I'm not very good at this thread starting thing. But here goes...
There is much discussion the Oilers and other teams must be big to compete for the Cup. A quick scan of today's playoff scoring results have a number of smaller, skill players leading the way for their teams. I recognize size is valuable in today's game but I ask you should it be at the expense of talented smaller players?
Here is a list of some of the playoff's little big men scoring and listed with them are the results of some of their prominent bigger teammates. What do you think?
Does size really matter?
leading scorer - Sergei Samsonov (2g 5a 7pts).
700 pound line - Thorton, Murray Knuble (4g 1a 5 pts).
leading scorer - Saku Koivu (2g 6a 8pts).
This battle of big versus small saw Koivu and company come out on top. Koivu was spectacular. Skill, grit, leadership.
leading scorer - Scott Gomez (0g 6a 6pts).
Third in scoring - Brian Gionta (2g 3a 5pts).
Victor Kozlov (2gp 0g 0a 0pts).
second leading scorer - Martin St. Louis (4g 1a 5pts).
Vincent Lecavalier (aka Michael Jordan) (0g 0a 0pts).
leading scorer - Markus Naslund (2g 5a 7pts).
second leading scorer - Brendan Morrison (2g 3a 5pts).
Trevor Linden (0g 0a 0pts).
Todd Bertuzzi (sorry, couldn't resist) (0g 0a 0pts).
leading scorer - Mike Sillinger (3g 1a 4pts).
second leading scorer - Doug Weight (2g 1a 3pts).
Keith Tkachuk (0g 2a 2pts).
Chris Pronger (0g 1a 1pt).
second leading scorer - Greg Johnson (1g 2a 3pts).
David Legwand (1g 0a 1pt).
New York Islanders
Second leading scorer - Mark Parrish (1g 2a 3pts).
Alexie Yashin (0g 1a 1pt).
Second leading scorer - Mathieu Schneider (1g 2a 3pts).
I am not totally sure that all the situations are accurate with Thornton probably more suited to IR than a regular shift, and he is the key to that line.
Koivu and the Canadiens were small but they now have some forwards with a bit of size...Zednik, Ward, Ryder, Kovalev , Ryder is the smallest at 6'0 and 196. The only small forwards are Koivu, and Perreault who is 5'11 and 184.
There are going to be some small guys that excel pointwise because that is what they bring to the game, but if you have very little size then you are going to get dominated physically.
Slats, these were just random, general musings from looking at yesterday's stats sheet. I realize Thorton was hurt and thus ineffective. However everything I saw or read about the Habs - Bruins series was based on a perceived battle of big versus small. Funny but that was the story angle I heard most frequently.
Obviously teams need a balance lineup of size and skill to compete. But for every smallish skill player there are also strong character players short of six feet who survive on tough, aggressive play. Guys like Rob DiMaio, Mike Keane, (gulp) Darcy Tucker, and Theo Fleury play with more grit and physical play than most. All of these guys mentioned have carved out long, successful careers.
I just find it interesting to see unheralded players like Martin St. Louis struggle to make NHL rosters and finally break through when given a chance. And nice to see this success continue into the playoffs. And by contrast, curious to see the golden boy Vincent Lecavalier not step up despite superior physical characteristics.
Sometimes the measure of a man can't be seen and judged on physical attributes.
I guess the main thing to note here (in the Boston series) is that the 700 lb drew Souray's pairing while Samsonov-Bergeron-Nylander took the 2nd pairing. Not only that, but Samsonov's play on the puck is that of a 250 lb monster. That guy is so strong on the puck!!
As for the Big vs. Little thing, look at Philly vs. New Jersey too.
I think that way too much is made about size. Sure, for some people crashing and banging, and getting in front of the net is part of their games, but there are other ways to play. Year after year, we have tiny guys (from Kariya to Comrie to St.Louis) putting up big numbers, and every year you have people saying about what an enigma the guy is for being able to perform when so small. I'm not saying that big guys aren't useful, but I for one would take St.louis over almost any big guy outside of Iginla or Forsberg (I'm probably missing a few, but you get my point).