Today's game - speed & youth. But who deserves the credit?

Discussion in 'National Hockey League Talk' started by ColePens, Oct 8, 2018.

  1. ColePens

    ColePens RIP parabola & Fugu

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    Today's game is obviously speed and youth. Toronto and Pittsburgh are two teams that share the identity, albeit Pittsburgh getting a tad older. McDavid is the prime example of speed/youth. MacKinnon needs brought up in this discussion, too. But who deserves the most credit for this evolution/change (team or player)?

    - Chicago? Some will claim the Hawks and their Cup runs, but I think they were more skilled than loaded with speed. I think they deserve credit for puck possession, but not the speed/youth movement.

    - Pittsburgh? They will get a ton of credit for back to back cups and every team changing their backend to be puckmovers, but I actually think they copied off a team they struggled with in the past.

    - McDavid? MacKinnon? Karlsson? Young dmen? While all these guys deserve to be the example of what today's game is all about, I don't give them credit either.


    My answer is actually the New York Islanders. Around 2012-ish they were on to something way before it went full stride into the NHL and gave Pittsburgh absolute fits with speed. Pittsburgh even created their own buzz line at one point but never went all-in with the identity under Dan Bylsma. He relied on vets as many did in the NHL. But the Isles had something going with a team of speed and started to make noise with it. But then false hope set in with a 4th line of heavy guys who had their career year and they lost their identity because of it. But IMO they planted the seeds for what was the eventual evolution of the game. And they get absolutely zero credit for it.

    For today's game - who do you give the credit to for the speed/youth transition? Maybe you want to give credit to 2-3 of those players/teams. So be it. Interested to hear what HF thinks was the main culprit for the evolution of the game.
     
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  2. Luigi Lemieux

    Luigi Lemieux Registered User

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    I noticed a distinct shift after the pens won in 2016. They were far and away the fastest team in the league, whereas now they're probably only slightly above average with much of the same roster. It's been a speed arms race since then.

    That said Rutherford mentioned 2 teams at the time that influenced his roster construction. Chicago and NYR. Pens had been embarassed in the first round against NY in 2015 where they looked extremely slow in comparison. And Chicago in the sense that they had won 3 cups with speed, skill, and puck possession. Rutherford doubled down on that instead of Shero's construction, which was more like trying to build a Nashville+Crosby/Malkin.
     
  3. Seanaconda

    Seanaconda Registered User

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    I'll give credit to bettman and the lockouts.

    Obstruction rules for speed

    Salary cap for youth
     
  4. Channelcat

    Channelcat Registered User

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    2016 Penguins made hockey people take notice. At that time the talk was all about heavy teams. I think that team shaped much of what you see now.
     
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  5. bluedevil58

    bluedevil58 Registered User

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    06 Canes take the credit. That brought speed and rolled 4 lines that constantly attacked. Got them a cup too.
     
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  6. voxel

    voxel Knights and Jets Bandwagon

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    Oilers tried speed and youth from '10-16 but failed. Too many rookies. And the Western Conference was super-heavy (and not old like it is now) and crushed the kids.

    I'd say the Pens in their cup runs proved it could work.
     
  7. CallMeShaft

    CallMeShaft #1 Most Liked HF HAWKS Poster!!!

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    It was the Pens IMO. Most successful and quick teams before that we're quick because of the stretch pass (which is how Chicago played during the cup years). But Pittsburgh showed the type of success you can have by having defensemen constantly acting as a 4th forward and the league took notice.
     
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  8. LatvianTwist

    LatvianTwist Global Moderator

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    Why does one team/person need to get credit? Couldn't this be a somewhat natural cycle in the NHL and hockey in general?

    It would be difficult to quantify as it's almost entirely subjective, but I could imagine that there's some kind of cycle between speed, physicality, and skill that goes on. When one dominates, everyone starts looking for it - it's what becomes popular at youth levels, what scouts look for in juniors, and what professional levels try to build around. Eventually, it becomes saturated and even the lower-end professional players are very good at whatever of the three is in style right now. So some coaches and teams start trying something different - eventually it works, and teams begin to try and replicate it until it catches on and becomes widespread. This repeats itself over and over again. It's obviously complex, though, as all three exist at the same time at varying levels, and every player has to be at least serviceable when it comes to speed and skill.

    Just a theory, maybe I'm wrong, but I'd hesitate to give one particular entity credit for this shift. If it is required for some reason, Pittsburgh in 2015-2016 definitely seemed to be the team that really forced other teams' hands to adapt and match their style.
     
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  9. Tavares the Noble

    Tavares the Noble I was in the pool!!

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  10. Martin Skoula

    Martin Skoula Registered User

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    Boston and LA winning drove up the demand and prices for heavy forwards. Clarkson at 5.5 vs Mason Raymond at 1 is a pretty easy choice to make, especially for budget teams.
     
  11. ColePens

    ColePens RIP parabola & Fugu

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    Oh i definitely think it's the sum of everything people are saying, but like everything in the world - there was a major turning point somewhere. I agree with people who said the 2016 Pens changed the game. The separation from the 2016 Pens to every team in the speed category was off the charts. In less than ONE year, they lost that wide gap. Every organization jumped on board.

    But the purpose of my thread/point was that the Isles are the forgotten one here. It's like the endless stories of inventors who are known for the product, but weren't anywhere near the originator of it. That is what the Isles are here. I really think they started the turning point. There were a few things that left people waiting to pull the trigger and that is the LA Kings, the Isles 4th line, and the leftovers of Boston's style of play. Kings/Bs were enough for the NHL GMs to hold off on going earlier, but man the Isles were pushing the identity consistently far before it took over. I truly think they started the turn and then everything else fell into place. Then with the help of McDavid and many other fantastic players, the 2016 Pens pushed it off a cliff by winning the way they did.
     
  12. ColePens

    ColePens RIP parabola & Fugu

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    I also think the Anaheim/Chicago series was a great example. Anaheim came out and absolutely imposed their will on Chicago. By the end of the series, Anaheim was so far out of breath and just got skated around easily. One of the coolest progressions of a series I've ever seen. Legitimate example of something wearing down a team over time, and it wasn't hitting. It was skating.
     
  13. Luigi Lemieux

    Luigi Lemieux Registered User

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    Isles were definitely trying to play up tempo earlier this decade, but i don't know how much that influenced the league considering they weren't very successful. Their 2012-13 team was sandwiched between Boston and LA winning cups so it didn't really move the needle. I'm not sure how much it affected Pittsburgh either considering new management had taken over by 2014.
     
  14. Rodgerwilco

    Rodgerwilco Here mainly for talking about Fantasy Football.

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    I would agree with this assessment here. As we know, the NHL is a copy-cat league. When one team starts having success in a particular area or style, other teams quickly copycat the blueprint. The Penguins used to get regularly frustrated by fast teams like NYI, NYR and, even Toronto before they got good. Whenever the Penguins adopted that style was when they really started to take that next step. In 2016 they were among the fastest in the league, which really helped them get that edge for the next two years.

    I think you really can say that the Islanders, or maybe the Leafs, could be indirectly credited with this change. As they were likely the teams to inspire Pittsburgh to get faster, which in turn, led to other team's copycatting this.
     
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  15. Rodgerwilco

    Rodgerwilco Here mainly for talking about Fantasy Football.

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    I think that the new management is what started to facilitate the change though. JR is a savvy guy and has his finger on the pulse of the league. I think he saw the league getting faster and knew that if he could bring the same style of speedy play to Pittsburgh then they could have success with Crosby and Malkin leading the way, and that's exactly what they did.

    Pittsburgh was often revered as a powerhouse back then, but just couldn't take that next step. I think JR recognized that it was often speed that was Pittsburgh's achilles heel and rather than try to build a team that could BEAT the speed they struggled against, he opted to just build a speedy team himself.
     
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  16. Tavares the Noble

    Tavares the Noble I was in the pool!!

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    Players like Marner and larkin are exactly the kind of player that wear you would with wheels. Hard to hit, and can go forever. Big bodies just get tired.
     
  17. Luigi Lemieux

    Luigi Lemieux Registered User

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    Absolutely, but i'm saying getting frustrated by NYI likely didn't have any affect on him since he wasn't even here at the time. He has mentioned the series against NYR in 2015 though for realizing the pens needed to get faster.
     
  18. Dr John Carlson

    Dr John Carlson Light is all over us

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    Salary cap -> teams filling their rosters with younger (cheaper) talent -> younger players typically being faster skaters.

    It just took until Pittsburgh for teams to figure out how to properly utilize speed as part of a game plan.
     
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  19. Luigi Lemieux

    Luigi Lemieux Registered User

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    Pens have also pointed to Montreal and Columbus as influences. Interview with Lemieux from 2014:

    And although Burkle and Lemieux were adamant that they'll leave the new GM to his own work, as they obviously did with Shero, they also made no secret that this mythical man's hiring will come with a multipronged mandate:

    • Faster. “Look at Montreal, the way they're built,” Lemieux said. “They have smaller forwards, but they're all speedy, and they've got grit, and they've got character. That's probably what we'd like to have. I think that's where the league is going now.”

    • Younger. This time, Lemieux pointed to Columbus, the first-round opponent with a bright future: “They had that nice mix of older and younger players that you need in the playoffs. A lot of fresh legs.”

    Kovacevic: Lemieux, Burkle have right focus
     
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  20. Solzhenitsyn

    Solzhenitsyn Registered User

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    Pittsburgh winning in ‘16 in fairly dominant fashion and then again managing to win back-to-back is 1. They weren’t the first super speed team, but the other major one (New York Rangers) played more of a counter-attack. The league hadnt seen such an emphasis on speed-at-all-costs and needed to adapt or else the Pens were going to leave every other team in the dust.
    2. Is the emphasis on skating in player development and the generation of young players following 2015 that entered the league.
     
  21. Rodgerwilco

    Rodgerwilco Here mainly for talking about Fantasy Football.

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    Yeah, I get what you're saying. I used to get so frustrated when the Pens would lose to the likes of NYI and Toronto just becasue they couldn't keep up and wished they'd have gotten faster soon, but management never listens to me... :\
     
  22. Mikeshane

    Mikeshane Kesler's Cup Count: 0

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    Youth is a lot to do with contracts since teams overpay for vets for some reason. Speed is Pittsburgh in 2016. It wasn't just that they were fast it was that they blew the zone and made risky plays to generate that offensive attack. They unburdened themselves with the ingrained mindset that being conservative is best. It wasn't just a playoff run either, they were awesome to watch all year anytime the other team they were playing could stay competitive with them.

    Edit: The other thing I forgot to mention is the defensive shell. I'm sure every fan can relate to when your team is playing aggressive through 2 periods and is dominating the game and the coach will insist they sit back in the 3rd and just let the other team come at you in waves. Pittsburgh were good at not falling into this very often and keeping up the killer instinct.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
  23. Luigi Lemieux

    Luigi Lemieux Registered User

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    Some Rutherford quotes:

    "The league always moves in cycles. And there’s not just one way to win. When I came to Pittsburgh in 2014, the trends had been flip-flopping back and forth. L.A. won with size and physicality. Chicago won with skill and discipline. (Personally, the Blackhawks are my favorite team to watch and learn from.) Then the Kings won again … size again. Then Chicago won again … skill again. Once a team wins with a certain philosophy, the rest of the league moves to either copy or counter it."

    "When we lost to the Rangers in the first round of the 2015 playoffs, I realized that we had to get faster in order to compete for the Cup. "

    What You Don't Know About: Being a GM | By Jim Rutherford
     
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  24. Echo Roku

    Echo Roku Registered User

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    Wait. Toronto is based around speed? Uh... well they’ve never seemed above average speed wise when I’ve watched them the past couple years. I can’t honestly remember a game I watched where their team as a whole seemed notably faster than the other side

    Just seems a bit odd that that’s supposed to be part of their identity with that
     
  25. maacoshark

    maacoshark Registered User

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    Players arent allowed to hit.
     

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