The best of the best will be selected for the Hockey Hall of Fame on Thursday! The selection committee will also make the public announcement of their selections in Toronto later that day. For a complete listing of first year eligible players and other information, check out this site. The induction ceremony itself doesn't take place until November 12th, 2007. If you check out some of the newsfeeds listed on the right sidebar, you will see most of the mainstream hockey sites have information about this. They also go on and on and on about one particular great player, Mark Messier. While Messier was indeed an extraordinary player, here at CanesCountry we'll be focusing on someone different who we feel also deserves some attention.
Ron "The Franchise" Francis came to Carolina as a free agent back in 1998, putting the Hurricanes on the hockey map and legitimizing the franchise so that other free agents would consider signing here in the future. Of course he was originally drafted by the Whalers back in 1981 (number 4 overall), but was unceremoniously traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991 where he won the Cup the same year and repeated the feat again in 1992. He was the face of this franchise though for most of the time he played here and always carried himself with class and dignity. As we all know, he retired in the area with his family and now works for the Hurricanes' organization as the Director of Player Development. I'm not going to get into the long list of accomplishments and records that he has because that is best left for after the induction, not before. But I will mention that "The Franchise" stands 2nd all-time in career assists behind Wayne Gretzky with 1,249, 3rd in games played with 1,731, 4rth in career points with 1,798, and 21st in career goals with 549. If he doesn't deserve to be voted in on his first try, than no one does! Good luck Ronnie, the Caniac Nation is behind you!
Other than Messier and Francis, there are a few other eligible candidates who are worth mentioning. One of my favorites was Al MacInnis who played defenseman for St Louis. That dude had one of the hardest shots in the NHL for many years. I'm not sure that he's worthy to be selected his first try though. Scott Stevens, a not so favorite of mine is also up. He probably will make it his first try. Adam Oates might just make it. He's got over 1,400 points and is among the leaders. Usually only 4 players are selected per year. I've listed 6 on my poll at the right sidebar. Vote for the player who you think will NOT make it this time around. Let's see if we match up with the selection committee!
All is still quiet concerning the Canes' trading situation. The longer period of time that there is no word, the better chance that nothing will happen. I'll keep an eye out throughout the day and I'll post something if I see it. Happy Hump Day!