Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 01/11/13 at 07:46 PM ET
from Stu Hackel of the Red Light,
“Everybody’s talking about the importance of a good start, but the one thing that I take out of the 48-game schedule that year was how you needed lots of players,” said (Darryl) Sutter. “I bet if you look back at Chicago that year we probably used 16 or 17 forwards.” Helene Elliott checked: “The Blackhawks used 21 forwards that season, along with nine defensemen and three goaltenders,” she wrote. They finished 24-19-5, third in the division, and lost in the conference championship round to the Wings in five games.
Obviously, conditioning will be hugely important, as will coaches doing all they can to keep players fresh, but that’s only one element of this sprint. NBC and SI’s Pierre McGuire worked in the Senators’ front office that season and actually prepared a study on what it would take to be competitive in the shortened schedule. He divulged his findings last Monday to Mitch Melnick over Montreal’s TSN Radio 690.
“What you need,” McGuire said, “is 1) really good goaltending; 2) a four-line attack; 3) Make sure you understand work-to-rest ratio as a coach and you don’t break the guys down. That’s important for maintaining the team’s collective health and avoiding injury;. 4) you can’t have a prolonged losing streak of five games or more or you’re in trouble. Remember you’re playing conference games and division games exclusively so they’re all four-point games; 5) you have to have a creative coach.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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