The Hall today announced its four-person Class of 2011 but left out two people who were big-time stars during their time in Boston.
Joe Nieuwendyk, Doug Gilmore, Mark Howe and Ed Belfour were announced as the four men scheduled to be inducted in the Players’ Category Nov. 14 in Toronto.
But former Bruins coach Pat Burns, who passed away last year, and former center Adam Oates were left out of the HHOF class.
Burns won 501 games as an NHL head coach, including 105 with the Bruins, and won the Jack Adams Trophy as coach of the year three times (with the Bruins in 1997-98). He led New Jersey to the 2003 Stanley Cup championship.
Oates’ 1,079 assists are sixth all-time and he is the only member of the top 10 in that category not in the HHOF. He is also 16th in points with 1,420. Only Jaromir Jagr, Mark Recchi and Joe Sakic, none of whom is yet eligible for the HHOF, aren’t in among players ahead of Oates on the points list. There are six Hall of Famers behind Oates in the top 25.
This year’s class is certainly deserving. But the HHOF continues to do the people in hockey and fans of the sport a disservice with its clandestine selection methods and little explanation for its decision to keep certain people out of the Hall despite a clamoring from the public and media for their inclusion — especially in the case of Burns.