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Moose leads 2007 class into Hall of Fame

You can't argue too much with the inductions of Mark Messier, Scott Stevens, Al MacInnis and Ron Francis this year into Hockey's Hall of Fame. With only four players being inducted each year, it's inevitable that some worthies get left out, most notably Igor Larionov this time.

What is especially impressive about this class is that none of them would really be considered borderline candidates - Messier was part of the Oilers dynasty of the 80's and carried it forward after Gretzky left, and cemented his place in history with the Cup win in 1994 for the Rangers. Scott Stevens terrorized opposing forwards manning the New Jersey blue line, while MacInnis broke more than one goalie's catching hand with perhaps the wickedest slap shot the game has ever seen. Francis was the quiet professional, always just outside the limelight but year after year standing alongside the game's greatest players.

One side effect of the 2004-5 lockout is that there will be catch-up year available for the Hall next time to consider players like Larionov and Adam Oates, as you didn't have players retiring from the NHL at that time.