Adam Oates will finally get his spot in the Hall of Fame next to former linemate and Bruin great Cam Neely Monday. While he didn't spend his whole career in Boston, he was there long enough to make an impact. Oates played in Boston from 1991-1992 through 1996-1997. In 368 games with the Bruins, Oates scored 142 goals and 357 assists.
"Everbody talks about his playmaking skills, but he was much more than that," Vancouver Canucks associate coach Rick Bowness told ESPN.com.s James Murphy. "It was obvious how good he was with the puck, but he was very good without it too. He understood and applied all facets of the game, and he came to play every game and every practice."
Bowness coached Oates during the 1992 season when the Bruins made a run to the Wales Conference finals.
"He made players around him better and wanted to be the guy that was making an important contribution to the team, and he did carrying them. he adjusted so well, and that's what made him such a valuable player wherever he played," Neel told Murphy.
This became especially important during the 1992-1993 season where Neely was only able to play 13 games. That season, Oates scored a career-high 45 goals. He scored 32 the next year but never came close to reaching those numbers again. But his real skill came in setting up his teammates. He ranks sixth in NHL history for most assists.
And to see Oates make it to the Hall of Fame comes as no surprise to Neely.
"I figured someday this would happen," Neely told Murphy. "He is obviously one of the best players I played with and probably one of the best playmakers of his time. For him to do what he did with me and Brett [Hull], two different types of players, and to learn our tendencies and where we were going to be shows his feel for the game. I am extremely hapy for him."
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