Roger Neilson never won the Stanley Cup, nor was he ever named the Jack Adams Trophy winner for NHL Coach of the Year. Actually, Neilson bounced around as the bench boss for several National Hockey League teams during his career. It would appear on the surface that his induction is not exactly warranted, and the sympathy that he got throughout Hockey fans for his courageous fight against cancer (he was diagnosed in 1999, and continued to coach) may have been part of it. We hate to say it, but he was inducted in 2002, eight months before he passed away, so we wonder if this is a case of the Hall of Fame being nice to someone who was an all-around good man. That may have been the case, but there are other factors worth discussing.
As mentioned, he may not have won the Stanley Cup, but he did make significant improvements on teams he coached. Neilson was dubbed “Captain Video” and he was the first coach to significantly use that medium to make his players better and learn his opponent’s weakness. Despite being a forward thinker, he never went away from basic hockey fundamentals and proved to be an excellent teacher. Neilson was also a master manipulator of the rules of hockey, always finding an edge and forcing changes in hockey based on his exploitation of them. He may have gotten into the Hockey Hall of Fame sooner than he should have, but his impact on the game is undeniable.
Should Roger Neilson be in the Hall of Fame?
I totally agree with this induction. - 50%
I am fine with this induction. - 50%
I do not agree with this induction, but it does not bother me. - 0%