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Physical Play: Taking It Up A Notch?

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Old
08-19-2009, 06:18 PM
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wolfgaze
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Physical Play: Taking It Up A Notch?

I've seen a few Tortorella quotes this off-season that indicate he's going to demand the players play a more physical game and finish their checks (more so than ever before)... This is music to my ears, however:

Do you think we'll actually see a noticeable difference out on the ice?

I'm a big proponent of physical play and I hate when people make excuses for certain players who play a "soft" game by saying "That's just not his style of play"... To me it's not a player attribute but a game strategy and I think we'll be the benefactor of a lot of opportunistic turnovers should our players start finishing their checks (all of 'em) more frequently... To me it's going to be a key in Tortorella's system, tight forechecking and hitting frequently.... Make the defenseman move the puck hastily

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08-19-2009, 06:33 PM
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Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, Sean Avery, Chris Drury, Chris Higgins, Donald Brashear, and Marc Staal all hit pretty well. I am sure Brian Boyle will be encouraged to use his body much more considering his size and while Voros sucks at it he tries to be physical. This team can and most likely will be more physical than they have been in recent memory. If Sather can reel in a guy like Francis Bouillon that would be huge.

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08-19-2009, 08:19 PM
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What is the fascination with Tortorella? Every thread is he is a Tortorella kind of player or Tortorella system ect.. He isn't going to magically change players games and make them something they aren't. We are a soft team imo up front with only 3/9 in our top 9 being able to take the body and two of those 3 are under 6ft tall. On defense Staal and Girardi and then no one else.

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08-19-2009, 08:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sayba View Post
What is the fascination with Tortorella? Every thread is he is a Tortorella kind of player or Tortorella system ect.. He isn't going to magically change players games and make them something they aren't. We are a soft team imo up front with only 3/9 in our top 9 being able to take the body and two of those 3 are under 6ft tall. On defense Staal and Girardi and then no one else.
I'm not sure how you would characterize this as a "fascination"... A new coach has taken the reins and we all know his coaching style is "my way or the highway"... He's going to demand (force) the players to play a particular way and he's not afraid of voicing that to the media... And with the roster turnover we've had, it's like he's working with a clean slate, which makes implementing his system easier.

A player who finishes his checks isn't something you are or arent... It's something any player can do out on the ice at the directive of that player's coaching staff...

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08-19-2009, 08:34 PM
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This is why they got Prospal. Avery might not handle such a style day in and day out.

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08-19-2009, 08:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sayba View Post
What is the fascination with Tortorella? Every thread is he is a Tortorella kind of player or Tortorella system ect.. He isn't going to magically change players games and make them something they aren't. We are a soft team imo up front with only 3/9 in our top 9 being able to take the body and two of those 3 are under 6ft tall. On defense Staal and Girardi and then no one else.


Torts is getting a lot of credit before we even play a game. He also cost us a few very solid hockey players. We are slightly bigger and more aggressive then last year

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08-19-2009, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by FutureGM97 View Post
Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, Sean Avery, Chris Drury, Chris Higgins, Donald Brashear, and Marc Staal all hit pretty well. I am sure Brian Boyle will be encouraged to use his body much more considering his size and while Voros sucks at it he tries to be physical. This team can and most likely will be more physical than they have been in recent memory. If Sather can reel in a guy like Francis Bouillon that would be huge.
Aha! I caught you. We were playing "which guy doesn't belong" right?

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08-19-2009, 09:09 PM
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trading Korpikoski seems to fly in the face of the team playing a physical brand of hockey. Sjostrom also hit quite few blokes as well.

I am only hoping to see players finish their checks

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08-19-2009, 09:54 PM
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We better score this year and our power play better be good. I don't know what kind of style he plans to play but it will probably be a puck possession style. We also have plenty of players who can kill penalties.

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08-19-2009, 10:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dagoon44 View Post


Torts is getting a lot of credit before we even play a game. He also cost us a few very solid hockey players. We are slightly bigger and more aggressive then last year
Really. Name them?

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08-19-2009, 11:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FutureGM97 View Post
Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, Sean Avery, Chris Drury, Chris Higgins, Donald Brashear, and Marc Staal all hit pretty well. I am sure Brian Boyle will be encouraged to use his body much more considering his size and while Voros sucks at it he tries to be physical. This team can and most likely will be more physical than they have been in recent memory. If Sather can reel in a guy like Francis Bouillon that would be huge.
You might be surprised with Drury. I just went over to NHL.com. Rangers leaders in hits delivered category were Callahan-265, Dubinsky-251, Girardi-207, Staal-189. Notice all the younger guys from last years team--the ones that Tortorella praised the most after we got knocked out of the playoffs. Avery had 45 in 18 games which would be around the 200 range for a full season at that rate.

The lowest totals last year--Drury-42, Zherdev-49, Naslund-55.

Generally I agree with the premise the Rangers should be a bigger and more physical team this year and I like that.

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08-19-2009, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by eco's bones View Post
You might be surprised with Drury. I just went over to NHL.com. Rangers leaders in hits delivered category were Callahan-265, Dubinsky-251, Girardi-207, Staal-189. Notice all the younger guys from last years team--the ones that Tortorella praised the most after we got knocked out of the playoffs. Avery had 45 in 18 games which would be around the 200 range for a full season at that rate.

The lowest totals last year--Drury-42, Zherdev-49, Naslund-55.

Generally I agree with the premise the Rangers should be a bigger and more physical team this year and I like that.
I posted Drury's low hits total about a month after the all-star break and was lambasted by the Druryiacs.

Guy doesn't hit. And it's not as if it's something where you look at the RTS and say "Well, that doesn't seem to make sense based on the games I've watched this season." He really doesn't hit. And MSG is notorious for being rather generous with what they register as a "hit" so everybody should be inflated to a certain degree.

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08-19-2009, 11:42 PM
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No, Drury is largely non-physical, which sucks if he isn't scoring, What we have is many guys who can handle physical play guys like Kotalik and Dubinsky, who guard the puck well, and Callahan and Higgins who outwork/outsmart checkers.

I think our leaders in hits will be Brashear, Girardi, Avery, Anisimov, Staal.

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08-20-2009, 12:37 AM
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Originally Posted by BobMarleyNYR View Post
No, Drury is largely non-physical, which sucks if he isn't scoring, What we have is many guys who can handle physical play guys like Kotalik and Dubinsky, who guard the puck well, and Callahan and Higgins who outwork/outsmart checkers.

I think our leaders in hits will be Brashear, Girardi, Avery, Anisimov, Staal.
Brashear will not play enough to lead the team in hits. Callahan leads the team in hits every year. Staal, and Girardi especially, need to pick up their physical play if they want to take their game's to the next level. Obviously we know Avery hits. Not sure about Anisimov so I'll take your word for it.

The Rangers are still a very soft team overall. They need to get a lot tougher if they want to ever hang with the likes of Philly, Anaheim, Detroit, Pittsburgh and any other elite team in this league.

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08-20-2009, 07:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Great Dubinsky View Post
Really. Name them?
The Entire 4th line. Korpo was traded for a slug. Mara is gone because of him and Nicky Z hated his guts. Please the guy is the coach so you root for him but the hard ass style gets old quick

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08-20-2009, 07:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dagoon44 View Post
The Entire 4th line. Korpo was traded for a slug. Mara is gone because of him and Nicky Z hated his guts. Please the guy is the coach so you root for him but the hard ass style gets old quick
I like Mara, I do, but he's a marginal defenceman. A solid 3rd paring guy that is easily replaceable. As is the WHOLE 4th line.

Korpedo I think we are going to miss. I really do.

As for Zherdev, Jesus Christ himself could be Head COach today and if Z didn't get the money he wanted, he was going to walk. The coach had nothing to do with that decision.

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08-20-2009, 07:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sayba View Post
What is the fascination with Tortorella? Every thread is he is a Tortorella kind of player or Tortorella system ect.. He isn't going to magically change players games and make them something they aren't. We are a soft team imo up front with only 3/9 in our top 9 being able to take the body and two of those 3 are under 6ft tall. On defense Staal and Girardi and then no one else.
I appreciate the fast up-tempo style of hockey more than I appreciate the slowed down version we employed the last 4 years.

As for players on this team that are willing and able to play physical.

Callahan, Dubinsky, Avery, Higgins, Brashear, Boyle. That's half forwards (4 of the top 9). Physical play is very very contagious and while we cannot expect the Linsin's and the Gaboriks and the Prospals to be overly physical EVERY game, Torts style of play alone will dictate that on any given night, the above mentioned 6 players will be joined by 2-3 of the other forwards in being more physical than their history would indicate.

On defence, the only place I need my D to be really physical is in front of Henrik. Being physical in the corners and behind the net usually takes you out of position and I'd rather not have that. That said, I agree, we need a more physical presense back there and we need both Staal and Girardi to be a bit more snarly. We know we will not get that from Redden or Rozy. Finally, if Sauer makes the team and plays 2rd pairing, you can count on him being physical. Gilroy no to much, Potter is a wild card as is the kid from Finland

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08-20-2009, 08:10 AM
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This is an interesting link I found on NHL.com. Tortorella thinks the Rangers are soft thinkers.

http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=479875

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08-20-2009, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by wolfgaze View Post
I've seen a few Tortorella quotes this off-season that indicate he's going to demand the players play a more physical game and finish their checks (more so than ever before)... This is music to my ears, however:

Do you think we'll actually see a noticeable difference out on the ice?

I'm a big proponent of physical play and I hate when people make excuses for certain players who play a "soft" game by saying "That's just not his style of play"... To me it's not a player attribute but a game strategy and I think we'll be the benefactor of a lot of opportunistic turnovers should our players start finishing their checks (all of 'em) more frequently... To me it's going to be a key in Tortorella's system, tight forechecking and hitting frequently.... Make the defenseman move the puck hastily
Hey Wolf...good post. Music to my ears too if he succeds in creating a more physical brand of hockey...but I definately question whether or not if this club has the right components to actually play physical hockey. Hopefully, HOPEFULLY Tortorella can drive home that kind of a message. I'm with you on being a proponent of physical play. Just seems to me that most of the more physical the club is the better thier results. Maybe the Wings are the exception...but lets face it, there is no shortage of star talent over there in Detroit. Do I think we as fans will see a difference on the ice? I'm not sold on it yet for two reasons.

1) Severe lack of physical defenseman. Hate to sound like a broken record here, but...This club doesn't have a physical defenseman on the roster. In fact, the two most physical of the club, have actually moved onto other clubs (Mara, Morris). So while you do have players that can play with that edge(Girardi, Staal), neither of them are truly physical players. Neither of them have the snarl of a Luke Schenn, a Zdeno Chara, a Brooks Orpik, a Mike Komisarek, a Brendan Witt, a Chris Pronger, you get the point. In fact, this fails to be addressed year after year. Again, last true physical defenseman on the club...Thomas Kloucek. That is now 7 years ago!

2) Lack of physical players in the top 6. I mean I know Tortorella rolls out three lines, more than a true top two lines, but AI doubt that he is going to continually play the physical guys with a tremendous anount of icetime.

Onto the current roster. There are a few guys that can bang, but there are far more players that are somewhat "soft"...More specifically, there are players in the top 6 that are soft. And to me, unless you are employing bonafide top 6 wingers with 60-70pt potential, then the shortcomings, or what they lack in the physicality will outwiegh anything they bring to the table. With that, I am skeptical about the current top 6 playing a pyhsical brand of hockey. Gaborik by all accounts should be the 60-70pt producer. Drury has the potential, but really has to get off to a very good start to do so. Prospal? Higgins? Not so certain about that. Chris can grind it out, but as far as him being labeled physical? I am not so sure that label fits the jar here. Callahan, yes. But at 5'10 and leading the club in hits, that's pain in the arse physical, not intimidating, punishing, impose you will on the opposition physical like a Milan Lucic. With that, Kotalik is here and certainly isn't a physical player. Now you are down to realistically one single individual player in Dubinsky who is potentially the most physical of the top 6. Physical in the sense that he hits everything, and he sticks up for his teammates as well. He'll get in your face and never back down...Amazingly enough, this man is still not actually signed yet!!! So, for Tortorella who is asking his players to play a more physical game, I think he realizes that going into the season he has a club that isn't very physical at all. At least physical in the sense that his physical players are actually going to see significant icetime enough to actually be a factor. Considering some of the teams in the Eastern Conference. Boston, Washington, Pitt, Philly, Toronto...all teams that are going in with a roster that includes some true physical players, not just players that are asked to play a more physical style. But...physical players that can again log some minutes in thier respective teams top 6, or more importantly, in thier defense.

For the Rangers, yes, there is Donald Brashear. As an enforcer he is as good as your going to get in the intimidation department. Even at 38 or whatever he is there are still players that avoid him like the plague. If Andrew Peeters does go to NJ, the guy will duck Brash every game. But...with the way that John Tortorella plays his lines, Brash is more likely than not going to ride the pine alot. I know Torts said he is much more than a 4th liner, but realistically I would imagine after some short experiments on the 2nd and 3rd lines, Torts is going to bury him on the 4thline. So that leaves Avery, Cally and the unsigned Dubinsky. Two players under 6ft, and one who again...Is still unsigned!

So I definately scratch my head on this one a little. There is a big difference between true physical players, and players that are asked by thier coaches to play a more physical brand of hockey. The Rangers are definately going to be the latter here.

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08-20-2009, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by NickyZ View Post
I posted Drury's low hits total about a month after the all-star break and was lambasted by the Druryiacs.

Guy doesn't hit. And it's not as if it's something where you look at the RTS and say "Well, that doesn't seem to make sense based on the games I've watched this season." He really doesn't hit. And MSG is notorious for being rather generous with what they register as a "hit" so everybody should be inflated to a certain degree.
The reason I looked that stat up again was I knew Drury was being overestimated. That's a stat I check now and again during the season. I'm not going to say that he goes out of his way to avoid hits--he will take punishment--he does try to get to the net. He does not initiate very much contact though.

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08-20-2009, 09:08 AM
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trading Korpikoski seems to fly in the face of the team playing a physical brand of hockey. Sjostrom also hit quite few blokes as well.
I'm not understanding the Korpikoski comment... He wasn't very physical at all...

Sjostrom did finish his checks but wasn't a particularly effective hitter...

Regardless, both of those players saw minimal ice time in relation to the rest of the forwards.... It's going to be the physical play of our top 9 forwards that will have the biggest impact on how we approach the game...

I just want to throw this out there... Finishing your checks is not about your size or your ability to knock an opponent to the ice... It's an in-game tool or strategy that has it's function in the context of the game... Petr Prucha was one of the smallest guys on the ice and he didn't hesitate to finish his checks.... I believe the coaching staff can get the players finishing their checks, even Dreary... The whole point is to create an atmosphere that instills a sense of urgency in the opponents mind whenever they handle the puck in tight quarters. You want the opposing team to have it in the back of their mind that they're going to get hit each time they handle the puck that force them to rush their passes or think quicker than they normally would (which results in mistakes & turnovers)... It's similar to clearing out players in front of the crease... You don't want the opposing forwards feeling comfortable in that area, that they can set up and jam away at rebounds, you want them to be nervous/hesitant in that area of the ice, make them feel they're going to get leveled if they step into that crucial area...

The last couple years I think our lack of physicality has really hurt us... Not only on defense but particularly our offense. Opposing teams' defensemen have had way too much confidence chasing down pucks along the boards in their own zone because they had little reason to fear being hit by our majority of softer forwards, unless Hollweg was on the ice... As a result, they were comfortable retrieving the puck and making a crisp outlet pass or clearing the puck with little hesitation... This is one of the reasons I'm glad Naslund is gone, the guy didn't engage himself in any other aspect of the game when the puck wasn't on his stick... Having Avery or Callahan bearing down on you as you chase a puck down vs. having a player like Naslund bearing down on you = 2 completely different reactions from the defenseman... Avery/Callahan create that sense of urgency to rush the play, Naslund, not at all...

I think Torts is going to want all of his forwards applying that type of pressure/fore-checking on a regular basis, regardless of those forwards' ability to throw a 'bit hit' or not.... This is where our conditioning is going to come into play, and Torts knows it. In order to play a more physical game, you need to have well-conditioned players who can skate well and get back quickly on the fore-check to compensate for having forwards getting caught in-deep throwing hits on a regular basis..

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08-20-2009, 09:17 AM
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During television timeouts, Tortorella will continue his work on curing cancer.

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08-25-2009, 10:43 AM
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Just found out that Jim Schoenfeld was on XM Radio giving an interview (thx Squishy) and he reiterated the point that the Rangers intend to play a more physical brand of hockey this season.... Looks like it's an 'organizational goal' as opposed to just a 'Tortorella philosophy'.


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08-25-2009, 10:49 AM
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Just found out that Jim Schoenfeld was on XM Radio giving and interview (thx Squishy) and he reiterated the point that the Rangers intend to play a more physical brand of hockey this season.... Looks like it's an 'organizational goal' as opposed to just a 'Tortorella philosophy'.
Boyle is going to be fun to watch if that's the case. I heard he really really worked on his hitting and playing a more physical game.

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08-25-2009, 11:11 AM
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Boyle is going to be fun to watch if that's the case. I heard he really really worked on his hitting and playing a more physical game.
I hope so because I was hearing that he didn't use his size particularly well in the past.

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