Alex Mogilny once again overlooked by Hockey Hall of Fame committee
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By Neil Becker
For the past 12 years, after hearing who the new Hockey Hall of Fame inductees are, I’ve been left asking myself the same question. What about Russian power forward Alexander Mogilny?
Not only did Mogilny post 473 goals and 1,032 points in a solid 15- year career with the Buffalo Sabres, Vancouver Canucks, New Jersey Devils and Toronto Maple Leafs but he also served as a trailblazer for Russians coming over and playing in the NHL.
Since being eligible in 2009 Mogilny has been mysteriously enough overlooked by the Hockey Hall Of Fame Committee.
Mogilny, who was picked 89th overall by the Sabres in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft made hockey history when he took a huge risk by defecting at a critical time when the Berlin Wall was coming down. As a result, he paved the way for today’s Russian stars such as Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and Ilya Kovalchuk to name just a few who owe Mogilny a thank you,
Individually, Mogilny’s best moment came with Buffalo in the 1992/93 campaign when he electrified fans by making franchise history by exploding for 76 goals in 77 games.
Making his mark on the international scene, Mogilny opened eyes in the hockey world by showcasing his talents in leading Russia to a 1988 World Junior Silver medal followed a year later by a World Junior gold.
In 1989, Mogilny also helped Russia celebrate gold in Sweden at the 1989 World Championships. It wouldn’t be until years later when in 2000 with the Devils he wrote some more hockey history as he won the Stanley Cup and became only the 29th player to become part of the Triple Gold Club.
In what was a career filled with historic accomplishments, Mogilny, who was an eight -time 30 goal scorer, will always be remembered for what happened in 1993/94 when with the Sabres, he became the first Russian born player to be named captain.
During his illustrious career, Mogilny was named an NHL all-star in 1992, ’93, ’94, ’96, 2001 and 2003. As mentioned, his best season was in ’93, when he exploded for the 76 goals and 127 points which earned him some high praise from linemate and hockey hall of famer Pat LaFontaine.
“There was a sixth sense. We just had an idea where each other was going to be on the ice,” LaFontaine said. “One thing about Alex, he thinks the game at such a high level. His hockey sense and to be able to have the hands and the feet and the speed, he’s that rare combination of everything.”
During his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Mogilny’s talent and effort was recognized when in 2003 he won the Lady Byng Trophy. Other great achievements include being inducted in 2011 into the Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame and five years later, in 2016, being enshrined into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.
I feel like it’s only a matter of time before Mogilny gets his rightful enshrinement into the Hockey Hall of Fame.