Why Nieuwendyk was great 

December, 8, 2006
12/08/06
11:51
AM ET
When a top player retires, the question is inevitable: Is he a Hall of Famer?

In the case of Joe Nieuwendyk, who abruptly retired on Wednesday due to chronic back problems, I offer a thumb's up. And, just for the record, I think I have a pretty high standard when it comes to such an honor. For instance, I wouldn't have voted for the induction of Clarke Gillies, Cam Neely or Bernie Federko. After all, it's not the Hockey Hall of Really Good. It's the Hockey Hall of Fame, a club for the elite. I think Nieuwendyk fits in that elite class.

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