Thread: Team toughness
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10-17-2013, 03:44 PM
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Team grit, toughness, and willingness to create an identity and stand up for each other is one of the roster's biggest weaknesses as currently constructed. Given our skill set, we need to be bigger and tougher to compete. We need to be tougher for opponents to play against.

In 2011-2012 we had Prust, Rupp, Bickel, Dubi, and to an extent Sauer and Avery willing to go to war for their team. And you know what, with that personnel Tort's created a team that was better than the sum of its parts. They stood up for themselves and each other, and forced opponents to match their intensity level. They dictated play, and along with our top 6 forwards, top 4 D, and number 1 goalie, we found success this organization hasn't seen in years. The rest of the team played bigger and more confident hockey; Boyle, Cally, Fedotenko, Girardi, McD, DZ and co all played with more of an edge knowing that any confrontation would be met with five blue jerseys.

Fast forward to today. Since Asham was waived, Dorsett is the only SOB willing to initiate out there. He's a valuable piece, but he doesn't scare anyone. Look at the liberties other teams are taking out there. Call the Nash and Stepan hits whatever you like, but if Gaborik and Anisimov were hit up high and injured you bet your ass 8, 17, 71, or really anyone for that matter, would jump in to defend. And it's not only about retaliating after the fact; it's drawing a line and setting a precedent for your opponents to respect or suffer the consequences.

The solution is not nearly as out of reach as it seems. I firmly believe we would be a much tougher hockey club to face if we called up Michael Haley and traded one of our FA's in a package for a tough top-9 Horton, Bickell, Clowe, Iginla type.

Haley, Dorsett, 20 or so games of Falk, Boyle, Callahan, and a Steve Ott type changes the dynamic of this roster.

If the rest of our lineup, particularly our D, follows suit and elevates their physical game we have the personnel to be just fine.

Here's my lines when healthy:

Hagelin Stepan Nash
Richards Brassard Callahan
XXX Miller Zuccarello
Haley Moore/Boyle Dorsett

Pouliot, Pyatt

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