Do you mean to say that you think Neely is closer to Lindros than Stevens is to Neely?
Comparing across the three forward positions is rather awkward and is not something that I prefer doing. I'll draw a comparison for you by position using players that you saw.
Right wing. Cam Neely would be the closest to Gordie Howe as a power forward right winger. Major difference would be longevity. As a playmaker Howe had an edge. As a scorer both had high levels of versatility although Howe rarely used a slapshot while Neely rarely used a backhand.
Center. Best comparison would be Eric Lindros to Mark Messier but the gap between the two is much greater than between Howe and Neely. Biggest difference was that Messier was sound positional and used physicality to enhance his efforts. Lindros would use physicality to overcome basic weaknesses. Example would be using his strength/size to compensate for being caught out of position defensively or offensively.
Left wing. Kevin Stevens to John Tonelli. Stevens had better hands and was more effective in the offensive slot. John Tonelli had it all over Stevens on the rest of the ice - evidenced by his 1984 Canada Cup play.
If I had to choose a player based on hindsight it would be Neely ahead of Lindros with Stevens a distant third. If I let ego get in the way and choose upside thinking that my coach or organization could teach the missing elements then it would be Lindros slightly ahead of Neely. However experience shows that bad hockey habits or character issues are almost never changeable.
I fully agree with Neely being in the HOF and I find it laughable that there are Kevin Stevens comparisons. But I think it's a bit hyperbolic to say that Howe is the only one to combine high end skills and punishing physical attributes. Without making a long list, you have to look no further than the OP; Lindros combined them both, and at his best was ahead of Neely's best by a fair amount. Not a ton, but enough that I think even Lextune will admit Lindros was the superior player! And he's one of the biggest Neely supporters you'll find (not taking a shot at Lextune, just saying).
You're right, I did overlook Lindros, who was also an amazing physical presence, and a highly skilled player, and was clearly a better player than Neely.
Easily one of the best power forwards ever. He hit and fought as well as any "tough guy" and he scored. However, he had the benefit of excellent playmaking centers in Craig Janney and then Adam Oates. I'd say it's Lindros #1, because he had a bit more skill...then it's Neely, Tkachuk, guys like that.
Now that we mention Kevin Stevens, I will say that I am a person who values Stevens' career a lot more than some others. He isn't HHOF worthy because of a very short peak but if I had to pick either one of him or Leclair to go to the HHOF I would choose Stevens.
That being said I don't think Neely was ever as good as Stevens was at their best. Stevens is probably one of the most underrated playoff warriors of all-time. What stopped him? It was that collision in Game 7 in 1993 with Rich Pilon. Up until then he was a for sure future HHOFer who played better than anything else I had seen Neely do with all due respect.
I completely agree with this sentiment. I grew up watching the B's with my father and while I agree here, there was definitely more that captured the hearts of his fans. Cam was a class act all the way, unselfish, and willing to sacrifice. Cam policed the game like as if his teammates were his younger brothers and he was out to protect them from playground bullies. As for scoring, I can remember several times that Neely would deflect in a younger teammates shot, then go straight to the scorers booth and make sure the young guy got credit for the goal. The guy lived for his team and his teammates and always left it all out on the ice.
My personal respect for the guy goes beyond the kind of player he was. Bruins games back then were the only times my father and I shared any kind of a bond. They were the only times I knew I could come within 10 feet of dad without getting the tar beaten out of me for no reason at all. Instead of a punch to the face, I got a lesson in how players like Neely and Bourque played the game the way it should be. I was taught about the Montreal rivalry and how they always skated and passed at a level higher than the rest of the league. I also got to listen to stories about the pure skill of players like LaFleur and Orr. While I'd like to thank my father for my love of the game, I stop to think about the weekly psychotherapy, I think about the various medications I need to take every day just so I can leave my house, and I remember to thank the guy that I really looked up to, Cam Neely. I cried harder than he he did when he made his retirement speach.
*I apologize for being so open about my life. This wasn't meant to seek attention or pity, rather an attempt to give my account of what it meant to me to see one of the classiest guys of the 80's play the game. If I've offended anyone or if anyone feels this is too much info, I'll be happy to delete my post.
That was rough. I hope you have found peace with yourself and your father.
***All you kids that complain Daddy won't buy you the new iphone, this is what real abuse looks like.***
Cam Neely was a tremendous player, however some of his best seasons may have been skewed a little since he did play with one of the best setup men of all time in Adam Oats.
Glad you brought this point up, Adam Oates omission to the HHOF is a disgrace his efforts, through his great play making ability elevated very good players in Neely and Hull into legends while the guy in the background (Oates) is largely forgotten.
Neely is one of those 1st guys who is overrated because of it. He was the 1st great true power forward, although guys like Howe had done it for years, and the tag elevated his status and his likability factor in Boston helped him into the Hall as well.
Neely was a very good player but wasn't as good as his legend makes him out to be. If he hadn't been injured we would have a better record but he did play in the highest goal scoring era in modern history and his statue needs to be evaluated in that light as well IMO.
Other than goal scoring ... and really that's a lot closer than most people believe, name one thing that Neely did better than Lindros ???
Lindros was even bigger, stronger and a better fighter.
Lindros was miles better as a playmkaer.
Lindros was a better skater and stickhandler.
Lindros was amongst a top 10 face-off guy.
That being said if I had a vote, I wouldn't put either in the Hall of Fame, because neither was elite long enough IMO. That being said, if Neely is in, Lindros should absolutely be inducted one day.
Neely had leadership qualities that Lindros never had and had much better hockey sense and vision.
Neely was a right winger while Lindros was a center.
Bigger, stronger and a better fighter. If you want to reduce the discussion to the Derek Boogaard level then you might have a point but then you have to admit that these attributes did not do Eric Lindros any good. Regular everyday players started to stand-up to Lindros.
Lindros as a center was a better playmaker. A center is expected to be a better playmaker than a winger. However going back to junior Lindros had a reputation for rebound assists. NHL career assists to goal ratio for Lindros regular season is app. 1.32:1. Two of his seasons - first and a NY Ranger season he had more goals than assists. Eric Staal, who is not considered a playmaking center, has a 1.2:1 ratio. Gretzky had a ratio that surpassed 2:1 while Adam Oates another contemporary had a 3.07:1 ratio.
Lindros was a better skater and stickhandler. If skating with his head down defines better. If it does not define better then if Lindros was of average size he does not get into junior.
Lindros was a top 10 face-off guy. On strength not finesse.. But a top 10 face-off guy also describes Doug Jarvis, Joel Otto, Yanic Perreault. Not a requisite to play wing.
First of all; Cam didn't even play in the '92 Wales Conference Final. He was still out injured from the cheap shot that Ulf gave him in the '91 final. Sort of strains your credibility to start with....but anyway....
In the '91 final Cam utterly dominated the first two games, (before Ulf), scoring his 13th, 14th and 15th goals of the post-season. The Pens could do absolutely nothing to stop him. In fact I clearly recall Barrasso standing on his head a number of times, or else Neely could have easily had 5 or 6 goals through the first two games. (Mario said in a number of interviews after the playoffs that Barrasso should have won the Symthe, going so far as to specifically mention him holding the Pens in it against the Bruins).
And after Ulf did what he did.....Lemieux and Jagr had just as much, if not more, to do with the Pens comeback than Stevens.
Actually it would have been ridiculous if they hadn't.
I seriously doubt you actually saw Neely play, and if you did, you clearly did not have a very good grasp on hockey.
I realize you're a B's fan and love Neely, but did anybody consider Neely a top 10 player in the game? His best attribute was goal scoring, and he was never the best, or close to the best, at that. Lindros was a much better player and has been screwed. To me, Cam benefited from his injury more than anything. The Neely people remember was the one who played all his best years, whereas the Lindros people remember was a concussion prone player who couldn't play to his strengths. Neely could do 2 things. Hit and score goals. That's great, but he was also never the best player on his own team and never in the discussion of league's best anything.
I realize you're a B's fan and love Neely, but did anybody consider Neely a top 10 player in the game? His best attribute was goal scoring, and he was never the best, or close to the best, at that.
He did finish 3rd and 2nd in the league in goals during his prime....I fail to see how that isn't at least "close"....But I will grant that he was never the games's preeminent goal scorer, (but I never suggested he was).
Originally Posted by Fish on The Sand
Lindros was a much better player
Has anybody argued otherwise.....?
Originally Posted by Fish on The Sand
he was also never the best player on his own team
Pretty tough to do when you are playing with a top ten player in the entire history of hockey.
I never saw Esposito play other than the classic highlights/games, but how does a comparison between Esposito and Sea Bass fair?
Neely with the physical edge, Esposito with the edge in hockey sense?
Yeah not really close with all due respect to Neely. Esposito is a player that you can compare to some all-time greats. Most of us would take Esposito over Messier. Esposito is also a good comparison with Jagr (what he did in his career, not style wise). So really Neely has no chance here.
But he was more physical for sure. Could fight much better. But Espo was the better leader, goal scorer, playmaker. He won 5 Art Ross Trophies while Neely was never once in the top 10 in scoring. Easy decision.