The Hockey History Podcast

Bill and Riley debate which NHL players belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame and which don't. Episodes every few weeks.

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Episode 0: What is Greatness?


How Do We Determinate Greatness in Hockey?


Overall Career:

How long was the career? How long was the player average or good?

Total stats - where do they rank all time? how do we compare over eras? What weight do we put on longevity stats? Is longevity less important now than it was? Can we ignore longevity?

How good was the player relative to their era?

What is the player's 82-game average? (where does he rank all time?)

What was the player's 3 year peak? How do we determine this with D and goalies when we don't have enough information?

What the playoff stats? What do we do with limited to no playoff appearances in a sport where D play barely more than 1/3 of the game and forwards play even less?

Adjusted Stats: these are highly flawed (especially for before roster size was normalized) but can we use these to compare eras?

If the player was traded a lot, can we use this as a character assessment?

Individual Accomplishments

How many awards? Can we take them at face value? What do we do with non-play based awards?

Can we use Point Shares (or some other historical metric) to determine true greatness in a given season?

How many stellar goal-scoring seasons did they have?

How many stellar assist tallying seasons did they have?

How many stellar point-amassing seasons did they have?

What do we do with D when we only have their offensive stats?

Have they ever led the league (or finished Top 5 or Top 10) in anything? What do we do about comparing league leaders from a 6 team league with league leaders in a 30 team league?

How many All Star team finishes? Can we trust the votes?

How many All Star games? Can we trust that?

How many monthly/weekly stars? What value does this have?

What do we do with players who have won individual awards in other professional leagues?

Great Teams?

Did the player excel on a great or very good team? What is the cutoff for team success in a league where nearly 50% of the teams miss the playoffs ever year? What's the cutoff in a league when 2/3 or more of the teams make the playoffs?

What value do we put on success in international tournaments? What value do we put on team success in other pro leagues or for something like the Memorial Cup?

Categories | Introduction


Filetype: MP3 - Size: 73.18MB - Duration: 1:19:56 m (128 kbps 44100 Hz)

The Back Check is a hockey history podcast where Bill and Riley discuss which NHL players belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Detailed show notes can be found at our blog.

Our sources are, Wikipedia,, and


Bill Enos

Bill Enos 

 Bill grew up on the south shore of Montreal, but was born on the left coast. He has been a die-hard Canucks fan since 1989 (except those two Messier years, which he spent living in a bunker fearing the sun).  Bill has long been an avid baseball, hockey and football fan, and probably should write a book about one of them. Joining the podcast with Riley is a chance for Bill to flex his vast knowledge of hockey history without becoming a pub quiz barfly. Bill has promised to remove his green and blue coloured glasses for the podcast, but can't make any promises. 


Riley Haas

Riley Haas

Riley grew up watching baseball but fell in love with the Maple Leafs during the 1993 playoff run. He had his heart broken by Gretzky and didn't watch hockey again for 5 years. Starting with the 1999 Leafs playoff run Riley immersed himself in hockey again, becoming so obsessive that he eventually wrote a book about Maple Leafs mismanagement. He dates his falling out of love with the Maple Leafs from the David Clarkson contract. He is now much more of a basketball fan but still loves the history of hockey.

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