TORONTO - Ray Bourque and Paul Coffey are virtually assured of being selected to the Hockey Hall of Fame today in their first year of eligibility. An 18-member selection committee will make the announcement.
Glenn Anderson, Dino Ciccarelli and a handful of others passed over in recent years also are 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 also won the Norris Trophy as the league's top defenseman five times.
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 defensemen since Bobby Orr, is second to Bourque in goals (396), assists (1,135) and points (1,531) by a defenseman.
The sixth overall pick in the 1980 draft by Edmonton, Coffey won the Norris Trophy three times. He was a key player on three championship teams in Edmonton and one in Pittsburgh.
Coffey finished his career bouncing between Hartford, Philadelphia, Chicago, Carolina and Boston and was slowed by back injuries.
The only other first-year-eligible players with all-star credentials are defenseman Larry Murphy and goaltender Kirk McLean.
MURRAY TO OTTAWA: Bryan Murray was hired as coach of the Senators, leaving as general manager of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks to run a team that was ousted in the first round of the playoffs.
Murray, who has spent 23 seasons in the NHL as a coach and general manager, replaces Jacques Martin, who was fired April 22 and has since been hired to coach the Florida Panthers.
"I wanted very badly to come back to coach," Murray said at a news conference. "I wanted to come back to a hockey country where hockey meant something."
Al Coates becomes the Mighty Ducks' interim general manager.
COYOTES: Former University of Minnesota defenseman Keith Ballard signed a three-year contract for nearly $1.2-million, including bonuses.