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11-14-2012, 04:02 PM
Big Phil
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Originally Posted by zeus3007 View Post
As someone who looks at the game beyond the stat line, you are very, very wrong. Even IF you only look at stats, you have to consider that Neely was cut down at the beginning of his prime. Fleury lost some of his prime years too, but not as many.

You need to consider the legacy left more than stats. Neely was the first true power forward and changed the game. Fleury was a very good scorer who left a legacy of shame on the league. Its unfortunate what happened to him, but you can't give him a pass because of it, the drug and alcohol abuse got him suspended from the league. He didn't choose to leave, he was kicked out. A guy like that doesn't belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
That's the thing I am doing, I am going beyond stats as well. Because just looking at stats Fleury blows Neely out of the water. Sorry, but he does. Neely has no more than 3 elite seasons and one of them counted is 1994 where he played 49 games so take it or leave it. Fleury was his own worst enemy, but I also think since we've been told the details of what started his demons it makes a little more sense. It doesn't mean that he should get inducted into the HHOF out of sentiment because we saw that in 2005 rather than actually looking at the whole picture, in my opinion. So I don't give him extra credit, but at the same time his actions during his substance abuse days make a little more sense now.

Also, Neely was not the first power forward. He was more or less the player playing that style once that term was coined. Just because no one used the term "power forward" in the 1950s (Gordie Howe for example) doesn't mean no one played that way. Another great example was Messier. Plenty of players were "power forwards" before the term was invented. Neely did do it very good I agree, but can you say that with all his injuries and all those missed seasons that he physically had a better career than Fleury?

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