Sabres can not use the forecheck as the forwards are to small. Footspead along with poke check's just will not cut it.
Actually my experience is different. I have founde that size is not the predominant factor... it's speed. I've run it with small quick forwards and it works great..... (HS/AA Tier II) I have found that any defenseman.... even Norris winners ... will cough up the puck if you take away their space and comfort zone.
I don't use thunderous hits to separate the man from the puck, we teach taking the proper angle and eliminating offensive options which leads to them panicing with the puck.