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11-14-2012, 03:55 PM
Big Phil
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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
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.
No, it isn't insane to pick either one over their career. That is really all I was saying originally. I think my exact quote was "Bure and Neely supporters would have a hard time proving Fleury had a worse career." I'll acknowledge that at the top of his game Bure was better than Fleury but when we are talking career wise there isn't a whole lot to choose from. Fleury did more when the puck wasn't on his stick, which counts in this form of debate. Bure was just injured so much of the time that it hurts him in the long run. We weren't able to see him do this over a prolonged time like even Mike Bossy. It was staggered.

Originally Posted by Ohashi_Jouzu View Post
"Hurts" Bure compared to whom? Certainly not Fleury, who himself might not have played another playoff game after '96 unless he had joined the 2nd seeded in the West Avalanche midway through the '98/99 season (Calgary went on to miss the playoffs until '03/04, which is past Fleury's retirement, to save you from checking). And think, without those 17 points in 18 games playing on the Avs, how well would Fleury's playoff record stack up to Bure's then? And don't forget, Fleury didn't bring squat to the Rangers in terms of post season appearances over 3 consecutive seasons... or do you see what I did there.

But hey, as long as you've gone from claiming Bure can't compare to Fleury in the playoffs to saying it's comparable, I can assume message received.
I wouldn't bring up the scenario if I didn't know the stats. I also don't remember where I said Bure couldn't compare to Fleury in the postseason, just that it is comparable. Let's look at raw numbers:

Bure - 70 points in 64 games
Fleury - 79 points in 77 games

Looks about as even as we can possibly get. And while Fleury too has warts in the postseason (you would have seen me say that in the message) he certainly wasn't any worse than Bure. And yeah it does hurt Bure for his own benefit that he didn't win a postseason game after the age of 24. That isn't a great thing by any means. If you want to praise a guy when he does something good (1994 playoffs) be prepared to criticize him when it's deserved as well. I'd be interested in seeing why Bure's playoff record would be significantly better than his.

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