Only four men can be inducted into the Hall per year. Last year it was Hull, Leech, Yzerman and Robitaille -- all easy picks. This year, it's a bit more of a traffic jam. Every blog, writer and expert has his or her opinion on who the "sure favorites" are to get in the Hall. We have our opinions on who we think will get the call, but what we think doesn't matter. We have only one man in our sights.
And if you ask us, the Hockey Hall of Fame could use a little more Oates.
Although he only spent a faction of his career in Boston, he gave Bruins fans plenty to cheer about during his six year tenure with the Bs. Oates racked up 1420 points in his career, nearly 500 of them coming in a Bruins jersey, and was more than a point-per-game player. He's sixth, all-time, for career assists -- 1079. He was the oldest player to lead the NHL in assists -- 64A in '01/'02 at the "tender" age of 39. He had 115 points in a mere 61 games during the '90 season and Hull was never the same after Oates left the Blues. Speaking of which, Oates was one-half of the greatest hockey nickname -- "Hull n' Oates." No one scored more assists than Oates other than The Great One Gretzky during the '90s and his career assists per game ratio of 0.85 is only outdone by Bobby Orr (0.98), Mario Lemieux (1.13) and Gretzky (1.32). He's been known to give credit to his high point total to his strength playing down low. Something a few current Bruins could learn a thing or two about. Oh yea, and he was never drafted.
He also gave us A+ acting skills. Something the NHL took advantage of with this... ugh... memorable commercial.
Despite being a center, we think Oates is more of a wingman when it comes to picking up ladies. He did, after all, only score 341 times to his 1079 assists
Of course, like most of his career, Oates was the underdog... or at least below most people's radar. He never won a Stanley Cup, though he reached the finals twice (not with Boston -- that ship had already sailed). He was a Lady Byng finalist six times and lost out every year. He made the All-Star team only five times, despite being a top scorer in the NHL for most of the early '90s. He also doesn't have the name recognition and all-star aura that some of the other finalists have. Oates didn't seek the limelight. He preferred to direct the light on his teammates. These things might sway some judges from voting him into the Hall. But it shouldn't. His numbers don't lie. Still... he has some tough competition this year. Here's to you, Oates. You have our vote.
While [Oats] never received the credit that he deserved during his career, the awards and accolades achieved by the recipients of his pinpoint passes are a testament to the on-ice genius that was Adam Oates. --Ryan Davenport, BleacherReport.com (6/21/10)