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Neely vs. Nicholls

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12-29-2007, 11:28 PM
  #51
Big Phil
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Originally Posted by willus3 View Post
Is Neely the worst player in the Hall?
No, but he's fairly close. Just look at his HHOF resume it's pretty bland for a guy who's supposed to be within the elite legends. Are there worse? Keep in mind the HHOf is based on a player's career, I mean Neely at his peak was better than anything Bernie Nicholls had yet I think Nicholls had the better career. Another prime example is Rene Robert. Arguably he had a better peak than Ron Francis. Robert is not a Hall of Famer, nor should he be. In his career Francis was the better player. You get my point? If we start a what if war with the HHOF a LOT of players should get in. Neely benefitted from his popularity and that helped him get in, it's not wrong to admit that. Was he a good player? Yes, but he just didnt garner enough in my mind to be a Hall of Famer. When he retired in 1996 I dont remember a big push for him being a future Hall of Famer

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12-29-2007, 11:54 PM
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I don't think Neely was widely viewed as a 10 ten player until his 50 in 44 season. I know that I can't think of 10 better players in the 89 season than Nicholls. It was the first season of hockey I closely watched and remember and he was a big time superstar then.
Good point. In '89 you'd have Lemieux, Gretzky, Yzerman, Roy. After that it's hard not to pick Nicholls. Like him or not 150 points is hard to ignore when the next best player after him had 115..........and it was Rob Brown! This isnt a difference of 5-10 points but 35-40. I mean I think even Denis Maruk was nearly a top 5-10 player in '82

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12-30-2007, 12:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Micd Up View Post
I don't think Neely was widely viewed as a 10 ten player until his 50 in 44 season. I know that I can't think of 10 better players in the 89 season than Nicholls. It was the first season of hockey I closely watched and remember and he was a big time superstar then.
He was definitely viewed as a top 10 guy in 1991. One of four 50 goal scorers that year. Second team all-star for the third time in four years. And he had 16 goals in 19 playoff games. If not for the Samuelsson knee, Boston beats Pittsburgh in the conference final (that knee changed the complexion of that series), and Neely sets a new record for post-season goals.

And Phil, Neely's far from the worst. He was my pick for the best eligible player not in the HHOF. Only the stats freaks would say he's one of the worst. Guys who deliver in the playoffs like Neely do, guys who dominate in the regular season like Neely do, guys who become a prototype for a highly sought-after role, belong in the HHOF.

If he's one of the worst, then why was he just on the outside looking in for THN's top 100? He was an honourable mention.

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12-30-2007, 12:23 AM
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See that right there bugs me to no end. This is how Neely gets way overrated around here. He combined goal scoring and hitting and clutch performances in a way no one ever has? How is it that a guy who never won a Cup, never scored more than 51 goals in a season and never had more than 2-3 good post seasons considered to be the best combo of that?

What about Gordie Howe? Mark Messier? They won at least and were integral parts of it. Neely never did. If you listen to some people you'll be convinced that he won a pair of Conn Smythe Trophies but he didnt. Richard did all of these things better than Neely. Charlie Conacher would be in that category too. And if you want to include Lindros go ahead. Brendan Shanahan is at least on par in all categories as well.

Look I like Neely. If he plays longer you can justify his HHOF induction but he didnt and we need to stop gushing over a guy that could have been. Kevin Stevens in my mind is right on par with Neely as a HHOFer. Most people wouldnt put him in. I dont quite have him up there, but his peak was better than Neely's he won two Cups, his playoff numbers are just as good and he actually had maybe 4-5 very good seasons. Maybe 2-3 GREAT seasons. Is this any different than Neely? No. Neely needed a Cup to cement his status, other than that you jsut cant get in by having 2-3 great seasons that are borderline top 10 players in the game.
Sorry. That should have said he combined goals and physical play in a way that few have. In fact, I've said several times that Neely's the second-best combination of goals and physical play of the last 30 years, behind only Mark Messier. And I did say that I consider Charlie Conacher was a power forward 50 years before Neely set the standard for the role.

He had three dominant playoffs, and I don't think he needs a Cup to cement his legacy. The guy is fourth all-time in playoff goals per game. He consistently elevated his performance in the playoffs. A Cup would have been nice, and Boston likely wins it in 1991 if not for Ulf Samuelsson's knee on Neely. But when a guy dominates like Neely did in the playoffs, he doesn't need a Cup to cement his legacy.

I like Shanahan a lot. I think he's a lock for the HHOF. I think his career is better than Neely. But I think Neely was a better player. As for Stevens, Stevens was an incredible player. He was a dominant power forward. He was a little lucky, as a left-winger for the right-handed shooting Lemieux, but he was not as good of a player as Cam Neely. Stevens also has the off-ice baggage working against him.

I think longevity is great. But you sometimes have to look beyond longevity, look at what a guy did, look at how he played, and look at what he meant to the game.

As for comparing Neely with Lindros and Bure, Lindros and Bure have more going against them. In Lindros' case, he had four dominant seasons, and a dominant playoff. Neely had three dominant playoffs. Lindros also has two big strikes working against him: 1) his off-ice baggage; 2) his reputation, deserved or not, that he's the biggest underachiever in hockey history. There are a lot of players who maybe didn't reach their potential. But Lindros would set another new standard for underachievers.

Bure was nowhere near the hockey player that Neely was. Bure was a fabulous goal scorer. But that's it. Bure was a total liability when the puck wasn't on his stick. And his off-ice baggage, with his Russia mafia buddies, might make him an even bigger liability.

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