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 24, 2014, 10:31 AM EDT
Would be his series debut, and first game since the Sochi Olympics.
Apr 24, 2014, 9:50 AM EDT
Will Andersen or Hiller start in Game 5?
Apr 24, 2014, 9:01 AM EDT
“I think he likes the big stage.”
Apr 24, 2014, 8:04 AM EDT
Elsewhere, Detroit will play Boston and Colorado will face the Wild.
Apr 24, 2014, 1:59 AM EDT
The Blackhawks gave the Blues a taste of their own medicine.
Apr 24, 2014, 12:52 AM EDT
Another memorable moment for the American star.
Apr 24, 2014, 12:25 AM EDT
The NFL defensive back strategy.
Apr 23, 2014, 11:29 PM EDT
Nice gesture … bad sign?
Apr 23, 2014, 11:04 PM EDT
Nick Foligno called his goal ahead of time.
Apr 23, 2014, 10:50 PM EDT
Just a nightmarish evening for Anaheim.
Apr 23, 2014, 10:39 PM EDT
Is history repeating itself?
Apr 23, 2014, 10:12 PM EDT
Pittsburgh once again can’t hold a team to less than three goals.
Apr 23, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT
Many wonder why he played the puck.
Apr 23, 2014, 9:36 PM EDT
He was hurt on Saturday.
Apr 23, 2014, 9:27 PM EDT
We ask, you answer.
Apr 23, 2014, 9:11 PM EDT
He was punished for a knee-on-knee hit to Colorado’s Tyson Barrie.
Apr 23, 2014, 8:37 PM EDT
Chicago is trying to even the series.
Apr 23, 2014, 8:03 PM EDT
But Pittsburgh’s lead is far from secure.
Apr 23, 2014, 7:47 PM EDT
He was second in the regular season scoring race.
Apr 23, 2014, 7:33 PM EDT
San Jose will go for the sweep on Thursday.
- Report: Zetterberg to return to Detroit lineup tonight vs. B’s 0
- Kane’s OT goal ties Blackhawks – Blues series at 2-2 20
- Stars chase Andersen, tie series with Ducks 2-2 19
- Penguins blow three-goal lead, Columbus evens series 83
- NHL suspends Matt Cooke for seven games 96
- Ducks’ Getzlaf (upper body) isn’t available for Game 4 (Updated) 3
- Two years after winning the Cup, the Kings’ ‘mix’ comes into question 39
- Duck drama: Selanne to sit as healthy scratch in Game 4 15
- MacKinnon, Johnson and Palat named Calder Trophy finalists 12
- Sharks beat Kings in OT, take 3-0 stranglehold on series 43
- Video: Seabrook ejected for charging Backes; will face hearing (update) (153)
- Bad luck strikes twice: Lightning goal waved off, Stamkos takes knee to head (137)
- Keith doesn’t remember if he taunted Backes after Seabrook hit (125)
- Video: Lucic spears DeKeyser from behind (118)
- Flyers want to ‘punish’ McDonagh (113)