Didn't say Shanahan, Roberts, Tkachuk and Stevens weren't physical. Just said they weren't as physical as Neely. And while they were all excellent goal scorers, their goal scoring abilities weren't as strong as Neely.
I'm a diehard Canuck fan, so I saw lots of Roberts and Tkachuk in the old Smythe Division/Pacific Division battles in the early to mid 1990s. Gained a great respect for both, especially Roberts. Shanahan's one of my all-time favourites and a sure-fire HHOF in my books. Stevens' peak value is one of the best ever for LWs. (In a four-year span, he was a three-time all-star, had back to back 50-100 seasons [including one of two 50-100-200 seasons in NHL history] and keyed two Cup victories).
BTW, two other names that haven't been mentioned yet for combining goals and physical play: Rick Tocchet (a prototype for power forwards for many years) and, as much as I loathe him, Eric Lindros, who had the potential to be the best in the goals/hits discussion.
I rate Messier as the best, though. Only the one 50-goal season, but he was always there when his team needed him. (I believe he's second in all-time playoff goals, behind only Gretzky). And in terms of physicality, a very dangerous player. Used his strength to his advantage to be a physical menace and a force in the corners. Also used his strength to become one of the game's top power skaters, who could bull his way through opposing defencemen.
Injuries and development time are all part of the game, and thus part of the HHOF standards. Based on stats alone, if Neely's in, Kariya should get in as well.
But it is not based on stats alone is it. It is based on the peak of the player and how good people thought he was compared to his peers. On that basis Lindros and Kariya have a strong chance as both for a period of 3-4 maybe 5 years were considered truly one of the very best players in the game. So was Neely. That is why he is on the Hall of Fame.
On stats alone none of the 3 gets in. Neely is a good example of how little stats matter if a player has an exceptionally high peak level.
He only scored 50 goals once. He certainly had the talent to do it many times, but he stopped paying the price when he started getting those big, short-term contracts. You're only going to score so much taking 40 foot slappers.
Frankly, for most of his career he's been little more than a smaller version of Stephane Richer; float around, skate up the wing for a long slapshot, repeat. He really only had two seasons at superstar level, and he's been living off that rep ever since.
I'd have to agree with the part about paying the price to score. It's not like his first step is slower, or his skills have eroded. But he has lost his courage to go to the net. Kind of understandable with what he's been through. And I haven't watched him much this year with the Preds.
As far as the HOF, I think he will make it if he continues for 5-6 more years.
What are the chances of him making it? I remember his first four or so years had him on the fast track to greatness. Then Gary Suter came along and changed his career forever with one of the biggest cheap shots of the last 10 years. Since then he's basically been a 'good' player and before his career is over he'll probably have 1,000 plus points.
Well some people have short memories of Kariya. Its like no one can look past his '03-04 season. Let's go back to 1997. Lemieux had retired and The Hockey News had Kariya as the #1 player in the league. You could argue that Hasek, Lindros and Jagr were just as good but without Mario in there anymore the best player in the world was up for grabs and you never got a dirty look if you mentioned Kariya.
Three times the guy has been a first all-star selection, and two more times as a second all-star selection. Was Neely ever considered the best player in the game? he was never even the best right winger in the game. Guys like Hull and Bure were better right wingers at the time.
Remember Kariya has scored some big goals in his career too when it counted. How about 1997. He scores a Game 6 OT goal against Phoenix on the road by whistling a wrist shot by Khabibulin. The Ducks go on to win Game 7. He scored the opening goal for Canada in the Gold Medal game vs. the USA in Salt Lake in 2002 (remember Mario's deception), and dont forget his goal in Game 6 of the 2003 Cup finals after he was knocked out cold by Stevens. A game they won. Sure you can say they never won the Cup and Kariya in all fairness could have had a better 2003 playoffs but people need to forget his 2004 World Cup snub and 2006 Olympic snub. Kariya already has had a HOF caliber career
I think the whole Kariya being a perimeter player is a bit of stupid issue, most players in the HHOF aren't necessarily chipped tooth hard nosed two way forwards with exceptional skillsets either. Kariya had one extraordinary dimension to his game, and that scoring or setting up goals in he most dazzling of fashion. He was clearly an extremely smart and gifted player as well. I'd say he gets in if he hits 1000 pts which should happen in about three years. From 95 through 97 he was pretty much everyone's favourite player.
I have to say that kariya is one of the many players on the fence of making the hall of fame. I agree the hall isn't just for scoring numbers. I think that if Kariya brings a team a cup he'll be in, and that if the 2003 finals went differently and Anaheim won? He'd be in easily.