Hockey Hall of Fame: Forsberg, Hasek, Pat Burns top new members
Blake, Modano, McCreary round out class of '14
Former NHL most valuable players Dominik Hasek and Peter Forsberg and coach Pat Burns headlined the new class of Hockey Hall of Famers announced Monday.
Also voted in were players Mike Modano and Rob Blake and referee Bill McCreary.
Hasek, 49, makes the Hall of Fame despite not establishing himself as a No. 1 goaltender in the NHL until the age of 27.
Hasek is first among all modern netminders with a 2.10 goals-against average for his career and a .922 save percentage. The Pardubice, Czech Republic native is tied for sixth all time with 81 shutouts.
After beginning his career with Chicago, the unorthodox goalie established himself as a force with the Buffalo Sabres, winning the Vezina Trophy six times between 1994 and 2001 and earning league most valuable player honours as the Hart Trophy recipient in 1997 and 1998.
He recorded 22 shutouts over two seasons beginning in 1997-98, with the Sabres reaching the Stanley Cup final in 1999.
Hasek moved on to Detroit, winning a Stanley Cup with the Red Wings in 2002 before finishing his NHL career with a stint in Ottawa.
Internationally, the fiery competitor allowed just one goal in two games against Canada and Russia in 1998 to lead the Czechs to a surprising Olympic gold medal.
Forsberg, who turns 41 in July, led Sweden to a gold medal in the 1994 Olympics and made a splash right away in the NHL, winning the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year in 1994-95 with Quebec.
The next season, Forsberg notched a career-high 116 points as the franchise moved to Colorado and won the first of two Stanley Cups.
Forsberg would go on to win the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL's top scorer and earn the Hart in 2002-03, a remarkable achievement less than two years after having his spleen removed due to an on-ice injury. The gritty centre's career, which included stops with Philadelphia and Nashville and a second turn with Colorado, would ultimately be shortened by foot and ankle injuries.
"I had a couple tough years in the last part of my career, but thinking back in the first 10 years of my career over there in the NHL and getting awarded like this, it's an unbelievable day," Forsberg said.
Forsberg finished with 249 goals and 636 assists for 885 points in 708 regular-season games. He ranks in the top 20 in playoff goals (64), assists (107) and points (171).
Modano, 44, was a model of consistency in a career that began as a No. 1 overall draft pick as a teenager with the Minnesota North Stars in 1989, and lasted until 2010-11 with Detroit.
He made his case when the franchise moved to Dallas, scoring more than 30 goals in a season nine times, including a 50-goal campaign in 1993-94, and finishing with more than 80 points on eight occasions.
Modano averaged a point per game as Dallas reached the Stanley Cup final in consecutive seasons, winning it all in 1999 by beating Hasek's Sabres.
Blake, 44, finished his 20-year career in 2010 with 777 regular-season points on 240 goals and 537 assists in 1,270 games. In 146 playoff contests, he had 26 goals and 73 points.
"Very rewarding when you answer that phone call," Blake said. "Kind of speechless when it happens and then you start recalling all the things that helped you get to where you are."
Blake won the Norris Trophy as the NHL's best defenceman in 1998 and was a finalist in 2000 and 2002. He also won one Stanley Cup with Colorado in 2001.
A seven-time all-star, the Simcoe, Ont.-native also played for Los Angeles and San Jose. Internationally, the three-time Olympian won gold at the 2002 Salt Lake Games and participated in five world championships, winning in 1994 and '97.
Burns, who died in 2010 at the age of a 58, was inducted in the builder category. Burns led New Jersey to the Stanley Cup in 2003, after successful turns as coach of Montreal and Toronto. His 501 regular season wins, which also included a term with Boston, ranks 16th all-time.
The Montreal native's induction was considered long overdue by many in the hockey community.
"I know that Pat would've been so happy, so grateful, so proud to accept this honour," said his wife, Line. "It's a very emotional day for the Burns family, I can tell you that."
Burns coached the Bruins from 1997-2000, winning the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year in 1998.
"On behalf of the Boston Bruins I would like to congratulate the family of Pat Burns on his election into the Hockey Hall of Fame," Bruins president Cam Neely said in a statement. "Pat had an outstanding career in hockey, and we are very happy to see him rewarded with this great honour."
Other players in their first year of eligibility included Adam Foote, Mark Recchi, Chris Osgood, Brian Rafalski and Doug Weight.
The likes of Eric Lindros, Phil Housley, Steve Larmer, Rogie Vachon and Adam Oates were again left out.
Kevin Allen of USA Today was previously named the recipient of the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for excellence in hockey journalism, with longtime Blackhawks play-by-play man Pat Foley to receive the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for outstanding contributions.
The class of 2014 will be inducted in Toronto on Nov. 17.
With files from The Canadian Press