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.
Jul 2, 2015, 11:00 PM EDT
He was fired by Toronto back in April.
Jul 2, 2015, 9:45 PM EDT
Doug Armstrong dipped into the free agency pool Thursday evening for some depth signings.
Jul 2, 2015, 8:45 PM EDT
They’re two-way contracts worth $650,000.
Jul 2, 2015, 7:50 PM EDT
He’s looking forward to playing with Ovechkin and Backstrom in Washington.
Jul 2, 2015, 6:50 PM EDT
They’ve also inked UFA Jordan Caron.
Jul 2, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT
It’s a one-year, two-way deal.
Jul 2, 2015, 5:15 PM EDT
Washington continues to load up.
Jul 2, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT
There’s no “timetables for next steps,” according to NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly.
Jul 2, 2015, 4:45 PM EDT
The 27-year-old is looking forward to a fresh start in Pittsburgh.
Jul 2, 2015, 3:34 PM EDT
Acquired from Toronto at last year’s trade deadline.
Jul 2, 2015, 2:57 PM EDT
Leagues will continue to respect each other’s contracts. But that’s it.
Jul 2, 2015, 2:52 PM EDT
Pleads no contest to misdemeanor count of corporal injury to a spouse.
Jul 2, 2015, 2:11 PM EDT
Boughner coached against DeBoer in the OHL, Hedberg played for him in New Jersey.
Jul 2, 2015, 2:02 PM EDT
The Mike Gillis era is just a memory now.
Jul 2, 2015, 1:46 PM EDT
Former Hart Trophy winner announced his retirement on Thursday.
Jul 2, 2015, 1:35 PM EDT
Pittsburgh? Florida? New Jersey? KHL?
Jul 2, 2015, 1:29 PM EDT
“At some point Justin became more affordable to us, and we started to lean his way.”
Jul 2, 2015, 12:36 PM EDT
“At the end of the day, nobody wants to get traded two times. But it’s a learning curve.”
Jul 2, 2015, 12:18 PM EDT
But reports suggest Edmonton, Columbus and Philly are interested.
Jul 2, 2015, 12:07 PM EDT
24-year-old has appeared in 220 NHL contests, all with Nashville.
- Trade: Caps acquire Oshie from Blues for Brouwer, Copley and draft pick 70
- Voynov takes plea, gets 90 days in jail plus probation 42
- Curtains on Broadway: Martin St. Louis calls it a career 33
- Discuss: Where’s the best fit for Alex Semin? 23
- Caps landing ‘affordable’ Williams a sign of the new free agency 3
- Shots fired! ‘Canes owner Karmanos rips into Jim Rutherford (Updated) 56
- Here’s who’s left after Day 1 of free agency 30
- PHT’s 2015 free agent frenzy tracker 38
- Getting clutch? Capitals sign Justin Williams for two years, $6.5M 21
- Coyotes bring back Vermette with two-year deal 33
- Blockbuster: Kessel traded to the Penguins (131)
- Trade: Flyers send Rinaldo to Bruins for 2017 third-rounder (105)
- Trade: Jackets land Saad; Anisimov and Dano headed to Chicago (93)
- Bypassing a buyout? Kings terminate Richards’ contract for ‘material breach’ (90)
- Trade: Flames land Dougie Hamilton for package of picks (75)