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Bench Talk / Off The Wire

"Heavy" Hockey Still Wins


By Fred Wallace

 Before I left Las Vegas this year, I made 2 hockey bets at The Flamingo before boarding the plane.


With just 8 teams remaining in the Stanley Cup playdowns at the moment of the wager, I figured Boston & San Jose were the best bets to get to the final and plunked down $ 100 on each.


Naturally, I was heartbroken when San Jose was eliminated, but I did find a comment from Sharks coach Peter DeBoer notable.


DeBoer stated that Boston and St Louis, the Cup Finalists, were best suited to be in the Championship because, in his view, they were the " heaviest " teams.


DeBoer elaborated that while the NHL is faster and more skill oriented, it says something that the " heaviest ", or most physical, teams survived to the end.


I don't disagree with Peter DeBoer ( and trust me, neither one of us will ever be at the other's birthday party or special occasion ! ).


I think you can take the same theory and apply it to the Ontario Hockey League.


In my view, the Ottawa 67's had a deeper, more talented team than Guelph, even with former Attack forward Nick Suzuki suiting up for the Storm.


But Guelph was older, " heavier " and in the end it showed, when Ottawa seemingly had no counter for Suzuki's linemate, the towering Isaac Ratcliffe, or for Alexei Toropchenko who had a massive series playing on the 3rd line and essentially running over a smaller, less physical third line for the 67's.


The Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Washington Capitals.

The San Jose Sharks.

The Ottawa 67's.


Through the years, hockey has swung back somewhat towards speed and skill, but based on the NHL and OHL results this year, it's still survival of the fittest, if not the meanest.

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