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Size Discussion: Why Is It News Now?

By JD Lagrange – Here we go. It looks like Montreal needed its doze of entertainment by overblowing, once again, what should not even be news. If there’s no news, create some, I guess… But rest assured folks, this is just another case of making a mountain out of a molehill.

Some people grew to hate former Habs’ GM Marc Bergevin so much that they refuse to acknowledge the obvious. They are blinded by their dislike so much, that they refuse to see the similarities between this new management and their predecessors. Yet, the resemblance, in many aspects, are there for all to see.

And Global reporter Brian Wilde recently played on fans’ emotions by dramatizing, overblowing some information he claims to have. In a recent segment on TSN 690, Wilde stated that the Canadiens would like to add size and physicality to their lineup this upcoming June.

“If you knew what the management likes right now, you wouldn’t be happy at all.” – Brian Wilde

Wilde was referring to the NHL Draft, where apparently he claims the Canadiens could go “off the board” by selecting bigger players instead of taking skilled players.

And it didn’t take more to wake up some Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome amongst some of Bergevin’s most notorious detractors, who took the overblown so-called “news” as new information. They immediately jumped to the conclusion that the Canadiens were going to neglect skills for size… even though they cannot be more wrong.

Nothing new

But as it’s often the case, those who pay attention to what the Canadiens have been saying all along, know that what Mr. Wilde brought forward is nothing new, or nothing to worry about. You see, Hughes (and Gorton) never said anything about sacrificing skills. That’s simply where the dramatization is leading to.

I’ll add to what my cyber friend Blain is saying here, by going all the way back to last summer as well.

Back in early July, after drafting 6-foot-3 Juraj Slafkovsky and having traded for 6-foot-4 Kirby Dach, Hughes talked about the importance of size in the NHL.

“There’s certainly an element of size to the game of hockey,” Hughes said. “When we watch the Stanley Cup playoffs every year — especially the playoffs vs. the regular season — it’s a very physical, tough brand of hockey. Our game changes a little. We’re still going put a premium on skill and speed as part of it.”

“There’s not a 5-foot-9 hockey player that scares me,” the GM added. “But 22 of them would scare me. So it’s just trying to find that balance.”

In that press conference, Hughes noted he couldn’t imagine the Canadiens putting together a line in the future that would have 5-foot-10 Filip Mesar with 5-foot-9 Sean Farrell and Caufield, who is 5-foot-7.

So to claim that the organization would sacrifice skills for size is blowing things out of proportion. Look at Toronto and why they can’t win a playoffs’ series. Their top players, those who play top minutes and have an impact on games, are all soft and, as a group, undersized. They get pushed around are are being intimidated, particularly in a seven-games series as they wear down. That’s how teams beat them in the playoffs, by grinding them down. That’s how the Canadiens came back from a 3-1 deficit.

So folks, take a deep breath and take Carey Price’s advice: relax. Let management do their job. Give them some leeway and focus on being fans. Hockey is entertainment. It’s not life. One day, perhaps, you’ll understand what I’m saying here. It’s not worth getting angry about.

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