May 13, 2013, 1:15 PM EDT
Like speedboats among freighters, the majority of undersized hockey players who made it to the NHL did so because they were quicker and more agile than their larger, more powerful counterparts.
Because according to Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock, the freighters of the NHL aren’t so slow and cumbersome anymore.
“The difference that I’ve seen in the last three years is, all the big players can skate like the little guys,” said Hitchcock, per Sportsnet’s Mark Spector.
And as if that wasn’t troubling enough for diminutive types, at least one general manager believes the way the game is played (and called) has started once again to favor the bigger player, as it did before the 2004-05 lockout.
“When I took this job, we decided on a style of play that resulted in great success,” said Canucks GM Mike Gillis last week after his team was swept out of the playoffs. “And clearly, the landscape has changed and we have to address those changes. We don’t have a choice. It’s not something I necessarily agree with. But that’s what we face, and that’s what you have to do.
“We have to make the changes and adjustments necessary to compete for a Stanley Cup. It’s my intention to do it and recognize what’s going on and make sure we have a team that’s better equipped.”
Gillis knows better than anyone that the last two teams to win the Stanley Cup did it with size and strength, since both the Bruins and Kings beat Vancouver.
Not that Boston and Los Angeles are bereft of skill; obviously, they aren’t. But there’s no question they favor a heavier, more physical game.
The worry for Canucks fans is that Gillis is overreacting based on a small sample size. What if the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup this year? Chicago finished the regular season ranked 30th in hits. Patrick Kane isn’t a giant. Neither is Jonathan Toews. The ‘Hawks are a great team because they have the puck all the time, and they know what to do with it.
Of course, Kane was drafted first overall, while Toews went third. They aren’t your typical players. Nor, for that matter, is Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis, the league’s top scorer. The reason he’s such a great story is because not many small, undrafted players do what he’s done.
Perhaps Gillis feels that, absent a blue-chip draft position, getting bigger and stronger is his best option in an NHL where big and strong doesn’t have to mean big and slow anymore.
Apr 18, 2014, 2:10 PM EDT
Usually he reserves that word for his own team.
Apr 18, 2014, 2:02 PM EDT
“It wasn’t very appropriate at all.”
Apr 18, 2014, 1:43 PM EDT
“It’s a good step,” he said.
Apr 18, 2014, 1:25 PM EDT
Apr 18, 2014, 12:53 PM EDT
Rookie goalie Frederik Andersen made 32 stops for Anaheim in Game 1.
Apr 18, 2014, 12:05 PM EDT
Catch the game tonight on NBCSN at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Apr 18, 2014, 11:59 AM EDT
Andrew Barroway has company in his pursuit of Charles Wang’s (pictured) Brooklyn-bound team.
Apr 18, 2014, 11:58 AM EDT
Suggesting they’ll hold onto the fifth overall selection at this year’s draft.
Apr 18, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT
That would be the gesture right there.
Apr 18, 2014, 11:18 AM EDT
More adversity for Tampa Bay.
Apr 18, 2014, 10:49 AM EDT
“Luckily he’s married.”
Apr 18, 2014, 10:45 AM EDT
Plus a look at Game 2 of the Bolts-Habs and Stars-Ducks series.
Apr 18, 2014, 10:08 AM EDT
He’ll try to end the year on an up note.
Apr 18, 2014, 9:22 AM EDT
They’re not intimidated by the Penguins.
Apr 18, 2014, 8:24 AM EDT
Three games will keep your Friday night occupied.
Apr 18, 2014, 2:27 AM EDT
But it’s one game.
Apr 18, 2014, 1:37 AM EDT
Apr 18, 2014, 1:21 AM EDT
Things got interesting in the third period.
Apr 18, 2014, 12:53 AM EDT
Apr 18, 2014, 12:46 AM EDT
Yeah, not a good night for him.
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- Video: PHT Extra — can Detroit exploit Boston’s blueline? 9
- Sharks go on the attack, defeat Kings in Game 1 16
- Avalanche win in OT, complete third-period comeback 56
- Blues prevail in longest game in franchise history as Steen scores in third OT 23
- Video: Sharks’ Brown runs Voynov into Quick, scrum ensues 2
- Opportunistic Rangers pull away from Flyers, take 1-0 series lead 63
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