Does Size Matter?

One of the funniest stories that happened to me as a player was on draft day. After being selected to the Flyers, everyone was invited up to a suite in the hotel that the Flyers staff had rented. After quite a bit of celebrating, my Mom was in a conversation with one of the Flyers scouts. She asked the scout, “When it really gets down to it, what is it you look for in a player?” The scout looked at her for a while and then said straight faced…..”We look at the height of the father and the weight of the mother……”Needless to say my mom was a bit taken aback. (you have to appreciate scouts’ senses of humor) That was 1986.

But that story came back to me after an interesting conversation at the rink the other day with a parent. The parent was concerned her son was a good player but a bit small and that they could never really accomplish anything in hockey because of his size. We talked for a while about how the game is now and once we started looking closely at things, I think her opinion changed. Mine certainly has over the last few years.
It wasn’t that long ago that the NHL and pro hockey was dominated by big players. It seemed for a span there 15 years or so ago that you pretty much had to be 6’2″ to even be considered a prospect. No longer!
The rule changes have allowed smaller, but great skating players be a large part of today’s game.
Once again the research team at Platinum Hockey went to work to see how many players in the NHL are 6’0″ or under.

Team Total Players Below 6”   Above 6″
Anaheim Ducks 33 9   24
Atlanta Thrashers 31 13   18
Boston Bruins 32 15   17
Buffalo Sabres 32 10   22
Calgary Flames 31 6   25
Carolina Hurricanes 31 15   16
Chicago Blackhawks 35 11   24
Colorado Avalanche 35 15   20
Columbus Blue Jackets 35 10   25
Dallas Stars 35 14   21
Detroit Red Wings 32 19   13
Edmonton Oilers 36 10   26
Florida Panthers 33 14   19
Los Angeles Kings 33 13   20
Minnesota Wild 38 14   23
Montreal Canadiens 32 17   15
Nashville Predators 34 12   22
New Jersey Devils 38 11   27
New York Islanders 39 19   20
New York Rangers 36 11   25
Ottawa Senators 32 9   23
Philadelphia Flyers 32 10   22
Phoenix Coyotes 33 10   23
Pittsburgh Penguins 36 16   20
San Jose Sharks 34 9   25
St Louis Blues 35 15   22
Tampa Bay Lightning 37 12   25
Toronto Maple Leafs 35 10   25
Vancouver Canucks 36 11   25
Washington Capitals 31 6   25
1022 366 657

I was amazed to see that almost 36% of players on rosters were 6’0” tall or under.
The other thing you look at when you watch the game today is that everyone is a good skater. The days of the past when your 3rd and 4rth lines were dominated by big guys that weren’t always great skaters are gone. And forget about being slow and playing defence today. There is no way with these rules.

Again that is why I think the USA Hockey’s ADM is going to be a great program once fully implemented. Our kids have to be spending a lot more time each week working specifically on skills like skating that doesn’t happen in games. Today’s coaches have to be aware the time that must be spent on skating not just as very young players but for all levels.

The great news is that scouts are no longer looking at the height of the father and weight of the mother. I am pretty sure they would love to see how they skate though!!!!!!

Congratulations to Rod Brind’Amour!!

If you didn’t get a chance to see the ceremony for the retirement of Flyer Alumni Rod Brind’Amour’s number in Carolina you have to click on this link. It is probably the best retirement speech I have ever heard.
Rod was a great teammate and one of the nicest guys I ever had the privilege to play with.
Awesome job Rod!!!

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