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06-09-2004, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Oilers Chick
With all due respect (and respect to Jessiman, a player who I love immensely), Parise's "hype" is certainly justified. While many will question his size, his skill level and "head for the game" is impecable. I saw well over 100 NCAA games this past season and nearly all of the current prospects play at one point or another, and the thing I have to say is that there were few, if any players who displayed the sheer skill and smarts that Parise did. This guy wasn't great, he was exceptional. I found it absolutely mind-boggling how so many teams passed on him in the draft last summer. While size is important, the way a player THINKS and SEES the game is equally, if not more important. Furthermore, it's not something that can be simply taught. It's either you have it or you don't and Parise definitely has it.
No doubting his skills and talent, but size is a huge concern. I look at guys like Kariya and Lafontaine and other immensly skilled players whose careers as a whole {while dazzling} are a laundry list of injuries that eventually overtake that huge skill level.

That of course is not meant to deny Zach's amazing skill level, but rather pointing to the history of this league and that despite their high skill levels, smaller players are still a huge gamble. Even when surrounded by big boys, the self life of many smaller players is a very scary thought for a team. In Zach's case we're not even talking about a kid who is 5'11, 190. We're talking about a kid {whom I've met a few times} that couldn't be a shade over 5'9 {if even} and more than 180 pounds.

And while we can point to a St. Louis as a player who made it, we also must look at some of the bigger boys he played against and what type of player it was that ultimately won them a cup {a bigger, less skilled guy}.

I love smaller players during the regular season, but I'll be honest when I say that I still haven't seen a stanley cup team that hasn't had to ride their bigger, stronger players in the playoffs.

And if the NHL continues to become a more crowded game, you're going to see more and more difficulties for the smaller guys.

Does that mean Parise isn't good? Not by a long shot, but it does give an insight into why some teams passed on him. NJ took him and he should be a good player for them, but NJ also found out this past postseason that they were dangerously undersized from years of taking the highly skilled, though dimunitive players like Gomez, Rafalski, Elias, etc.

Call me old school, but I still believe that difference between a cup winner and a cup contender is size. That's not to say skill and smaller players aren't cornerstones, but if you can take a shot at a kid with size and skill {Jessiman, Horton, etc.} that most teams will do that.

Having said that, I think Parise will have a nice, long career. But I don't think the Rangers exactly are going to be crying if Jessiman develops to his skill level as well. It'll just likely take much longer.

Oliershick, as someone else who saw a ton of hockey games. I'm curious as to your thoughts on Stafford, Thelen and O'Neil. I'd be interested in comparing notes.

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