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 28, 2015, 4:29 PM EDT
Stopped 18 of 21 shots in an emergency start for the ailing Braden Holtby.
Apr 28, 2015, 3:48 PM EDT
Veteran Finn is a UFA on July 1.
Apr 28, 2015, 3:47 PM EDT
“I don’t want to tear it apart, but I’m not afraid to make changes if I think it’ll help the team.”
Apr 28, 2015, 2:28 PM EDT
Nothing like a little competition to get things done.
Apr 28, 2015, 2:16 PM EDT
Isles defenseman missed the entire opening-round series loss to Washington.
Apr 28, 2015, 1:54 PM EDT
Kicks off on Thursday with the Rangers taking on the Caps, and the Flames facing the Ducks.
Apr 28, 2015, 1:32 PM EDT
Jamie Benn’s having two of ’em!
Apr 28, 2015, 1:09 PM EDT
“I feel like I’ve let people down.”
Apr 28, 2015, 1:08 PM EDT
Was dismissed by the Flyers 11 days ago.
Apr 28, 2015, 12:25 PM EDT
“It wasn’t a perfect fit, to be honest.”
Apr 28, 2015, 12:21 PM EDT
Should be an interesting offseason in Pittsburgh.
Apr 28, 2015, 11:29 AM EDT
Though the former will be on the limp.
Apr 28, 2015, 10:33 AM EDT
Both expected to be ready for training camp.
Apr 28, 2015, 10:01 AM EDT
Occurred late in the second period on Monday night.
Apr 28, 2015, 9:15 AM EDT
Both are unrestricted free agents this summer.
Apr 28, 2015, 8:07 AM EDT
Tuesday’s collection of links.
Apr 28, 2015, 12:04 AM EDT
It’s also tough to say what happens next.
Apr 27, 2015, 11:16 PM EDT
Barry Trotz says he has the joy of a kid and the maturity of a man.
Apr 27, 2015, 10:33 PM EDT
Apr 27, 2015, 10:17 PM EDT
Washington shuts it down, big time.
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- Hitch needs ‘time to reflect’ before making decision on future 17
- Rutherford admits mistakes, but has support of Penguins ownership 8
- Wings’ Kronwall has hearing today for hit on Kucherov 39
- Kucherov isn’t going to ‘cry’ about Kronwall hit 38
- Nothing but Kuznetsov: Caps best Isles in Game 7 26
- Not done yet: Lightning earn Game 7 against Red Wings 10
- WATCH LIVE: Tonight’s Stanley Cup Playoff action 0
- Blues owner ‘disappointed and frustrated,’ but not ready to ‘throw people under the bus’ 31
- Despite ‘step in the right direction,’ do Canucks need to alter core? 16
- It’s Done: Rangers eliminate Penguins in overtime (110)
- Another Blues campaign ends in disappoint as Wild advance (99)
- Bettman under fire after saying ‘Katy Perry’ chant wasn’t sexist (92)
- Friedman: Penguins need to ‘think about’ trading Malkin (89)
- Okposo blasts ‘idiot’ Wilson after physical outing versus Isles (82)