Should Paul Henderson be in the Hall of Fame?
Damn right he should, although Henderson didn’t exactly have what one would call a Hall of Fame career, racking up 236 goals and 241 assists for 477 points in 707 regular season games divided between the Leafs and Detroit Red Wings. These are decent numbers, not fantastic, but the true point is missed.
What Henderson did one September forty years ago should be enough. His goal in game eight made an entire country stand up and rejoice.(except for my dad, who was cheering for the Russians). I don’t know what else the guy could do – take turns replacing Dryden and T. Esposito in nets for the odd period? Take over flying the plane to Moscow after the pilot has a heart attack?
He was such a pivotal player during the 1972 Summit Series, notching seven goals and three assists, second only to Phil Esposito, and most remarkably, scored the winning goals in the final three contests of the Series, including the iconic marker in game eight with just 34 seconds remaining. He played in all eight games of the Series, on a line with Bobby Clarke and Ron Ellis, and they were by far the most reliable and consistent threesome on the squad.
I understand when people pose the question – does only a handful of big games merit the honour? But I say just forget about that and have a beer or something. Besides, Vladislav Tretiak and Valeri Kharlamov are in the Hall, and that can be a whole other conversation.
Paul Henderson is currently struggling with leukemia, and what a fine and fitting touch it would be to have him become a new member of the prestigious Hall. Damn right.