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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tkachuk Hangs Up The Jersey

Another hockey great (legend?) that I have watched since their start in the NHL has called it quits.  Keith Tkachuk announced yesterday that he will retire at the end of the season after 19 years in the NHL.  His final game should be tomorrow night vs. the Ducks, followed by, what I can only imagine will be, a glowing tribute. 

As I said, Keith has spent the better part of 19 seasons in the NHL.  He was drafted 19th overall in the first round of the 1990 Entry Draft by the Winnipeg Jets out of Boston University.  After moving to Phoenix and becoming the Coyotes, he eventually went on to play for his current team, the St. Louis Blues (with a brief stint in Atlanta).


The question now comes up as to whether or not Tkachuk's career is HOF worthy.  I say yes considering some of the exclusive company he shares.  In my opinion, anyone that falls in the top 50 in goal scoring should at least get a few votes.  A quick look at his career statistics...


He has played in 1,200 regular season games, putting up 1,063 points on 538 goals and 525 assists.  He has also amassed 2,219 penalty minutes.  I can't forsee many other players going forward to be able to score over 500 goals and amass over 2,000 PIM.  Today's game has changed so much from how it used to be, those kinds of numbers just don't seem likely anymore.


Keith also was able to assist his teams when it counted in 89 playoff games by scoring 28 goals and 28 assists.  In 2008, Keith became the 72nd player and only the 7th US born player to hit 1,000 points.  He also is only the 4th player in NHL history to combine 2,200 penalty minutes and over 1,000 career points. 


In international play, he is a four-time US Olympic Hockey player and won the Silver Medal in 2002.  Keith played in five All-Star games throughout his career.  Among all left wingers, he is tenth on the NHL’s all-time power play goals list with 212, seventh all time in goals with 538 (30th overall), and eighth in points with 1,063.  Among US born players, he is second in career goals, fifth in total points and has the distinction of being the first American born player to lead the league in goals in 1996-97 with 52 while playing for Phoenix.

Like I said, I think those numbers should be enough to get him into the hall.  There are far more mediocre players that have contributed less to the sport than Keith that are sitting in there now.

In his own words...

"It's always tough after you've played that long, but I know it's the right decision," said Tkachuk, "I'm honored that I was able to play that long, and the thing I'm most proud of, I get to retire as a St. Louis Blue. That means the world to me.


“I have been privileged to have a long career in this terrific league and play for first class organizations. My thanks go out to my current and former teammates, the St. Louis Blues, Phoenix Coyotes/Winnipeg Jets and Atlanta Thrashers organizations and most of all to my parents, my wife Chantal, my kids Matthew, Braeden and Taryn along with all of my other family members for all of the support they have given me throughout my career.”

"No question I wanted to win it, but it didn't happen," Tkachuk said. "Not everybody gets a chance to carry the Cup. But this organization will win a Stanley Cup. Even though I won't have a jersey on, I know I'll be a piece of it ... maybe a building block because it takes a lot of building blocks to win."

Blues President of Hockey Operations, John Davidson, said about Tkachuk, “Keith is a true warrior who had an excellent career and I was hoping this day would never come.  The NHL is losing an individual who gave a lot of time and dedication to the game and I wish him and his family a happy retirement and the best of luck.”

Good luck to Keith, indeed.  He will be missed.

4 comments:

  1. There's gotta be only a handful of former Winnipeg Jets left in the league. Shane Doan is one of the only ones that comes to mind.

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  2. You are right. There aren't many. Doan is the last to still be with the franchise in Phoenix. You also have Selanne, of course, and Khabibulin. I think Kris Draper was also a Jet once. I can't think of anymore than that.

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  3. I'm not sure he'll make it in; at least not during his first year of eligibility. 500 goals is certainly nice and he did finish in the top 10 in goals scored five times, but I don't know.

    The PIMS don't really help his cause. If anything, I would think the Hall looks down on a big number because it usually means it puts his team at a disadvantage. Three seasons with 200+ PIMs from a guy who isn't a goon just shows me he took dumb penalties. But I never watched him because he was a Western Conference guy, so I can't say for certain.

    He also scored more goals (538) than assisted on them (525) which can be sort of a dubious honour. And he finished his career with less than a point-per-game average, which is alright for a defenseman, but not so much for a winger.

    Lastly, he has no Stanley Cups or individual awards.

    Having said all that, the one thing he DOES have going for him is that he is American born and that alone may get him in.

    He was a very good player, but I don't think he is a HOF caliber player.

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  4. Lots of good points there, Casey. I still say anyone in the top 50 in all time scoring should be in. But that is one opinion of a guy who doesn't get a vote.

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