Friday, June 08, 2007

Are the Ducks the new 'model' team?

TSN's Bob McKenzie wrote an interesting piece on Thursday:

While the Buffalo Sabres appeared to be the 'model' post-lockout NHL franchise, teams are now going to try to emulate the Anaheim Ducks.
While the Ottawa Senators were able to outmuscle the rest of their Eastern Conference counterparts, they ran into a brick wall in the Finals. The Ducks simply had too many big, strong and skilled players for the Senators to deal with. Not only are the Ducks are loaded with big, strong skilled players, they also have a lot of youngsters who will benefit greatly from this experience. Players like Penner, Perry and Getzlaf had breakout campaigns and franchises around the league will be looking for players just like them to build their teams around.
I don't like where that article is heading. How much does size really matter? Sure, the Ducks used their size to intimidate Ottawa, and it was quite beneficial overall. But I wouldn't say that the Sabres are less of a 'model' team. Even the Sabres' failure this postseason cannot be blamed on the smaller size of their team, can it?
When it comes down to it, it takes 19 guys on the ice to buy into their coach's system and to play with the heart and desire that it takes to win a championship. That is not what we saw from Buffalo or Detroit in the semi-finals, and it is definitely not what we saw from Ottawa in the Finals.
While Anaheim's size did frustrate the Sens, there were too many holes in the machine that was Ottawa, starting with Ray Emery and it worked it's way out from there. How can Anaheim's roster be the new template when the only Sens players you can truly praise for their performance in the Finals were Vermette, McAmmond, Fisher, Neil, and a couple others. Ottawa did not get the complete team performance that was necessary to draw the series out any longer than 5 games.
So I am disagreeing with McKenzie in general. Buffalo's team on paper was terrific the way it was. They just couldn't get it together when it mattered the most.

Do you agree or disagree?

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At June 9, 2007 at 10:58 a.m. , Blogger James said...

I gotta agree with Bob there, while the Sabres had outstanding speed and skill, they lacked the size required to force the issue. Both their defenders and forwards were just too easily pushed around. They needed at least some skilled big players to clear space for their speedy small guys. And they needed a stud d-man who can shove people off the puck and play with an edge like the prongster.

I thought at the start of the year Buffalo would be a great team to watch, but too small and soft to make it all the way.

To reverse this the league would have to do something like make the rink size bigger like europe, to give the smaller guys more room to zip around in without being bodied by the big dudes!

At June 9, 2007 at 1:10 p.m. , Blogger Zanstorm said...

I guess I'm not translating Buffalo's woes to their lack of size. They were not playing all that well against the Rangers in round 2 either but still had enough to beat them.
Had the Wings had guys like Bert, Lang, Samuelsson, Draper, and Maltby rolling, the Ducks would never have beat them.
To me it seems this opinion of modelling after the Ducks is formed in hindsight (?) when so may other things happened for them to win the cup in the first place.
Does that make any sense? I just woke up.

At June 9, 2007 at 2:10 p.m. , Blogger Zanstorm said...

I think Muckler agrees:
''I don't believe there will be too many changes,'' said Muckler. ''I think we have the ability to get better from within and everyone just needs to play a little better.''

Or, a LOT better.


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Waiting For Stanley was created in June 2006.