Recently I have read a couple of articles calling for Steve Larmer to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Or at least to have his jersey number 28 retired to the rafters of the United Center. A great case can be made for both.
In fact if you're a Blackhawks fan you probably have already read at least one writers take on the subject. I, for one, can only agree with those who have written about Steve before me. But first let's see how Larmer came to the Blackhawks to begin with.
Steven Donald Larmer was born on June 16, 1961 in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. His professional hockey career began in 1977 right in his hometown when he suited up for the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Junior Hockey League.
In 1980 the Blackhawks took Steve in the 6th round of that years draft. After a couple years in the minors he was finally called up for good to start the 1982-83 season.
He merely went on that year to win the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL's rookie of the year. That first season Larmer scored 43 goals and had 90 points while playing in all 80 games.
Those stats would become somewhat of a marker for Larmer's entire career. A career filled with an almost uncanny consistency. He finished his Blackhawks career playing in 884 consecutive games, good enough to make him the Hawks all-time iron man and giving him the third longest streak in NHL history.
He may have had a chance to break the record for consecutive games played had it not been for a contract dispute to start the 1993-'94 season. Now I could continue on this path and recite all of his stats but if your a Steve Larmer fan you've already been inundated with those.
What I want to do is concentrate on one or two other aspects of his game that contributed to his overall greatness. A couple things that many may have overlooked.
First of all Larmer is generally considered to be one of the best two way forwards in the games history. That means he was equally great on both the offensive and defensive side of the ice sheet. He finished his career as a Blackhawk with a plus/minus rating of +182. Of course making him the franchise all-time leader.
He also is the franchise record holder for game winning goals. Having scored the decider in 49 different games. This stat is definitely more compelling than most others. It is fitting to me that the teams most underrated player holds it's most underrated record.
Also, it has been much talked about that Larmer's stats were enhanced by playing alongside future Hall of Famer Denis Savard. This argument is dubious at best. Any player who played for a great team had to at some time played with another great player. Usually on the same line.
But don't take my word for it. The following is a quote speaking of Larmer attributed to Savard himself: "When I left Chicago for Montreal, for the rest of my career I was never the same player. I missed him more than he missed me."
Here is another quote from new Hall of Famer and current Blackhawks announcer Pat Foley: "When Steve Larmer went from Chicago to New York, it is no coincidence that shortly thereafter the Rangers won the Stanley Cup."
So maybe this is a little bit of a fresh perspective. Regardless, when you put it all together it should only spell H.O.F. Of course, there's not much we can do about that here in Chicago.
But we may be able to give it a little push. Let's get the #28 up among the other six retired jerseys at the United Center. If that happens maybe the Hall will take another look at a true Chicago icon.
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