Former Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk is getting a raw deal. For the fifth consecutive year, Andreychuk was snubbed for the Hockey Hall of Fame. That's bad enough. What's worse: You have to start wondering if he's ever going to get in. It's a mystery as to why he isn't in already. His 640 goals are 14th all time and most of any player not in the Hall.
Now check this out: Among the top 29 goal-scorers in NHL history, 24 are in the Hall. The five who aren't: Andreychuk and four who are not eligible. That includes Jaromir Jagr and Teemu Selanne, who are locks. Mike Modano seems assured, and Mark Recchi is iffy.
Andreychuk never was involved in any scandals. He has always gotten along with the media, and he captained a Stanley Cup team — the Lightning, in fact, in 2004. So what's keeping him out of the Hall?
One can only guess voters are not impressed with his goal total because he played so long. Andreychuk played until he was 42, having amassed 1,639 games (sixth all time) over 24 seasons.
Still, his 274 power-play goals remain first in league history. Hey, if there's a goal-scoring category and you're ahead of Wayne Gretzky, that's pretty good, right?
Andreychuk should be applauded for his amazing consistency over the length of his long career. He scored at least 20 goals an astonishing 19 times.
Instead, it feels like he is being punished for playing so long. That's absurd.
The only other thing I can think of is someone in that voting room has something against Andreychuk. There are 18 voters, and you need 14 votes to make the Hall. Is someone actively lobbying to keep Andreychuk out?
It's pure speculation to believe someone has a vendetta against Andreychuk, but it's hard to understand how wings such as Dino Ciccarelli, Pavel Bure and Joe Mullen are in and Andreychuk is not.
The Hall of Fame voters have some explaining to do on this one because it's a travesty that Andreychuk is not in the Hall. Come to think of it, his exclusion is starting to say less about Andreychuk's worthiness and more about the Hall's legitimacy.
Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez spent last week on a rehab assignment with Class A Tampa. On one hand, he liked being here because it's New York's spring training home and he's familiar with the surroundings. But he did not like missing the big club on television.
"It's hard because sometimes you don't get the YES Network down here in Tampa," A-Rod said.
You mean he didn't think of swinging by Ferg's or the Press Box?
On the night of June 13, I wrote a column suggesting the Rays call up Wil Myers from the minors. And in order to make room, I also suggested the Rays release Luke Scott (above). Well, the Rays did call up Myers a few days later. Smart move
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But they did not release Scott. Smart move, too.
In the 22 games since I called for his release, Scott has gone on a tear: a .386 average (27-for-70) with five home runs, eight doubles, a triple, eight walks, 10 runs and 13 RBIs.
"Yeah, I'm doing all right,'' Scott said after hitting his tape-measure home run Thursday. "I'm feeling pretty good at the plate.
"I'm getting to that point where I'm dialed in.''
Three things that popped into my head
1. Add the White Sox to the list of teams that have Tigers manager Jim Leyland (above) on the warpath. Every time you turn around, Leyland and his team have a beef with someone. Tell you what, Leyland better calm down or one of these days there's going to be a brawl and the Tigers' season is going to go down the tubes because Justin Verlander or Miguel Cabrera gets a separated shoulder or dislocated elbow at the bottom of a pile.
2. I know there has been a bit of a backlash the past week or so. But Dodgers rookie sensation Yasiel Puig is great for baseball, and it's disappointing he will not play in Tuesday's All-Star Game.
3. How long before Dwight Howard quits on the Rockets? Thanksgiving? Christmas?
Tom Jones' two cents