HHOF Profile: Rob Blake

NHL: Los Angeles Kings at San Jose Sharks

There is a constant debate about the requirements to get into a hall of fame and it generally all boils down to one main question. Does someone who does not win a championship belong in the hall of fame? It doesn’t matter what hall of fame you might be arguing about as every legendary player has this debate attached to them. For some winning a championship is the be all and end all of a hall of famer as nobody should be in the hall of fame without winning at least one championship. Then there is the other side that say that a player can put up good enough numbers to earn a spot in the hall of fame without winning a championship. Both sides have been fought over for as long as hall of fames have existed but generally the non-championship side wins out. The requirements are never limited at championships as it extends to just being a great player. Then again winning multiple championships makes a much better case for a player to make it into the hall of fame. When someone wins a championship it becomes a little bit easier of an argument for the player trying to get into the hall rather than relying on stats alone. That is why every player is always looking to win a championship no matter what. That can mean that even a player who plants roots in a city, as rare as that has become, will look to leave to find that championship. It has happened time and time again as a veteran player who has spent time in one city leaves that city in pursuit of a championship. It is the one time when a fan favourite can get away with leaving a city and find no ill will when they leave. It is all in the pursuit of solidifying a legend for that veteran who generally leaves via free agency and becomes a main target for most teams. That is what Rob Blake did in 2000 when he left the only city he had ever known to pursue a championship in Colorado. He was always a strong player statistically but never had a championship in a team that struggled to win the big one. He moved on to win a championship and his legend grew to another level that it may not have reached otherwise. With the stats and a championship behind him Blake now enters the Hockey Hall of Fame and goes in alongside some of the greatest defenceman to ever patrol the blue line.

Blake was born in Simcoe, Ontario and decided to take a more unconventional route at the time to the NHL. Playing in Bowling Green State University of the CCHA and NCAA rather than going to junior hockey. Draft in 1988 by the L.A. Kings Blake remained in school for another season before joining a team that included Wayne Gretzky. It was a dream for Blake to play with the greatest player of all time and he got the chance during the 189-90 season. For a defenceman that loves to move off of the blue line and jump into the rush playing with someone who amassed a total of 1,963 assists in his career, an NHL record, it was a dream come true. That set Blake up being a good move for Blake as he earned over 40 points in three of his four full seasons with “The Great One.” That set him up for a great career where he was known as one of the best offensive defenceman in the NHL. Not only did he have a knack for putting up points but he developed into a very good defensive defenceman as well. He was the full package on the blue line as he could score when you needed him to and could shut down the best players in the game. Despite his talents and those around him he could never lead his team to a Stanley Cup win. That is what forced his move to Colorado where a good team was looking for something extra to win their second Stanley Cup. They did just that winning the Cup in 2000-01 and giving Blake the one thing he was missing from his trophy case. Blake stayed in Colorado for a few more years before returning to Los Angeles and eventually moving to San Jose where he finished his career. Near the end of his career Blake was the typical veteran story that has been told time and time again but this time it came out positively. He was a veteran looking for a championship finally got one to add to his stats that had already made him a hall of famer.

rob_blake

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