Abel to Yzerman
by IwoCPO on 12/28/06 at 11:07 AM ET
“It’s important to play a lot of forwards, and as a coach, in my opinion, I haven’t done as good a job here lately of using everybody. I think it’s really important we do a better job. We can play with more tempo and more energy. So the coach has to support that in how he plays guys.”
It’s a valid point, and one we haven’t touched on enough here. I’ve been quick to criticize Jiri Hudler, but slow to acknowledge the kid is only getting around 5 minutes/game. I’ve mentioned a few times recently that shot totals are up, but don’t take into account the fact that we may be looking at a tired team.
The style of hockey Babcock has introduced, despite the perceptions of “Eurohockey”, has got to be draining on these players. Defensive responsibility. Forechecking. Grit. Shot blocking. All take energy, energy that should be spread over four lines. 35 shots/game, two games in a row against Minnesota? The Wings are tired and Babcock acknowledges it. Filpulla played 13 minutes last night, but only after The Enigma left with the flu midway through the first.
Perhaps this will be the onset of better numbers for Hudler, Langfeld, Filpulla. At the very least, Babcock’s admission should mean a little rest for the other 9 forwards
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