Sports Canucks

No patience with getting NHL players up to speed 0

By Guts McTavish, 24 hours Vancouver

Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) is checked into the boards by New York Rangers defensman Dan Girardi (5) during the first period in game six of the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden, May 11, 2014; New York, NY. (Photo: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports)

Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) is checked into the boards by New York Rangers defensman Dan Girardi (5) during the first period in game six of the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden, May 11, 2014; New York, NY. (Photo: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports)

During the high-scoring, freewheeling 1980s, superstars excelled thanks to some questionable defensive foot speed.

It didn't matter how big and strong you were, if you couldn't keep up with a Wayne Gretzky you couldn't alter his game.

And there were plenty of hydrants to abuse filling out every team’s roster.

Today's NHL players are full-time, dedicated athletes. If you can't skate you can't play.

If the Sedins were coming into the NHL this year with that questionable foot speed they arrived with in 1999, it would be an entirely different outcome.

Today's game has no patience for young players who grade high everywhere except skating.

League-wide speed is the reason why it's so much easier to neutralize a superstar.

Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins is a perfect example of a frustrated superstar. The New York Rangers are not the fastest team in the NHL, but the players summoned to cast a shadow over hockey's best player all have the ability to match him stride for stride for the most part.

It's only then a players’ strength and size can be used to further punish him.

And that's exactly what's happening.

Crosby, who has been held to just one goal in 12 playoff games, has been successfully frustrated by both the Philadelphia Flyers and now the Rangers.

In the end, the Sedins’ dogged determination to get faster and management’s patience to stick with them earned the twins a much-deserved place among the NHL's elite.

In the June 27 draft, rest assured there will be no skating projects anywhere to be seen in the first five picks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reader's comments »

By adding a comment on the site, you accept our terms and conditions and our netiquette rules.


Featured Businesses

Go to the Marketplace »