HFBoards

Go Back   HFBoards > General Hockey Discussion > The History of Hockey
Mobile Hockey's Future Become a Sponsor Site Rules Support Forum vBookie
Notices

The History of Hockey Relive great moments in hockey history and discuss how the game has changed over time.

Cam Neely's Vancouver years

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old
04-19-2017, 09:05 AM
  #1
johnnyutah
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,074
vCash: 500
Cam Neely's Vancouver years

For those who watched him play his first three years for the Canucks, what kind of player was he,did he show the potential to become one of the greatest power forwards of all time? It's crazy that he never hit 40 points in Vancouver but had 50 goals in 44 games one year in Boston.

johnnyutah is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-19-2017, 12:21 PM
  #2
tony d
BMO
 
tony d's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Behind A Tree
Country: Canada
Posts: 58,442
vCash: 500
He still had some good PIM numbers in Vancouver. His GP were pretty high as well. Guess it took until he got to Boston for his point scoring to start improving.

__________________
tony d is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-19-2017, 12:54 PM
  #3
kmad
Riot Survivor
 
kmad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Vancouver
Country: Canada
Posts: 34,097
vCash: 500
He was partying too much in Vancouver and didn't really take hockey seriously until he was shipped out to Boston.

kmad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-19-2017, 01:07 PM
  #4
vadim sharifijanov
ugh
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 14,926
vCash: 500
i don't know the answer to the question, because i was too young. i hope someone who followed the canucks during those awful years is around to tell us though.

looking at the stats, it looks like neely had the misfortune to be behind two better RWs: stan smyl, who was the captain, heart and soul, and arguably the team's most complete forward (or at least 1a with gradin). tony tanti was in his 40 goal prime.

it looks like neely did reasonably well for an 18 year old, the youngest player in the league, once he made the team mid-year. just looking at +/- he may have been on one of the top two lines by the playoffs, because the other winger with a -4 was tiger williams and the top two centers were also at that mark (gradin and patrik sundstrom). other than those four forwards, no one else was worse than -2.

if you look at his first two years, though, even though he wasn't a star like yzerman, neely looked pretty decent for a guy who hadn't turned 20 yet. from his draft, only three guys had more goals than him over the first two years: yzerman, sylvain turgeon, and dan quinn. four guys had more points: those three plus lafontaine (who missed most of his rookie year on the US olympic team).

something happened in year 3 and i don't know what it is, though he had some injuries (dislocated his kneecap in training camp, then separated his shoulder in november). whatever it was, neely's ES production plummeted to just eight goals.

what changed between year 3 and 4? again, i'm not certain but i'm guessing it's the difference between being on the third line in vancouver, with 2nd unit PP time, and immediately being put on the top line with rick middleton (who apparently moved to LW), where he was joined by gradin. i remember throughout neely's career people always said the canucks misused him as a dedicated forechecker and grinder. well one team moved their best forward over to the other wing so the young stud didn't stagnate, while the other team rushed him into the league as a very late birthday in his 18 year and then left him on the third line.

vadim sharifijanov is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-19-2017, 02:37 PM
  #5
Eye of Ra
Mr.Negativo
 
Eye of Ra's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Malmö, Sweden
Country: Sweden
Posts: 7,190
vCash: 500
Would Neely have a impact in todays NHL if he was in his prime? I get a feeling that the answer to my own question would be no.

Eye of Ra is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-19-2017, 03:06 PM
  #6
Doctor No
Registered User
 
Doctor No's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 6,782
vCash: 50
I'm curious what led you to conclude "no" with respect to your question.

__________________
The Goaltender Home Page (http://hockeygoalies.org) - Preserving Goaltender History since 1994
2016-17 NHL Goaltending Performances by Team: http://hockeygoalies.org/bio/nhl/logs/NHL2016.html
Doctor No is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-19-2017, 03:21 PM
  #7
IComeInPeace
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: LA
Country: Canada
Posts: 1,832
vCash: 500
I was a season ticket holder his last season in Vancouver, and went to a lot of games in the season before.

The thing that stands out is that he was a devastating hitter, and fighter (against 2nd tier tough guys; not against the elite guys).
He had kind of accepted that role as his 'in' to getting a regular shift with the team.
But, he wasn't given much of an opportunity to show he could actually play and contribute on offense.

That team was a mess from top to bottom. It seems like every coach we had (ironically Bill Laforge might be the only exception) hated playing the young guys. Cam Neely had to play as a glorified goon or he would be parked on the end of the bench.

It's been a really long time, but I'm pretty sure he was thought of as a defensive liability, which probably had a lot to do with his lack of ice if he didn't fight.

I do not recall him getting much of an opportunity to play with our more skilled players.

He was a fan favorite though. He was not one of those cast into the 'another crappy draft pick' crowd by the fans.
Did we see that kind of crazy goal scoring potential? No, not at all. But, I don't think any of us would have been surprised to see him grow into a consistent 30+ goal scorer.

I never heard any rumors about him partying too much.
I do recall an incident that really stuck out to me though, that led me to believe something was not right:

I believe it was his last training camp in Richmond, BC with the the Nucks,
There was an inter squad scrimmage going on. I was seated right on the glass.
Leading up to that training camp aging Canucks leader, Stan Smyl was given the role of being Cam's mentor. Steamers leadership was unquestioned. He had supposedly taken Cam under his wing that off season...

Cam got the puck right in front of me and Steamer took a huge, and surprising run at Neely on the glass. Not the kind of thing you expect to see in an inter squad game, and especially from two guys who have been said to have worked together closely over the summer.

The hit itself was nothing. I think Cam saw him coming. But, what stands out the most is that right after they started jawing at each other and it continued for some time before they dropped the gloves and fought. The fight was crap. But after the fight was broken up they continued to scream at one another for some time, and it seemed to go way beyond what you'd see in a spur of the moment hockey exchange.

I had never before heard anything about him partying too much, but I always thought it was odd what I witnessed that day, and even more so that I never heard Cam comment on how Steamers tutelage helped him become the player he went on to be. They played a similar style (Cam with far more skills), and both became respected leaders...I would have thought that Cam would have had a lot of good to say about Smyl.

Anyways, I post the above because I don't think the Nucks were willing to move him just because of what they saw on the ice. I believe they questioned, in some capacity, his commitment away from the rink.

Tom Watt was the head coach that last season where he regressed and seemed to be getting pushed into a fighter role. Watt was notorious for being the type of coach that hated playing the young guys, and much preferrred veteran players who took care of their own end of the ice first and foremost.

IComeInPeace is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-19-2017, 03:30 PM
  #8
vadim sharifijanov
ugh
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 14,926
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by IComeInPeace View Post

He was a fan favorite though. He was not one of those cast into the 'another crappy draft pick' crowd by the fans.
Did we see that kind of crazy goal scoring potential? No, not at all. But, I don't think any of us would have been surprised to see him grow into a consistent 30+ goal scorer.
wow, thanks for that. really interesting.

one question: how would you compare young neely relative to some of the other young power forwards we've seen come through vancouver? say, zack kassian? or the young bertuzzi?

vadim sharifijanov is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-19-2017, 04:08 PM
  #9
crobro
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,771
vCash: 500
I watched him destroy Nevin Markwort of Boston in his last season in Vancouver it was the most one sided fight ever I don't think markwart ever played another game.

Jim Sandlak had a great world juniors that year and was considered a better prospect making Newley expendable. Boston tried for years to trade for Sandlak who struggled in his career , I'm guessing they were hoping the small Boston garden ice surface might elevate his game like it did Neely's

crobro is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-19-2017, 04:30 PM
  #10
vadim sharifijanov
ugh
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 14,926
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by crobro View Post
I watched him destroy Nevin Markwort of Boston in his last season in Vancouver it was the most one sided fight ever I don't think markwart ever played another game.

Jim Sandlak had a great world juniors that year and was considered a better prospect making Newley expendable. Boston tried for years to trade for Sandlak who struggled in his career , I'm guessing they were hoping the small Boston garden ice surface might elevate his game like it did Neely's
after all those years of watching sandlak be terrible, i am still to this day amazed that we were able to get murray craven for him (and robert kron). sure '93 was an inflated scoring year, and craven was on the hot streak of his life, but there was a point mid-way through that season where he was on pace for a 100 point season. and sandlak was sandlak.

vadim sharifijanov is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-19-2017, 04:53 PM
  #11
crobro
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,771
vCash: 500
Last I heard Sandlak was managing a Beckers grocery store

crobro is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-19-2017, 04:59 PM
  #12
Eye of Ra
Mr.Negativo
 
Eye of Ra's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Malmö, Sweden
Country: Sweden
Posts: 7,190
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doctor No View Post
I'm curious what led you to conclude "no" with respect to your question.
very physical powerforward. look at the league today, nobody is like neely.

Eye of Ra is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-19-2017, 05:12 PM
  #13
Killion
Global Moderator
 
Killion's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 32,876
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by crobro View Post
Last I heard Sandlak was managing a Beckers grocery store
... what? that Ontario only chain vanished late 90's, converted to Mac's Convenience Stores... though a few have reopened over the past few years in Ontario. Beckers.... Sandlak "managing" a convenience store is he? Last I heard he was on Anaheims Scouting Staff & before that an Assistant Coach with the OHL's Sarnia Sting. "The House" as he was nicknamed..... dunno... maybe he has a "thing" for Beckers Chocolate Milk?...


Last edited by Killion: 04-19-2017 at 05:18 PM.
Killion is online now   Reply With Quote
Old
04-19-2017, 10:32 PM
  #14
Ogie Goldthorpe
Piloted Ogre Hog
 
Ogie Goldthorpe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: NS via BC
Posts: 4,262
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by crobro View Post
I watched him destroy Nevin Markwort of Boston in his last season in Vancouver it was the most one sided fight ever I don't think markwart ever played another game.

Jim Sandlak had a great world juniors that year and was considered a better prospect making Newley expendable. Boston tried for years to trade for Sandlak who struggled in his career , I'm guessing they were hoping the small Boston garden ice surface might elevate his game like it did Neely's
God, and then we hung onto Sandlak for faaaar too long, hoping one day he'd turn into Neely. What a disaster that was.

To answer the OP, IComeInPeace summed it all up pretty good.

I never saw the 50 goal scorer potential in him... and I'd argue that if he'd stayed in Vancouver, he'd have topped out somewhere in the 30's. The Canucks had a way, in those days, of bringing out the mediocre in a player.

Best comparable these days? Well, Neely type players don't really exist anymore. Wayne Simmonds, maybe?

Ogie Goldthorpe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-19-2017, 11:02 PM
  #15
tjcurrie
Registered User
 
tjcurrie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Gibbons, Alberta
Posts: 3,886
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eye of Ra View Post
Would Neely have a impact in todays NHL if he was in his prime? I get a feeling that the answer to my own question would be no.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eye of Ra View Post
very physical powerforward. look at the league today, nobody is like neely.
That's insanity. People give too much credit to "Today's NHL"

Neely was skilled, and strong, and physical. Jamie Benn can play in "Today's NHL", can he not? Milan Lucic? Patrick Maroon? Jarome Iginla recently until that pesky age thing?

Cam Neely would be impactful. Astounding Yes.

tjcurrie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-19-2017, 11:48 PM
  #16
IComeInPeace
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: LA
Country: Canada
Posts: 1,832
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
wow, thanks for that. really interesting.

one question: how would you compare young neely relative to some of the other young power forwards we've seen come through vancouver? say, zack kassian? or the young bertuzzi?
Hmmm...I'd say comparable to Bert in his first couple of Canuck seasons (the 50 point seasons), but with a couple of caveats:
1/ he was more than willing to use his physicality (whereas that was an area the Isles struggled trying to get Bert to use his size)

2/ Cam was 2-3 younger than Bert was when he started his stint with the Canucks so fans were more patient with him (Bert was starting down the path where it looked like he might be a flop)

He was such a devastating hitter and fighter, Canuck fans used to seeing that team get bullied really cut Cam a lot of slack. Maybe some of that patience started to wear thin after Semenko bullied Cam (and later Smyl) in a one sided loss to a very weak Canucks squad on national TV.

IComeInPeace is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-19-2017, 11:58 PM
  #17
IComeInPeace
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: LA
Country: Canada
Posts: 1,832
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by crobro View Post
I watched him destroy Nevin Markwort of Boston in his last season in Vancouver it was the most one sided fight ever I don't think markwart ever played another game.

Jim Sandlak had a great world juniors that year and was considered a better prospect making Newley expendable. Boston tried for years to trade for Sandlak who struggled in his career , I'm guessing they were hoping the small Boston garden ice surface might elevate his game like it did Neely's
That Sandlak performance at the World Juniors was jaw dropping. Canuck brass and fans alike had every right to be supremely optimistic about Sandlak after his play there.

I don't think it was just this incident, but more his character, but a young Sabres d-man drilled Sandlak with a great hit while Sandlak had his head down. Sandlak was on an emergency call up from Juniors. It was a HNiC game. Sandlak was down and hurt, and when he finally got up he looked like a deer in the headlights.

In all of my years watching the 'Nucks, I never saw a player play as chicken5hit as Sandlak. I hate saying stuff like that because it's disrespectful, but an honest assessment from my point of view.

I think his immense size (and perhaps reputation coming out of junior) put a target on his back that if he tried to play the same game as he did in Juniors, he would have to answer for it in the NHL. He chose to avoid that.
He also had horrific wheels. I don't think he was that anxious to throw huge hits, but even if he wanted to, he had a hard time getting there.

Years later he seemed to get it, and tried to play with a bit of an edge, but it went nowhere.

As for Nevin Marksart: that kid played with his heart on his sleeve. A little guy that took some serious whoopings in his day!

I believe Sandlak had (has?) a son in the OHL, no???

IComeInPeace is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-20-2017, 12:00 AM
  #18
IComeInPeace
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: LA
Country: Canada
Posts: 1,832
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
after all those years of watching sandlak be terrible, i am still to this day amazed that we were able to get murray craven for him (and robert kron). sure '93 was an inflated scoring year, and craven was on the hot streak of his life, but there was a point mid-way through that season where he was on pace for a 100 point season. and sandlak was sandlak.
Murray Craven was a heck of a player, and a guy that was (is) so easy to overlook. Those Flyers teams from the mid/late 80's drafted really well.

IComeInPeace is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-20-2017, 12:04 AM
  #19
IComeInPeace
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: LA
Country: Canada
Posts: 1,832
vCash: 500
I think Neely would still light it up in today's game.
Goals are still scored from the slot area, and he was as good as anyone in the history of the game at getting in a position for a scoring chance from that area, and getting the puck off his stick quickly and accurately.
I do agree that his hitting would be curtailed by the threat of a suspension. It seems like every big hit these days is at least considered as suspension worthy. That wouldn't bode well for Cam.

IComeInPeace is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-20-2017, 12:13 AM
  #20
crobro
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,771
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by IComeInPeace View Post
Murray Craven was a heck of a player, and a guy that was (is) so easy to overlook. Those Flyers teams from the mid/late 80's drafted really well.
I thought Craven was drafted by Detroit?

crobro is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-20-2017, 05:36 AM
  #21
Darth Yoda
Registered User
 
Darth Yoda's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Grovebranch's Crease
Country: Sweden
Posts: 3,459
vCash: 931
There are no guarantees, but to think that players dont have any capacity to adjust to the current rulebook at all seem far fetched to me. Who knows, maybe some would be even better offensively when they spend less time running over people, getting runned over, and fighting. Even becouse of less injuries and in some cases permanent neurological damage being done.

Darth Yoda is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-20-2017, 07:18 AM
  #22
vadim sharifijanov
ugh
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 14,926
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth Yoda View Post
There are no guarantees, but to think that players dont have any capacity to adjust to the current rulebook at all seem far fetched to me. Who knows, maybe some would be even better offensively when they spend less time running over people, getting runned over, and fighting. Even becouse of less injuries and in some cases permanent neurological damage being done.
yep. seems in fact to be what happened to neely once he got to boston.

"He was kind of an enigma in Vancouver, I guess, because they hadn't played him," recalled Middleton. "He'd only been used as this physical player. No one knew, except maybe the scouts, that he had all this offensive talent to be brought out. And when he fought, wow, it was that old-school Terry O'Reilly thing, fighting out of emotion. I remember asking Stan Jonathan once why he always smiled when he fought. And he'd say, `Nifty, I can't fight when I'm mad.' But Cam fought out of anger. Terry got him to be more selective about when he'd fight, and when he controlled his temper, that's when the goals started coming -- and kept coming."

http://archive.boston.com/sports/hoc...n_on_brightly/

vadim sharifijanov is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-20-2017, 09:01 AM
  #23
The Panther
Registered User
 
The Panther's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Country: Japan
Posts: 5,585
vCash: 500
Just for fun:

Mini-review of the Canucks in the 80s



Neely fights w/Canucks







Coach's Corner (just pre-Ron McLean) from the first week of the 1986-87 season. Don Cherry waxes philosophical on the Neely-Pederson trade (from 1:18):

The Panther is online now   Reply With Quote
Old
04-20-2017, 09:15 AM
  #24
IComeInPeace
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: LA
Country: Canada
Posts: 1,832
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by crobro View Post
I thought Craven was drafted by Detroit?
Sorry, yes, but traded as a 19 yr old, and only played 15 games for them.

That Flyers team iced these guys, all under 21:
Craven
Zezel
Ron Sutter
Derick Smith
Rick Tochett
Told Bergen
Rich Sutter

Those are a lot of kids up front to have a 113 point season with!

IComeInPeace is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-20-2017, 09:22 AM
  #25
IComeInPeace
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: LA
Country: Canada
Posts: 1,832
vCash: 500
Panther, that Kocur fight was one of the few he lost (I think the other was against a young (and surprising Bob Rouse) in his first couple of seasons. Semenko embarrassed him as well.

That Kocur fight was scary. Cam let him throw bombs towards his melon, where everyone kind of knew you never traded punches with Kocur like that.
Another young power forward, Brad Dalgarno learned that the hard way. I don't know what Dalgarno would have become, but I think I've read Dalgarno admit that injury changed his career, and how he approached playing a 'power forward' style.

Interesting to read the Middleton quote. I'd never heard/read that before.

IComeInPeace is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Forum Jump


Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:48 PM.

monitoring_string = "e4251c93e2ba248d29da988d93bf5144"

vBulletin Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
HFBoards.com is a property of CraveOnline Media, LLC, an Evolve Media, LLC company. @2017 All Rights Reserved.