Taking part in a bodily recreation will help within the post-season, however there’s a lot, rather more to changing into a Stanley Cup contender than throwing your weight round.Tyler Bozak celebrates with Jay Bouwmeester, David Perron and Ryan O’Reilly|Elsa/Getty ImagesAfter watching his group rating simply two objectives – each of them reputable – within the ultimate three video games of the Western Convention ultimate, San Jose Sharks coach Peter DeBoer made an attention-grabbing remark.
“I feel the 2 hardest, heaviest groups are within the ultimate,” DeBoer informed reporters after the St. Louis Blues beat the Sharks in Recreation 6 to shut the collection. “All people talks about talent and velocity and there’s room for small gamers, however I don’t assume it’s an accident. There’s no area. They’re heavy. They’re exhausting. They’re organized.”
So what the heck are we alleged to do with that tidbit of data? Wait a minute. Weren’t we simply speaking about how velocity and talent could be all the fad? In that case, why are the 2 hardest, heaviest groups within the ultimate and why did the Washington Capitals, one other exhausting and heavy group, win the Stanley Cup final spring? Geez, that was fast.
Effectively, it’s most likely as a result of what DeBoer mentioned must be taken with a little bit of context. There’s little question the Blues are an enormous, heavy group, significantly on the again finish. The Boston Bruins, although, are neither significantly massive nor heavy, however they actually play that method. After which there’s the truth that the 2 finest non-goalies on this playoff match have been Jaden Schwartz of the Blues and Brad Marchand of the Bruins. Not precisely huge guys, and so they sit second and third in playoff scoring and are off to the Stanley Cup ultimate. On the opposite facet of the equation, you could have Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames and Brayden Level and Tyler Johnson of the Tampa Bay Lightning, a trio of waterbugs that completed nearly nothing within the first spherical, scoring only a purpose and two assists in a mixed 13 video games. In order that’s all fairly inconclusive.
And in the case of bodily play, there may be little doubt the Blues bodily punished the Sharks, significantly early within the Western Convention ultimate. However there was nothing off the charts in regards to the bodily strategy they took to the sport. In reality, of the 16 groups that began these playoffs, Boston is 10th with a median of 30 hits per recreation and St. Louis is 13th with 29.four per outing. Three of the highest 5 groups in hits didn’t make it out of the primary spherical, however two of the underside three groups in hits didn’t make it out of the primary spherical both. Once more, inconclusive, partly as a result of hits are overrated as a stat and one whose software can typically differ drastically.
From right here, it seems to be an terrible lot just like the St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins are the 2 remaining groups competing for the Stanley Cup, not essentially as a result of they’re larger or heavier or stronger than different groups, however as a result of they’ve discovered the proper mix of bodily play and toughness. The Blues went after the Sharks early within the collection and established a tone, which possible wore the Sharks down and allowed the Blues to dictate the tone of play. The Bruins truly have been the much less bodily group of their opening spherical towards the Toronto Maple Leafs, then have been capable of defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets as a result of they have been capable of stand up to and soak up the bodily tone the Blue Jackets tried to set. Towards the Carolina Hurricanes within the Japanese Convention ultimate, it was merely a case of 1 group with far superior expertise, depth and goaltending dominating its opponent.
There’s little question that huge and heavy is an asset, but it surely appears to me that group toughness is much extra vital within the playoffs. And that has nothing to do with how huge a participant is, or preventing for that matter. Staff toughness is the way in which the Blues have been capable of shake off one of the egregious non-calls in playoff historical past in Recreation three, when Timo Meier’s hand cross that led to Erik Karlsson’s purpose put the Sharks up 2-1 within the collection and will have derailed the Blues. As an alternative they merely went about their enterprise and dominated the subsequent three video games, outscoring the Sharks 12-2.
Give me a group with depth of expertise over measurement or a penchant for bodily play each time. The Bruins are within the Stanley Cup ultimate as a result of they’ve the perfect high line on this planet, but additionally as a result of they’ve been getting big contributions up and down their lineup. Charlie Coyle has six objectives and he’s their third-line heart. Who knew Sean Kuraly may have such a optimistic affect? As for the Blues, they bought objectives from 12 completely different gamers within the Western Convention ultimate and have obtained a minimum of one purpose from 18 completely different gamers thus far within the playoffs.
This ultimate must be a compelling one as a result of it’s going to function the Bruins’ explosiveness towards the grinding of the Blues. However so far as establishing any tendencies that groups would possibly need to comply with, they’re each there as a result of they’ve overcome adversity, obtained a balanced assault from all sections of the lineup and benefitted from goaltenders who’re absolutely the high of their recreation. It has all the time been thus. And all the time will likely be.
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Tags: boston bruins, playoffs, st. louis bluesConnect: Concerning the AuthorKen CampbellKen Campbell, The Hockey Information’ senior author, is in his second tour with the model after an eight-year stint as a beat reporter for the Maple Leafs for the Toronto Star. The Sudbury native as soon as tried out for the Ontario League’s Wolves as a 30-year-old. Evidently, it did not work out.