Wednesday, June 08, 2005


Cam Neely Inducted into Hockey Hall of Fame

Cam Neely is headed for the Hockey Hall of Fame!

"After six years of waiting, the former Boston Bruins forward has finally been chosen for induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame."

At this time last year, I noted that Cam Neely had been shut out from the HHOF and made a case that he belonged in the hall.

My argument was more emotional than analytical in comparing Cam Neely to HOFer Mike Gartner.

Gartner finished his long career with not a single post-season award, and just one top-10 finish in league scoring (10th in 1984-85). For a 19-year career, you would expect a "top" player to finish at least 10th in league scoring more than just once.

Neely, on the other hand, played only 726 games played in his shortened-career, just finishing shy of the 400 goal plateau (694 total points). In his peak/best seasons (Ages 24-30, 7 seasons), Neely averaged 0.74 goals per game, while in Gartner's peak/best seasons (Ages 25-32, 7 seasons), Mike only averaged 0.56 goals per game.
On top of that, Gartner had only ONE 50-goal season in his 19 year career, while Cam Neely had THREE in 10 seasons, including 50 goals in just 49 games in 1993-94.
After my post, I read up some more about Neely and found Daryl Shilling's argument against Neely's induction.

Neely’s HOFS score is 287, which is well below the cut-off of 600, where likely players are likely to become Hall of Famers. Is the point of this study to prove that Neely isn’t HOF calibre? No. I raise the Neely point because it is currently the most hotly debated HOF topic.

What I’m wondering is, if there’s a large push for Cam Neely, then why isn’t there one for Rick Martin or Tim Kerr? They produced at a similar level, and were better goal producers than Neely was. Pavel Bure, who looks like he’s retired as of today, is a similar (but better) offensive player that makes a better case for the HOF. Six of these players end up with better HOFS scores.

Cam Neely always SEEMED like a Hall of Fame calibre player to me, but injuries and a lack of big career numbers left him short in comparison to other members in the hall. Neely was a dominant player for a very short time...much like fireworks - Burn brightly, but not for too long.

It's no matter now, because Neely will be inducted into the HHOF along with former Hockey Canada head Murry Costello and the Russian great Valeri Kharlamov, a player many international hockey fans have been clamouring about for years.

Shillings's system would also dictate, no doubt, that Bobby Orr would be far down the list as well by virtue of his short career (and thus, "low numbers").

High productivity as the only indicator greatness is a comically flawed junk science. If this were to be applied to baseball, then Sandy Koufax would be less qualified than Jim Kaat to be in the Hall of Fame, since Koufax never won many overall games for his career or got as many strikeouts as Kaat.

In terms of Cam Neely, 55 goals in 86 playoff games and three 50-plus goal seasons in a too short career speaks for itself. I am happy for Cam.
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