Hall will announce inductees Wednesday
TORONTO -- Ray Bourque and Paul Coffey are virtually assured of being selected to the Hockey Hall of Fame on Wednesday.
An 18-member Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee will announce this year's inductees on Wednesday, and Bourque and Coffey are expected to be honored in their first year of eligibility.
Glenn Anderson, Dino Ciccarelli and a handful of others passed over in recent years are also expected to be considered.
Bourque, who played 22 NHL seasons, holds career records for defensemen in goals (410), assists (1,169) and points (1,579). The eighth overall pick in the 1979 draft, he won the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie.
He helped the Bruins make the playoffs for 17 consecutive years, but Boston only made it to the finals in 1988 and '90.
Bourque won the Norris Trophy as the league's best defenseman five times. Only Bobby Orr (eight) and Doug Harvey (seven) won it more. He's second only to Gordie Howe (23) in All-Star Game appearances with 19.
"I'm a perfectionist," Bourque once said. "I want to do well all the time."
Traded from Boston to Colorado near the end of his career, Bourque won his only Stanley Cup in 2001 and retired a few weeks later.
Coffey, the best rushing defenseman since Orr, is second to Bourque in goals (396), assists (1,135) and points (1,531) by a defenseman.
He holds the NHL record for most goals in a season by a defenseman with 48, surpassing Orr's record in 1985-86.
The only other first-year-eligible players with all-star credentials are defenseman Larry Murphy, a teammate of Coffey's in Pittsburgh, and goaltender Kirk McLean.
Other first-year-eligible players include Tony Granato, Marty McSorley, Joe Murphy, Steve Smith, Ron Sutter and Esa Tikkanen.
Ciccarelli, Anderson, Steve Larmer, Kevin Lowe, Dave Taylor, Brent Sutter, Bobby Smith, Mike Liut and Rogie Vachon are among players who have been eligible for more than one year.
Former Soviet greats Boris Mikhailov and Valeri Kharlamov and 1990 Calder Trophy winner Sergei Makarov are among the Europeans eligible for induction.
The committee also may select inductees in the builder and referee/linesmen categories. Last year, Detroit Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch and longtime junior coach Brian Kilrea were inducted with Pat LaFontaine and goaltender Grant Fuhr.
The Class of 2004 will be honored during Hall of Fame Weekend Nov. 5-7, with induction ceremonies set for Nov. 8.
The Hall of Fame announced last month that ESPN.com columnist Jim Kelley will receive the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for distinguished hockey journalism and Hurricanes play-by-play man Chuck Kaiton will be given the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for his work as a broadcaster.
Information from The Associated Press and SportsTicker was used in this report.