Another year, another class of NHL legends inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Gilmour? Check. Howe? Check. Nieuwendyk? Check. Belfour? Check. Oates?…… Oates? Adam? Hello? Is there anybody out there?!?
I understand how underestimated this guy was throughout his whole career, having played Scottie Pippen to Brett Hull, Cam Neely and Peter Bondras’ Michael Jordan throughout the 1990’s. But then again, his numbers don’t lie. Just how good was Adam Oates? Compared to Gilmour, he has more points (1420 >1414) in fewer games (1337<1474). By no means is that meant to undermine Doug Gilmour’s untouchable Hall of Fame career. I merely mean to highlight the fact that Adam Oates has over 1000 career regular season assists, good for 6th on the all time list. He has 12 seasons to his name with over 50 assists, including an unbelievable 97 helpers in 1992-93 and another 90 in 1990-91. He is 16th all time in points. Gilmour is 17th. Brett Hull, Jarri Kurri and Luc Robitaille also trail him. So do Guy Lafleur, Dale Hawerchuk and Dave Andreychuk...
Oates may lose points because he never won hockey's ultimate prize. Unfortunately, Oates was denied his best shot at Lord Stanley in the 1997-98 finals by one of the toughest and best teams to ever win the Cup, the '98 Detroit Red Wings. That Red Wings team featured the likes of Steve Yzerman, Brendan Shannahan, Sergei Fedorov and Nicklas Lidstrom who are all sure Hall of Famers. If Oates had won that one cup, history would not have shunned this great from the credit he deserves. Still, the numbers don’t lie and the question to the Hockey Gods begs to be asked. Why isn’t this man in the Hall?
What’s even more sad is that practically the only visual evidence online that this great ever even played in the NHL is this sleazy commercial from the mid 90’s. This poor woman doesn’t even know the meaning of offside(s). No wonder she got left behind. Ironically, so did Oates.