Brendan Shanahan is a Hall of Fame hockey player. What he was able to accomplish on the ice ranks with the all-time greats of the game.
But hockey is rooted in strong traditions and has a code of conduct that one is expected to uphold. Hockey players might be brutish on the ice, but the off-the-ice code calls for them to be gentlemen first and foremost.
Combining talent, personality and good looks, Shanahan became the poster boy of the NHL. He was the big, strapping Canadian lad that Don Cherry worships.
So you have to wonder if his relationship and then marriage to the wife (eventually ex-wife) of former St. Louis Blues teammate Craig Janney caught up with Shanahan on Tuesday, when he was denied first-ballot admission into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Even though the Shanahans have been married for 14 years now and have three children, how else can you explain this jarring snub?
Shanahan has always marched to a different drummer. Although he was respected by his Red Wings teammates for his play, he wasn’t the most popular guy in the room.
Many thought that it was too much Brendan Shanahan and not enough Detroit Red Wings. This frustrated his Detroit teammates because — despite his bravado and the Janney thing — when they were all on the ice together, they became champions.
Don’t be too surprised if Shanahan gets elected to the Hall next year — in my book a year too late. His statistics — i.e. the only NHL player to score more than 600 goals and spend more than 2,000 minutes in the penalty box — say so.
However, those who selected the Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2012 apparently had their say so Tuesday: