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Old
07-02-2012, 02:32 PM
  #1
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Team Toughness

With only a day into free agency, we have lost a significant amount of the toughness from the roster. While we may have improved as a team either offensively or defensively from our acquisitions, the loss of Carkner, Konopka and Foligno has certainly created a bit of a toughness void that needs to be addressed.

Currently we are left with only three truly tough players in Neil, Smith and Cowen and a few more physical players in Lattendresse, Methot and Greening. It will be interesting to see which players are promoted internally to fill the toughness void.

We have a few physical and gritty players in Zibanejad, Noesen, O'Brien and Stone. Then we have a few tough and nasty players in Gryba, Blood, Borowiecki, Dziurzynski and Kramer.

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07-02-2012, 02:34 PM
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Carkner and Konopka didn't even combine for a full seasons worth of games.

We'll be fine.

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07-02-2012, 02:39 PM
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I think the young guys will address this down the line, but it takes a few years before that happens, they're still kids really, and we could be pushed around until that happens. I like Methot and Lundin, they'll add some physicality I hope. Not sure who will help Neil with keeping other teams honest - that's more a concern for me than # of hits. I like Smith, but he's a middleweight.

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07-02-2012, 02:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smeddy View Post
Carkner and Konopka didn't even combine for a full seasons worth of games.

We'll be fine.
This. Methot should replace Foligno minus the dumb penalty. Or else Greening can try to fill in.

Oh ye and someone this morning told me Cowen was soft

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07-02-2012, 02:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smeddy View Post
Carkner and Konopka didn't even combine for a full seasons worth of games.

We'll be fine.
Best response is first response.

Agree 1000%.

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07-02-2012, 02:43 PM
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Gil Gunderson
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Don't really care about losing toughness from Carkner and Konopka. Foligno is different.

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07-02-2012, 02:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruiser View Post
With only a day into free agency, we have lost a significant amount of the toughness from the roster. While we may have improved as a team either offensively or defensively from our acquisitions, the loss of Carkner, Konopka and Foligno has certainly created a bit of a toughness void that needs to be addressed.

Currently we are left with only three truly tough players in Neil, Smith and Cowen and a few more physical players in Lattendresse, Methot and Greening. It will be interesting to see which players are promoted internally to fill the toughness void.

We have a few physical and gritty players in Zibanejad, Noesen, O'Brien and Stone. Then we have a few tough and nasty players in Gryba, Blood, Borowiecki, Dziurzynski and Kramer.
It seems to me that you are demonstrating quite well that the organization is well positioned here.

Besides just fighting toughness though, there is a plentiful pool of prospects developing with a style quite different from many skill prospects of the past we've had.

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07-02-2012, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by thinkwild View Post
It seems to me that you are demonstrating quite well that the organization is well positioned here.

Besides just fighting toughness though, there is a plentiful pool of prospects developing with a style quite different from many skill prospects of the past we've had.
Ya the organization definitely has some players in the system that could help fill the toughness void. As I said in the opening post, it will be interesting to see which players are promoted internally.

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07-02-2012, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Smeddy View Post
Carkner and Konopka didn't even combine for a full seasons worth of games.

We'll be fine.
It is surprising how few posters on hfboards actually understand the value of toughness in hockey. Most people don't understand the value of an enforcer until they don't have one on the roster. Look at Edmonton this year, they lacked toughness and that in turn put their skilled players at risk. The sens will be icing a younger roster with a bunch of rookies over the next few years, it will be important that those players have sufficient amount of protection.

Also the last two teams that won the cup, Boston and LA, were both very tough teams who played a very physical game. The sens could benefit from emulating those teams by having more players on the roster who are willing to finish their checks on a consistent basis and are not afraid to rough it up or fight opposing players.

Now with that stated, we needed to improve our overall skill level. While Carkner and Konopka provided adequate toughness to the roster, Both were lacking in skill and mobility. For one, while they were both tough, neither were very effective at making big thunderous hits like Neil. Their loss, along with the loss of Foligno, has in fact created a toughness void on the roster. However this has also provided an opportunity to replace Konopka and Carkner's toughness with some of our prospects who are tough but also have more skill or potential. We are in a good situation because he have a handful of physical prospects and another handful of nasty prospects that are close to making the jump to becoming NHL players. It will be interesting to see which one's end up filling the toughness void.

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07-02-2012, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Bruiser View Post
It is surprising how few posters on hfboards actually understand the value of toughness in hockey
Really? I feel EXACTLY the opposite. People seem to over-value toughness up the ****ing wazoo not only on these boards but in the general public. We don't need goons running around. We need capable hockey players. If we can get a player who can play the game at a high level of play while playing with an edge or grit, then great! But I'll be damned if people think going out and getting a Colton Orr is a good thing. Now, I realize that is a bad analogy as Carkner was a capable bottom pairing or #7 D-man, but we sure as hell weren't going to lock him up for 3 years. He was nothing other than a short term solution. He's gone. Move on.

Zenon Konopka is tedious. We have enough bottom 6 forwards who are younger with more potential upside and are already more capable than Konopka ever was here. I liked the guy but he clearly wasn't a part of this team's future plans. Why Konopka is brought up, I don't even know. 75% of the guy's fights was a bear-hugging match anyways.

Foligno had grit and I'm sad to see him go for more than that reason, but he was expendable given the circumstances and we addressed a need on the back-end. I haven't watched a whole lot of Marc Methot but he can lay the body. He sounds like he plays with an edge from what I can gather so, "tomato, tomato".

We have players on this team who provide toughness AND can play valuable minutes of hockey night-in and night-out. Chris Neil and Zack Smith come to mind. Why do we need fighters? Why do we need an excessive amount of "toughness"? Fighting is barely even relevant in today's game. Get real players and win games.

I've seen people ranting and raving about how important toughness is and it's pretty ridiculous.

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07-02-2012, 03:26 PM
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We certainly lost press box toughness.

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07-02-2012, 03:29 PM
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We had 6 guys that broke 100 hits this season. Guess how many we lost?

1: Chris Neil - 271
2: Jared Cowen - 217
3: Nick Folingo - 196
4: Colin Greening - 189
5: Zack Smith - 168
6: Chris Phillips - 134

Fights. 53 for the season.

Zenon Konopka 18
Chris Neil 10
Zack Smith 8
Colin Greening 4
Matt Carkner 3
Nick Foligno 3
Jared Cowen 2
Jesse Winchester2
Sergei Gonchar 1
Brian Lee 1
Kyle Turris 1


So we lost 18ZK 3MC 3NF and 2 for JW and 1 for BL
27 of 53.

So of all the fights we had, 50% belonged to the the players that left.

But ask yourself this. Were Konopkas fight needed? I would say 15 of the 18 were not needed. They were the staged fights that are on the way out of hockey. Neil fights when it is necessary. Foligno fought when he had to answer the bell on hits he made that were considered dirty by the other teams.

Did we lose some toughness? Yes. Are we soft? No.

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07-02-2012, 03:35 PM
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I feel as though some people are forgetting that the guy we just traded Foligno for (Marc Methot) led the Blue Jackets's entire blueline in hits despite only playing 46 games last season. Led the 'Jackets blueline in hits in 2010-11, as well. And in 2009-10.

Sure, we lost some toughness, but we sure as hell gained some toughness, as well...

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07-02-2012, 03:36 PM
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Without toughness you become the Buffalo Sabres and get your star player destroyed by Lucic.

That never would have happened to us with Carkner on the ice. Neil would stand up for us, but Lucic is too big for Neil. Carks is the only one to "deter" him in the first place. Don't forget we play in a division with the Bruins.

We were one of the only teams to match them or stand up to them last year, and now were not

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07-02-2012, 03:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by derriko View Post
Without toughness you become the Buffalo Sabres and get your star player destroyed by Lucic.

That never would have happened to us with Carkner on the ice. Neil would stand up for us, but Lucic is too big for Neil. Carks is the only one to "deter" him in the first place. Don't forget we play in a division with the Bruins.

We were one of the only teams to match them or stand up to them last year, and now were not
Carkner played 29 games last year. How exactly did we manage in the other 53 games?

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07-02-2012, 03:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by derriko View Post
Without toughness you become the Buffalo Sabres and get your star player destroyed by Lucic.

That never would have happened to us with Carkner on the ice. Neil would stand up for us, but Lucic is too big for Neil. Carks is the only one to "deter" him in the first place. Don't forget we play in a division with the Bruins.

We were one of the only teams to match them or stand up to them last year, and now were not
You have no idea about that yet. Unless you're counting all those important regular season games played in July.

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07-02-2012, 03:39 PM
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Toughness is certainly important. Specifically overall team toughness. The loss of Carkner and Konopka won't have as much of an impact as some think though, due to their very limited playing time.

Defensive toughness is improved IMO. Methot, Boro, and a more experienced Cowen.

Foligno is a bit of a loss, but his contributions will be easily handled by the young players coming up. Murray has drafted a good deal of big, physical players. I think the team dynamic in Ottawa started to reflect that last year, and will continue to do so going forward.

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07-02-2012, 03:41 PM
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God forbid we don't have Konopka to wrestle our opponents against the boards...

Toughness is great, but players who are only there to fight are useless to me.

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07-02-2012, 03:41 PM
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Were not the big bad Bruins, and were not the Buffalo Sabres, we have normal team toughness, nothing wrong with that. Neil, Smith, Cowen, and Methot alone makes us a perfectly capable team. Our entire team identity has never been about being a bunch of bruisers or goons anyway, were looking to be a skilled, faster, high hockey IQ team.

Might be a reason why we are not hanging onto tunnel vision guys like Foligno and Fisher, and even I was a big Fisher fan.

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07-02-2012, 03:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by derriko View Post
Without toughness you become the Buffalo Sabres and get your star player destroyed by Lucic.

That never would have happened to us with Carkner on the ice. Neil would stand up for us, but Lucic is too big for Neil. Carks is the only one to "deter" him in the first place. Don't forget we play in a division with the Bruins.

We were one of the only teams to match them or stand up to them last year, and now were not
Agreed with this post and this thread. The loss of toughness is a real concern and I'm hoping it won't rear it's head too early in the season. Hopefully Borocop makes the team and him and a couple other prospects do their part.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BonkTastic View Post
I feel as though some people are forgetting that the guy we just traded Foligno for (Marc Methot) led the Blue Jackets's entire blueline in hits despite only playing 46 games last season. Led the 'Jackets blueline in hits in 2010-11, as well. And in 2009-10.

Sure, we lost some toughness, but we sure as hell gained some toughness, as well...
When you compare Methot to Kuba in terms of toughness... it's really night and day. Methot is a big guy who will throw the weight around on our blueline. Would be nice to even separate him, Phillips and Cowen, to enable us to have hard hitting d-men on each pairing.

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07-02-2012, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Expert View Post
When you compare Methot to Kuba in terms of toughness... it's really night and day. Methot is a big guy who will throw the weight around on our blueline. Would be nice to even separate him, Phillips and Cowen, to enable us to have hard hitting d-men on each pairing.
Did... did we just agree on something?

Hi-five!

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07-02-2012, 03:49 PM
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Team toughness can be a very valuable attribute to any team. The last two Stanley Cup winners, Boston and LA, we both very tough and physical teams. Their toughness and physicality played a major role in their success in the playoffs which lead to them each winning a cup. Having a lot of players who are willing to stand up for one another and fight to defend their team mates if necessary helps to establish the team dynamic. A big part of the sens success this season was the fact that the sens started standing up for one another. Carkner and Konopka played a major role in establishing that dynamic on this team, along with Neil, Smith Cowen and most likely MacLean.

With that stated I do agree that their isn't really a need for a pure enforcer any more. There are very few pure enforcers in the league any more, that coupled with the instigator rule makes having a pure enforcer to be a waste of a roster spot. Now while pure enforcers are a waste of a roster spot, fighters who can actually play are very valuable. Neil is one of our most important players on the team because he is a nasty player who is very physical (always making huge hits and roughing up opposing players), he always defends his team mates and will take on all comers regardless of size or fighting ability and he can actually play the game and contribute offensively.

We could use more players like Neil, who are truly tough to play against, not less. Fortunately we have a few players in the system that are similar kinds of players to Neil. If we look simply at the nasty players I mentioned Gryba, Borowiecki, Blood, Dziurzynski and Kramer) none of those players would be considered pure enforcers. All are big hitters and all can contribute either offensively and/or defensively. We are actually in a good position because the toughness that we lost from losing Carkner and Konopka can actually be replaced by players in the system that can contribute in more ways that just toughness.

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07-02-2012, 03:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BonkTastic View Post
I feel as though some people are forgetting that the guy we just traded Foligno for (Marc Methot) led the Blue Jackets's entire blueline in hits despite only playing 46 games last season. Led the 'Jackets blueline in hits in 2010-11, as well. And in 2009-10.

Sure, we lost some toughness, but we sure as hell gained some toughness, as well...
I mentioned him in my opening post. Both Methot and Lattendresse are physical players, so they do add to the overall toughness of the roster.

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07-02-2012, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by thinkwild View Post
It seems to me that you are demonstrating quite well that the organization is well positioned here.

Besides just fighting toughness though, there is a plentiful pool of prospects developing with a style quite different from many skill prospects of the past we've had.
This is the way I see it too. There is a rather large pool,of prospects ready to jump up, the type of prospects we haven't seen yet in our past history, large, tough and skilled. It will be interesting for sure to watch the progression, which ones will grab the opportunity. It's healthy.

We are a fickle bunch, we have a hard time seeing players from the bottom or middle of the roster leave but we like to pencil in many of the kids. It can't be both.

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07-02-2012, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Bruiser View Post
We could use more players like Neil, who are truly tough to play against, not less. Fortunately we have a few players in the system that are similar kinds of players to Neil. If we look simply at the nasty players I mentioned Gryba, Borowiecki, Blood, Dziurzynski and Kramer) none of those players would be considered pure enforcers. All are big hitters and all can contribute either offensively and/or defensively. We are actually in a good position because the toughness that we lost from losing Carkner and Konopka can actually be replaced by players in the system that can contribute in more ways that just toughness.
I agree with your premise. I like the tough play as much as the next guy, I think Murray does too. There will be more than enough toughness coming up through the ranks. Which ones will seize the opportunity, I love watching internal competition from the kids as much as I do against other teams.

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