Fred Shero is perhaps the most innovative head coach to stand behind an NHL bench. As we've written in the past...
He was the first North American coach to actually study and learn from the Soviets, which certainly helped when his Flyers beat them in 1976. He was one of the first coaches to use film to study opponents, and he was the first coach to utilize the help of assistants. He'd be inducted in the Builders category if he were to ever make the Hall, and it's hard to argue that Shero isn't one of the more innovative builders hockey has ever seen.
Think about it: The 1980 USA Olympic win happened in part because Herb Brooks took what Shero first did in 1976 and stepped it up a notch, beating the Soviets at their own game. Since Shero first brought assistant coaches behind the bench, it's become commonplace at every level of hockey across the world.
He didn't just win the Stanley Cup twice. He did it using methods that nobody else had ever tried. And think about the teams he won with. He was given a roster by management spotted with tough guys at the mandate of Ed Snider, and while he certainly utilized that toughness in a way that infuriated the rest of the league, he also molded those teams into scoring machines. Dave Schultz had 348 penalty minutes and 20 goals in 1973-74. That doesn't happen without great coaching, and the Flyers dont win those Cups in the 70s without great coaching.
Shero was a true innovator and he literally changed the face of ice hockey, and this day is a long time coming for both him and the Flyers organization. Really, it's a joke that it took this long. Shero passed away 23 years ago, and he should have been alive to see this. It took far too long. He'll be inducted on November 11 along with Canadian women's defenseman Geraldine Heaney, Chris Chelios, Scott Niedermayer and Brendan Shanahan, all entering the Hall in the players category.
Eric Lindros is not on that list. First eligible in 2010, Lindros has now been left out of the Hall for four years now. We won't belabor the point because we've written this at least three times now, but Eric Lindros is absolutely deserving of the Hall of Fame and it's a travesty that he's been left out for this long.