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The Impact of Physical Play

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04-16-2007, 11:41 AM
  #1
Forechecker
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The Impact of Physical Play

I've seen a variation on this story at a number of places, and wanted to know what you all thought about it. The premise is that even though ATL is out hitting the NYR, they are doing so at the expense of their own play. So much so that on the official stat sheet, the NYR have 4 giveways to ATLs 22! And obviously the series tally shows the real impact as well. The focus on ATL trying to rough up on boys is that their d-men are often out of position, and the NYR had a numer of odd-man rushes and breakaways that only the stellar play of Hedberg kept the game close. Does Hartley keep the pedal to the metal having his boys throw their bodies around? Does he look at the patience of the NYR and their lack of retaliation and revise his game plan?

My thoughts are: if he keeps the hitting up, we win in four. There is no way his players can keep that up on back-to-back nights, especially since we get the last change. If he mixes things up a bit, we split in NYC, and win in 5.

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04-16-2007, 11:46 AM
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zestystrat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forechecker View Post
I've seen a variation on this story at a number of places, and wanted to know what you all thought about it. The premise is that even though ATL is out hitting the NYR, they are doing so at the expense of their own play. So much so that on the official stat sheet, the NYR have 4 giveways to ATLs 22! And obviously the series tally shows the real impact as well. The focus on ATL trying to rough up on boys is that their d-men are often out of position, and the NYR had a numer of odd-man rushes and breakaways that only the stellar play of Hedberg kept the game close. Does Hartley keep the pedal to the metal having his boys throw their bodies around? Does he look at the patience of the NYR and their lack of retaliation and revise his game plan?

My thoughts are: if he keeps the hitting up, we win in four. There is no way his players can keep that up on back-to-back nights, especially since we get the last change. If he mixes things up a bit, we split in NYC, and win in 5.
I just posted this thought on the Thrasher board I'll quote myself:

"...Iíd worry less about being uber-physical and more about playing the puck.

It seems to me that there is way too much emphasis on finishing the checks and less about being out of position and playing the puck. NYR are taking advantage of that.

I understand the mindset tho: hit them to create turnovers, have them looking for the hits instead of the play, make them take revenge penalties, get them off their game and wear them down over the course of 7 games Ė not a new plan.

With guys like Avery, it seemed like a good plan. Hell, even with the team that was on the ice in November itís a good plan. But letís face it the NYR have been very disciplined Ė more so than anyone would have thought, even us NYR fans.

Itís time to make some subtle changes in that plan before its 3-0. Hartley is a stud of a coach, he needs to figure it out."

If they can't come up with a new plan, continue with this one AND the NYR stay disciplined, this could go the same as it has the last 2 games.

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04-16-2007, 12:27 PM
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pld459666
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I like the physical play as much as the next guy, but if guys are hitting just to hit then there's no way that that is going to serve it's purpose.

What you want from your forwards is to punish the defence in the opposing teams zone on the forecheck. It wears on the defence and hopefully slows them down, wears them out so that later in games you force them with your presence into turnovers. The give-away by Girardi in game one was a good example of that.

With that said, Atlanta's defence should hold off on hitting anyone until the Rangers enter Atlanta's defensive zone. There's less of a chance that they will be that out of position that the Rangers can take advantage of.

We have Thrashers defenceman initiating contact in the neutral zone which, while taking out the Rangers player, usually takes them out of position as well.

Not only that, and I'm very guilty of this, but toughness is a 2 way street. You can be tough and initiate contact all game long, but you can be just as tough by absorbing that punsihment and continue to play hard and not get thrown off your game by the constant contact. The Rangers are showing they have the physical and mental toughness to withstand the the physicality of the Thrashers and still do what needs to be done to win games.

I've not given this team enough credit in that regars and it's time I start doing that.

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04-16-2007, 12:53 PM
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Tomas Sandstrom 28
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I think its a combination of all things mentioned. Atlanta, particularly their D are looking to hit our guys into next week, and have vacated their positions to do so. The rangers have also done an excellent job of taking the hit to make the play, and have not backed down one bit.

As mentioned in the first post we have also done an exceptional job of puck control which will skew the hitting numbers a bit for atlanta (ie they are hitting us because we have the puck, not vice versa)

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04-16-2007, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pld459666 View Post

I've not given this team enough credit in that regars and it's time I start doing that.

I've been guilty of the same thing. I think trading for Avery was the moment this team changed its image. At around the same time Colton Orr started to play on a nightly basis I took a look at our teams toughness and realized we were one of the toughest teams in the East. Hollweg, Orr, Avery, Shanny etc. Not just guys who are willing to fight but guys I consider tough by the way they play like Ortmeyer, Callahan, Toots etc. I would compare our overall team toughness with any team in the east by the end of the season. In this series I think they've shown alot of toughness in regards to their willingness to take a hit to make the play.

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04-16-2007, 01:14 PM
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Physical play is good and all and would work against most teams, but the Rangers have a lot of size, and the guys who arnt big have no problem with getting hit...

Rozy, Malik, Girardi, Mara, Tyutin. Those 5 all have very good size and/or don't have a huge issue getting hit.


Heck, Shanahan and Jagr are the best examples. Jagr is so big it is nearly impossible to knock him down on a hit and Shanahan doesn't have an issue at all. Rangers are just a team that doesn't have an issue with physical play. Even the smaller guys like Avery and Callahan clearly have no issue.

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04-16-2007, 01:21 PM
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giacomin1
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The only problem I have with us taking all these hits without much retaliation is that Avery seems to be getting beat up and it's only two games in. If this keeps up, he or someone else is going to get hurt or be too banged up to play effectively.

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04-16-2007, 01:26 PM
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TomLaidlaw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giacomin1 View Post
The only problem I have with us taking all these hits without much retaliation is that Avery seems to be getting beat up and it's only two games in. If this keeps up, he or someone else is going to get hurt or be too banged up to play effectively.
That concerns me as well. These hits may have a residual effect down the road if we advance deeper into the playoffs. I'll worry about that later though, right now we have to do whatever it takes to get through Atlanta, if that means absorbing alot of hits to make plays then so be it.

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04-16-2007, 01:37 PM
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ogie
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A coach i had way way back in the day use to say. "if you're always playing the body when are you playing the puck?" And that is exactly what is happening to Atlanta.

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04-16-2007, 01:57 PM
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More of a reason to finish the series as quick as possible... Avoid any residual effect.

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04-16-2007, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giacomin1 View Post
The only problem I have with us taking all these hits without much retaliation is that Avery seems to be getting beat up and it's only two games in. If this keeps up, he or someone else is going to get hurt or be too banged up to play effectively.
i think there's 2 other ways to look at this:

you hope that the rangers finish off atlanta in 4 so that the guys like avery who are getting the most poundings can have sufficient time to rest for the next round.

the other is, atlanta is a naturally big team. i don't have stats in front of me so i can't tell you if they're the biggest from the east in the postseason but i wouldn't be shocked if they are. maybe someone else can for me?

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04-16-2007, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by ogie View Post
A coach i had way way back in the day use to say. "if you're always playing the body when are you playing the puck?" And that is exactly what is happening to Atlanta.
Which is also a sign of inexperience

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04-16-2007, 02:13 PM
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Good article about this in the News. Seems like the team is taking the same attitude it's coach is.

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04-16-2007, 02:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomLaidlaw View Post
That concerns me as well. These hits may have a residual effect down the road if we advance deeper into the playoffs. I'll worry about that later though, right now we have to do whatever it takes to get through Atlanta, if that means absorbing alot of hits to make plays then so be it.
Sometimes giving a hit can be just as hard as taking a hit. How often do you see the giver fall to the ice but the receiver stay standing? If you continue to take the body, but get out-shot 38 - 27 on a regular basis, you are asking a lot of your goalie, and will be missing opportunities in your opponent's end. Personally, I hope they continue trying to hit everything that moves tomorrow night, so that they're exhausted on Wednesday.

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04-16-2007, 03:07 PM
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Most of the periods that Atlanta gets 10-12-15 hits in, NY gets off about the same amount of shots on goal. While it sucks to get hit and hurt, NY has shown that they can still make the play as they get hit, and the hitting team is rarely in possesion of the puck. NY needs to keep doing what their doing, play smart hockey, and let Atlanta fall apart.

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04-16-2007, 04:05 PM
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the rangers willingly taking the hit to make the play is sompn i have liked from this team for the last 2 years. i go back to a game last year against the flyers where for example brashear went at kaspar. kaspar got brashear to take a stupid penalty and the rangers won the game.

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04-16-2007, 05:35 PM
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I'm all for hitting and would love to see the Rangers hit more. On the other hand, the Rangers forwards are hardly smurfs and the hits haven't seemed to throw them off the game. To their credit, except for the crap at the end of the last game, the Thrashers (unlike most Flyer teams) have kept the sticks and elbows down and I haven't seen too many hits from behind. Thats the stuff that has to be answered too. I expect to see the Rangers come out hitting tomorrow nite at the same time I think the Thrashers are going to have to pick their spots better cause right now they are running around looking for the hit and forgetting to play the game.

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04-16-2007, 05:36 PM
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mattyd99
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It's funny seeing this thread when you think back of all the threads and posts of how this team needed toughness and now people are saying we're the toughest team in the East.

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04-17-2007, 10:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giacomin1 View Post
The only problem I have with us taking all these hits without much retaliation is that Avery seems to be getting beat up and it's only two games in. If this keeps up, he or someone else is going to get hurt or be too banged up to play effectively.
While that may be a concern, it's exactly the reason the Rangers have played so well since Avery has come aboard. Avery came here with a rep for being undisciplined. IMHO, he has shown me tremendous discipline and a willingness to take a beating for the sake of the team. I've been surprised on a number of occasions that he refrained from retaliation. He is so inside the other team's mind they are going out of their way to "take care of him".

Sure, he's taken a few penalties, but I think every one of them has been well worth it. Every time he skates near the goalie now, he's got the d-men watching him. I've been watching the Rangers for decades and I don't recall any player having his impact in so short a time. Mr. Avery may look beat up, and he may feel a little sore, but that's his contribution to the chemistry of this team and he sure looks like he's having a blast.

By the way, I recall reading somewhere he's played the most games of any player this season in the NHL. I don't know if that's fact, but he is durable.

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04-17-2007, 02:05 PM
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the impact of physical play is whether or not rangers stick to their guns or instead get frustrated and thrown off their game by the hits. the team just needs to stick to their game, as its obvious atlanta is having a hard time delivering on their plan - whatever it is.

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04-17-2007, 02:15 PM
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The Rangers are more talented...

and deep than the Thrashers - they need to play physical to gain an edge. Looking at the giveaway stats do not tell the entire story (Thrashers lead the series 23-16 in takeaways, which stems from their pressure). Further, when watching the games, you see the Thrashers beating the Rangers to the puck when they play that high-intensity type of game. And with that, both games came down to a goalie being out of the net and a margin of one goal. If the Thrashers do not play high-intensity hockey and pressure the Rangers, the games, I don't think, would not be as close.

As for the Rangers - do they need to play that type of game? Obviously they haven't needed to as they've been able to hold on and the puck has been stopping at Lundqvist. Will they need to raise their intensity level and be more aggressive and guys who normally do not hit will have to hit? I think to get somewhere in these playoffs, that's inevitable.

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04-21-2007, 03:53 PM
  #22
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Physical play is huge in the playoffs. The only problem is you have to be physical, yet smart and good at the same time. A team that's just running around is not going to be successful. The most physical part however of the playoffs, is protecting your goalie and roughing the opposition up in front, along with sticking up for your guys intelligently

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