May 13, 2013, 1:15 PM EST
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.
Dec 8, 2013, 7:46 PM EST
Dec 8, 2013, 7:24 PM EST
Punishment for Varlamov’s last start or reward for Jiggy’s win?
Dec 8, 2013, 7:13 PM EST
It resulted in a broken ankle.
Dec 8, 2013, 7:01 PM EST
He expects to bring “tons of energy.”
Dec 8, 2013, 6:50 PM EST
Claude Julien believes Brendan Shanahan faces a few tough calls.
Dec 8, 2013, 6:25 PM EST
Ryan Spooner and Matt Fraser are emergency recalls.
Dec 8, 2013, 5:45 PM EST
Dec 8, 2013, 5:32 PM EST
No back-to-back duty for Braden Holtby.
Dec 8, 2013, 5:16 PM EST
The team is unsure if he has a concussion.
Dec 8, 2013, 5:13 PM EST
He’s not even sure if he’s retiring, but even if he is, he doesn’t want the distraction.
Dec 8, 2013, 4:21 PM EST
Los Angeles has been great during his recovery process.
Dec 8, 2013, 3:34 PM EST
Mason might not get that much, but he’s certainly in line for a big raise.
Dec 8, 2013, 2:46 PM EST
His Boston Bruins will play there on Tuesday.
Dec 8, 2013, 1:59 PM EST
Meanwhile it’s Niemi vs Harding in Minnesota.
Dec 8, 2013, 1:11 PM EST
“It was just bad in here.”
Dec 8, 2013, 12:24 PM EST
Adding to what was already a rough night for Boston and Pittsburgh.
Dec 8, 2013, 11:32 AM EST
Meanwhile the Flyers will play in Ottawa on Monday.
Dec 8, 2013, 10:44 AM EST
They’re 14 points out of a playoff spot.
Dec 8, 2013, 9:51 AM EST
They’re playing without Tyler Bozak and Dave Bolland.
Dec 8, 2013, 9:00 AM EST
He would have preferred they talked about the rookie goalie that just got his first shutout.
- Bruins coach admits Thornton crossed the line, slams Pens for not being ‘truthful’ 25
- Lecavalier out 3-4 weeks with non-displaced fracture in back 2
- Islanders players hold closed-door meeting after ninth straight loss 11
- Penguins’ Neal has phone hearing for knee on Bruins’ Marchand 86
- Shawn Thornton confirms hearing with NHL Department of Player Safety (Updated) 81
- Video: Penguins’ Neal knees Bruins’ Marchand 68
- Penguins announce Brooks Orpik ‘alert and conscious’ (Updated) 47
- Shawn Thornton: ‘People could probably criticize that I’m a little too honorable’ 78
- Video: Penguins’ Orpik stretchered off ice; Bruins’ Thornton given match penalty 172
- Report: Salary cap ‘may be around’ $70 million next season 17
- Video: Penguins’ Orpik stretchered off ice; Bruins’ Thornton given match penalty (172)
- Bylsma: Sharks are NHL’s best, ‘with all due respect to Chicago’ (89)
- Penguins’ Neal has phone hearing for knee on Bruins’ Marchand (86)
- Shawn Thornton confirms hearing with NHL Department of Player Safety (Updated) (81)
- Shawn Thornton: ‘People could probably criticize that I’m a little too honorable’ (78)