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06-11-2005, 03:18 AM
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Originally Posted by tom_servo
The difference between the careers of Neely, Martin, and Vaive is that miracle 50 goals in 49 games performance.

If there was a Hall of Fame for single season performances, Neely would be a first-ballot inductee. But, in my eyes, he just doesn't have the HoF career. Just like the other two players.

He's a good guy though, so I won't complain that much.

In the comparison with Vaive and Martin I think the main difference is long term impact. As an example; whether it's fair or not, Cam Neely was much more universally known and spoken of long after he left the NHL than was Vaive or Martin. Five, six, seven, eight years after Vaive retired I never heard anyone say on draft day "I want to be the next Rick Vaive" or "He could be the next Rick Vaive". You still hear that every year about Neely though. Certainly there would be nothing bad about hearing that about Vaive though because he was very, very good.
But Neely's impact is just greater, or actually, more "Fame-ous".

Cam Neely's numbers on their own are not quite hall-worthy but rather a very good ingredient in what amounted to a great broth. Neely benefits from being the powerful rare bird of his generation. Cam is a big beneficiary of the glorification of violence in the sport--even amongst many abolishonists--simply because he was the only guy in a certain period of time that, in the same game, could conceivably flatten Chelios twice with big hits, beat up the likes of Corson and Kordic and score a pair of goals on the likes of Roy--and do it on a regular basis. Whereas the best of the time in each of the other spectrums would usually only have one set of those. Stevens or Tinordi would have the two big hits, Bob Probert would usually only have the fight wins and Brett Hull would only have the two tallies. But Cam could/would have all six resulting in many more rounds of applause, accolades and individual attention per game/season and over the course of his years in Boston. Take away Cam's hits and fights and you might cut his attention in half right down to just his point total. Then he's Tim Kerr and he's seldom revisited. But he's not Tim Kerr or any other guy with similar or even marginally better goal totals because Neely had the ability to affect the game in several different ways and all of them were to the extreme and demanded camera time. His shot was powerful and accurate, his checks bonecrushing, his left hand devastating. That's allowing for more forms of entertainment if nothing else, and that's the name of the game.
In history he is certainly not alone or the inventor in this category of talented scorer/all-star-pugilist. There was Howe before him and the supremely talented Lindros in Cam's latter years. But the category is so small that you know everyone in it is pretty special and going to live on in hockey lore. Cam's personal attributes, his selflessness and dedication to the sport and to his fellow man only pushed him further along and almost certainly pushed him over the top with the committee---and coincidentally that may be all that pushes Lindros back the other way someday.

Bob McKenzie said it quite well with the "if it sounds right" bit.

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