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10-19-2012, 01:42 PM
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Speed isn't an issue in the offensive game. Where it comes into play is the transition and backchecking and defense in your own zone. There is a certain minimal level you need to at least be minimally effective in those roles without creating a mess. Ilari by most reports just didn't have that minimal level. The larger ice surfaces in the European game make for a much slower pace where high-skill, low-speed players are able to maximize their talents without being exposed to the same degree. That's why you see many players excel over there who just aren't quite up to snuff here. Alexei Morozov, Igor Grigorenko, Ilari Filppula, Fabian Brunnstrom, Pavel Brendl.....all examples of players who have NHL caliber skills but lack just enough speed that they can't quite make it happen in the smaller rinks and faster paced NHL game. Scouts can tell whether a guy is ready for NHL speed or not, that's what they are paid for. Ilari never got a crack in Detroit because they signed him knowing he wasn't an NHL level skater but hoping that over the course of a season he might develop into enough of one under their care to at least be Hulder-type fringe level skater but it just never happened.

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