Originally written July 09, 2013 on Fox Sports Detroit:
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Brendan Shanahan was capable of producing a Gordie Howe Hat Trick on any night. He was a scorer, a playmaker and a fighter. And now he's in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Shanahan, who played nine of his 21 NHL seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, had to wait one more year than many expected, but he's in. The announcement was made Tuesday afternoon with Shanahan, 44, joining Chris Chelios and Scott Niedermayer as this year's inductees. The enshrinement ceremony will take place November 11 in Toronto. Despite the first-ballot snub a year ago, Shanahan unquestionably deserves his place in the Hall. He ranks 13th in regular-season career goals with 656 and 25th overall in points with 1,354. At 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, Shanahan was the consummate power forward, the only player in NHL history with more than 600 goals and 2,000 penalty minutes. What's more, according to the Society for International Hockey Research, Shanahan is the unofficial all-time leader in those Gordie Howe Hat Tricks, in which a player gets a goal, an assist and a fighting major in the same game. Shanahan had 17 of them during his career. "And Gordie only had two," former Red Wing Mickey Redmond, the club's television analyst for Fox Sports Detroit, said with a chuckle. "He was unique," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said of Shanahan, who won three Stanley Cups while playing in Detroit from 1996-97 through 2005-06. "He had a one-time shot as a weapon. He had a great pair of hands and a scoring touch. And he also had some real good fisticuffs with guys like (Colorado's) Adam Foote." Redmond added: "He could do it all. He could play the game anyway it needed to be played. You don't find guys like that who can finish and go into the dirty areas of the ice. That's a pretty special commodity to have." Shanahan wasn't the most popular player in the locker room. He had a reputation for caring a little more about himself at times than the team. But Shanahan clearly was one of the final pieces that helped end a four-decade Stanley Cup drought in Detroit, leading to championships in 1997, '98 and 2002. Shanahan also had a good sense of humor, caught here in this exchange with a rather vocal female fan in Carolina during the Stanley Cup Final in '02. Shanahan eventually left Detroit in 2006 as a free agent to sign with the New York Rangers. His playing days ended three years later, at age 40, when he retired following one last season with the New Jersey Devils, the club that gave him his start more than two decades earlier. His involvement in the game, however, hasn't ended. Far from it. Shanahan went on to become the NHL's Director of Player Safety, a controversial position because many of his decisions on suspensions and fines have been highly scrutinized in recent years. Shanahan also was responsible for helping to initiate some rule changes coming out of the 2004-05 lockout. "In '05, he reached out and tried to bring people together to talk when there was a lot of tension (between the ownersleague and the players)," Holland said. "He ended up finding a way to bring a lot of people together to talk about ways to make the game better. "He's got a passion for the game. He cares about the game. He's got the gift of gab." Holland expects Shanahan eventually to become a president or general manager for a NHL club. For Redmond, as much as all the goals and the fights, it's actually a catchy tune that reminds him of Shanahan the most. Whenever "Shanny" scored a goal or got into a fight at Joe Louis Arena, the public-address system would start playing a song called the Irish Jig. "The Irish were alive and well," Redmond said. "It was the stuff you hear on March 17 (St. Patrick's Day). When I think of Brendan ... I'll always remember that, for sure."
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