Sabres Alexander Mogilny NHL Hall of Fame
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 28: Alexander Mogilny #89 of the New Jersey Devils congratulates teammate goalie Scott Clemmensen #40 after their 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres at Continental Airlines Arena on October 28, 2005 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Yesterday the NHL officially announced its 2020 Hockey Hall of Fame induction class. In it are two first timers in Jarome Iginla and Marian Hossa. The HHOF then added two defensemen that have waited over 20 years to get in each with Kevin Lowe and Doug Wilson. Don’t get me wrong, all four players are worthy but once again, Alexander Mogilny who paved the way for Russian players by defecting in 1989 was snubbed — for the 11th time.

The 2020 NHL Hall of Fame Class

On Wednesday, Lanny McDonald made all the phone calls he had to before announcing the six people getting into the Hall of Fame. In the builders category, legendary Red Wings GM and current Oilers GM Ken Holland will be enshrined come November. Additionally, in the woman’s category, Canadian Olympic winning goalie Kim St. Pierre will take her place among the greats.

Why Marian Hossa over Alexander Mogilny?

As you can imagine, there was some uproar over the 4 NHL players inducted. Everyone agreed that Flames great, Jarome Iginla, was an easy first-ballot Hall of Famer. That will also be the case next season when Jaromir Jagr becomes eligible. When it comes to long overdue superstars not in the Hall, Doug Wilson waited 21 years to get the call and he should’ve been inducted eons ago.

There was some consternation over Kevin Lowe who was never considered a top defenseman on any team he played for. In truth, Lowe is the epitome of the type of rearguard you win Championships with and his 6 Stanley Cup rings solidify his selection to the Hall. But why first time eligible Marian Hossa over Alexander Mogilny? Let’s try to analyze that.

Hossa who was a star in Ottawa gained most of his recognition late in his career playing for Chicago where he won three Stanley Cups. However, he wasn’t a point a game player and finished with 1134 points in 1309 NHL games.

On the other hand, Alexander Mogilny was a scoring machine for the Buffalo Sabres and once scored 76 goals in a season. The Russian sniper tallied 1032 points in just 990 games. Yet somehow, the voters could not make the case to put in Mogilny over Hossa?

Are those three Cups for a player who was probably the third best player on those Blackhawk teams be the reason? Or is it political?

Alexander Mogilny defection started huge NHL trend

The story of Mogilny’s defection started with a business card handed to him by Don Luce at the World Junior Championships in Alaska. From there it was clandestine conversations and jumping into a car with the KGB running after him. It ends with him landing at NY’s LaGuardia airport requesting political asylum.

Let that story settle in and then think of all the great young Russian players that were allowed to come afterwards like Sergei Federov. That doesn’t happen without a 20-year-old Alexander Mogilny defecting and the Soviets wanting to save face by not having many more do the same.

Is it possible after all this time Russia is still bitter over this? The NHL, which has an okay relationship with the KHL, at best could be sensitive to this as well. Of course, I am going into conspiracy theory territory which does no one any good. I just want someone to explain to me how Alexander Mogilny couldn’t get in over Marian Hossa.