The Hockey Hall of Fame announced the 2014 group of inductees Monday with Dominik Hasek, Peter Forsberg, Rob Blake, Mike Modano, Pat Burns and Bill McCreary set to be officially introduced in November.
Hasek was a trail blazer for the next generation of European goaltenders. "The Dominator" was one of the league's great players during his near two decades of NHL service despite showing complete disregard for the "proper" way to play the position.
He was the first goaltender to win the Hart Memorial Trophy more than once, captured six Vezina trophies and won two Stanley Cups - but his greatest contribution came in 1998 when he led the Czech Republic to its first Olympic gold.
Fittingly, he will be the first player of Czech descent to be inducted.
There's a "what could have been" element to Forsberg's career, but there's no questioning his merit. He averaged 1.25 points in 708 career games, won two Stanley Cups, two Olympic gold medals and a Hart Trophy, finishing his career with a staggering +238 rating.
"Foppa" was one the greatest players of his generation and could do it all.
Also a Stanley Cup winner with the Colorado Avalanche in 2001 and a gold medallist for his country, Rob Blake was the lone blue-liner and Canadian inducted. He won a Norris trophy and represented his country three times at the Olympics.
Mike Modano is arguably the greatest American-born player of all time. He is the country's all-time leading goal- and point-scorer, won a Stanley Cup in 1999, and wore the stars and stripes at three Olympic Games, winning silver in 2002.
The sight of Modano's jersey waving behind him at breakneck speed is an illustration worthy of the honor itself.
Burns was inducted posthumously in the builder's category. Burns, who died in 2010 of cancer, won three Jack Adams Awards as the league's top coach and captured a Stanley Cup with New Jersey in 2003.
Feature photo courtesy of Reuters/Reuters