Every time Al MacInnis appears on the jumbotron in St. Louis, the crowd cheers. Al MacInnis is a class act, and his Hall of Fame status has been bringing back great memories. Because of my age, most of my memories come from his time in St. Louis, so feel free to add any more in the comments. Here I go:
-His Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe in Calgary. I've only really seen the highlights for this because I was too young to remember. But he played some insane hockey, especially for a defensemen.
-When the Blues acquired Al MacInnis, my mom didn't believe me and my dad when we told her! She had to see it for herself! Over the next couple years, Blues fans were spoiled with good defense, with both MacInnis and Pronger on the back line.
-His shot, of course! He could scorch them past Chris Osgood from center ice! Who could forget how many times his big shot tied the games in the waning seconds of regulation.
-Ask Jocelyn Thibault about Al MacInnis. He made a glove save, but Al's shot was so hard, it broke his thumb, and he dropped the puck into the goal. Sick. Just plain sick.
-I remember when Al MacInnis finally won the Norris Trophy in 1999. He was long overdue, and I often wonder how in the world he got overlooked for so many years. His defense was flawless, and he is without a doubt, the smartest defenseman I've ever seen play.
-The wooden stick. In an age where players used every technological advantage in sticks to their advantage, Big Al used a wooden stick, emphasizing timing and form. In fact, Sherwood would paint his wooden sticks to look like the $150 composite sticks so people would buy those instead of the wooden ones!
-A Class Act. Hockey players by their nature are humbler than most professional athletes, but Al MacInnis took it to a whole different level, with his polite professionalism and friendly demeanor. Despite their frustration with ownership changes, and the Blues pitiful record, Al MacInnis number retirement night was sold out at the beginning of the season. Fans in St. Louis really appreciate his class.
-Player development. Chris Pronger learned a lot from Al in St. Louis. Barret Jackman also had the honor of playing with MacInnis. And now, Erik Johnson is staying at the MacInnis, and MacInnis has taken the number one pick under his wing. Thankfully, the Blues gave him a job in the organization. This man has an eye for talent, and he really does a great job as mentor. Don't be surprised if he makes a great coach or GM someday.
Like I said, please feel free to add anything else in the comments. Al MacInnis has to be one of my favorite players of all time, and there's no debate he deserves to be in the Hall.