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11-13-2012, 05:53 PM
vadim sharifijanov
Join Date: Oct 2007
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
It hurts Bure a lot that after 1995 he only played in 4 postseason games. That's just poor in that regards. Whether it was holding out, playing on poor teams or playing on underacheiving teams he just never won a postseason game after 1995 when he was 24. Compare that to Fleury and while he had several disapointments in the postseason he always brought his team there and there isn't a time you would ever think Fleury was the cause of his team being knocked out. Granted, Fleury's resume could be better in the postseason too. Both could use some better raw stats, but it is certainly comparable. Even if you did a poll back then and even today on who you would want on your team for a playoff run would it be that crazy to pick Fleury knowing what you'll get?

Well I am not making excuses for Fleury at all, but he was sexually abused a million times as a teenager by an influential hockey coach. You have to understand what kind of psychological damage that does to a young kid. How do you ever cope with this? You aren't going to let it effect your career and you certainly don't want to have a stigma about this while you are in a locker room full of guys. Sad to say, the only way to deal with this could be alcohol and drugs. So I think in many ways what he had was worse and less self imposed.

But onto the response, I certainly can see how Fleury is above Neely on an all-time level.

Fleury - 1088 points in 1084 games
Neely - 694 points in 726 games

Give Cam a bit of a playoff edge but nothing earth shattering. Cam was never top 10 in points but Fleury was better in that category than someone elected to the HHOF yesterday (Sundin). As far as top 10 in goals go it's pretty close:

Neely - 2, 3, 8, 9
Fleury - 2, 6, 7

Fleury had far more productive seasons in the NHL and that is what counts most. Neely falls into a "what if" factor while Fleury does to an extent but still has the stats to back it up. If you want to give Neely a pass for injuries then why not give Fleury a pass in 2001 when he was 3rd in scoring 2/3 of the way through the season only to go to rehab? Either way, the guy had a better career than Neely.
fleury vs. neely, i see the argument for sure. i'm not sure i agree with it (and i'm a huge fleury supporter), but i'm not 100% on neely's side either.

as for fleury vs. bure in the playoffs, i don't think you can say that bure ever didn't bring it in the playoffs or was the reason his team lost. you can say that his sample after 1995 is tiny, which it certainly is, but is there any single year where you wanted bure to do more? his one playoff trip in florida, it was him against scott stevens and the rest of the devils in the year they had probably their best ever lineup-- plus they won the cup that year, knocking off the defending champs in the finals. the next two best offensive forwards on the team (whitney and kozlov) scored 2 points combined (and bure factored on both of those goals). whitney was riding an eight game scoring streak going into the playoffs, and 14 points in his final 15 games. then he completely disappeared.

the team was awful and absolutely no match for the devils and stevens in his conn smythe year. the team was swept and scored only three goals in the final three games of the series, all three of which bure got a point on. it was certainly a better performance than fleury against chicago in '96, when fleury was totally overmatched as his awful team's only threat and chelios was to fleury what stevens was to bure.

and if you look at bure in vancouver in the years that weren't '94, he certainly always did his part. he and russ courtnall in '95 were amazing together. before '94, sure bure got shut down by the oilers in the second round his rookie year, and the kings in the second round the year after. but he also destroyed winnipeg in games 5 and 6 when the canucks were down 3-1 in the series his rookie year, and he ate winnipeg for lunch the year after. point is, bure was an extremely good, and one year beyond legendary, playoff performer. fleury had a legendary spike too, and that was a three year stretch, but as ohashi mentions above you can add those three years up and fleury still plays four less games than bure did in his ridiculous playoff year (fleury has five more points if you add those three years up, but they were all first rounds. sledding gets tougher as you go deeper).

that said, i agree: it wouldn't be crazy to pick fleury at any point in the 90s, but it would be equally sane to pick bure. both guys were dynamite in the playoffs, but bure was the better regular season performer when healthy. weighing that against fleury's greater longevity, even with the significantly better all round game, i still go with the guy who finished top three in points twice, top five in points three times, and led the league in goals three times over fleury, who never finished top five in points and finished second in goals once and has no other top fives in that category either (bure has five top fives in goals). i think ultimately, both guys are franchise players (neely never was, but yes he has the best playoff record of the three and i find it hard not to take that into very high consideration) but they were on different levels of franchise player.

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