWN TO FANS AT THE ACC AT SOME POINT ON SATURDAY NIGHT.

 

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