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Toughness (do we have it?)


steveoath
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With Risto's trade looking more and more likely, who do we have that can play a physical game? Are we a soft team?

Secondary point, is toughness needed on a modern NHL roster? 

*Mods* I'm sure this discussion has came up before but can't locate the thread. If needs be please move this. 

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I’m defining toughness as the ability to grind the other team down through body contact while resisting their attempts to do the same.

The answer is no, not enough to last through the grind of the NHL playoffs.

And I long for the days when we have enough talent, depth and teamwork on our team for this to matter.

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11 minutes ago, dudacek said:

I’m defining toughness as the ability to grind the other team down through body contact while resisting their attempts to do the same.

The answer is no, not enough to last through the grind of the NHL playoffs.

And I long for the days when we have enough talent, depth and teamwork on our team for this to matter.

Usimng this definition, no we don't have enough.

And we don't have enough talent ofr it to matter as well.  So I should have just "liked" your post instead.

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We don’t need to be tough, but we need to be physical and aggressive. However, every player should be tough in the “tough it out” aspect of hockey.

That being said, we have plenty of players who have the capacity to do this, some of whom already do this better than others. Reinhart is showing he’s getting the hang of it. Eichel shows it at a high level at times and others not so much, he’s also lacking in the tough it out aspect, injuries notwithstanding. McCabe shows them all. Skinner shows them all. As does Okposo, Larry, Z,. Dahlin shows them, but as an 18 year old in a mans league. He’ll excel at all three in time. I think a lot of it is a growing thing, both personally and physically. It also probably has something to do with learning how to succeed in a role in the NHL. 

Edited by #freejame
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Toughness is proven over time. I’ve got the hands and legs and suit to prove it. You earn your toughness by playing in the playoffs and eliminating teams you should beat and rising above teams you shouldn’t. And blocking shots and finishing checks and protecting your goalie and either not backing down, or not being distracted by someone licking your visor.

But most importantly, I define  toughness as imposing your will on your opponent, however it is done. And in that sense, we haven’t been a tough team since ‘07. 

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Didn't Eichel get injured by a cheap shot while Casey Nelson stood around and did nothing, that dude shouldn't be on this team. I'm defining the meaning as not only being able to handle the forecheck of the opposing team but be able to initiate it as well. There are a few guys like Bogo, Risto sometimes, Eichel sometimes and I can't think of another off hand so no, we definitely lack in that department.

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To answer the question simply, do we have it? the answer is no, definitely not.

I'm going with the one step at a time approach and hope JBot is too. So, he's chosen to upgrade speed and skill and has (overall) sacrificed size and toughness in that approach. If he achieves that, presumably then you add some size and physicality to balance the roster. If not, we won't win in the post season if we ever get there.

As a season progresses the tougher more physical teams generally do better as time moves on. It's a long season and guys play softer at the beginning and it gets harder and harder as the games get bigger and bigger. In the playoffs, the tougher teams did better and even the Bruins had a hard time with the Blues physicality. That is pretty much always the case, and in order to overcome that only rarely does a team have so much skill (and a killer PP) that they can win without also being physical. 

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Can’t wait to see Eichel skate circles around other teams who are worn down by a playoff series. Eichel is the best athlete in the league. 

 

Hes been held held back because we had a middle 6 last year that did absolutely nothing, letting their defenders rest up. 

 

All these skaters Botterill is acquiring will change that equation. 

 

Its one one thing to be tough. It’s another to have endless motors. We’re trending towards the latter. 

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I'd rather this team improve it's MENTAL toughness.  How many times did we see boneheaded plays at every position last year.  Not knowing what your responsibility is on the ice, not communicating, basically skating out there totally clueless.  Playing like world beaters one period and then playing like total crap the next.  To me this has very little to do with physical toughness. 

These guys are professional hockey players.  We complain about how bad a guy plays when he's in Buffalo but then we see him traded and he "improves" overnight?  Obviously if he can do that with another team he's got it in him to do it here but for whatever reason we can't get that out of him.  If Ralphie can get these guys to play with their head in the game, stick to the game plan and do what's necessary on every shift I think you'll see a much better team just due to them playing the game properly.  And the improvements made to the team will only add to that.  And that ultimately should cause the team to be perceived as "tougher" i.e. tougher to play against, tougher to keep up with, tougher to beat.

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47 minutes ago, ROC_EMT said:

We complain about how bad a guy plays when he's in Buffalo but then we see him traded and he "improves" overnight?  Obviously if he can do that with another team he's got it in him to do it here but for whatever reason we can't get that out of him

Who?  With what player did this actually happen?  I honestly can’t think of a single case.

Lehner maybe?  Obviously there were other factors at play there.  Both off the ice and Trotz’s system.

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As I’ve read before, I think they should keep adding talent in order to improve the team and hopefully make the playoffs.

I believe there is not enough toughness, which I will call grit, on this team. That can be added at the trade deadline. As long as they are not shrinking violets they can get through the regular season. The playoffs seem to be a war of attrition and being able to give and take the physical punishment is a requirement to go deep.

Not every Cup win mirrors the Blues heavy game. Pittsburgh and Chicago had grit but a lot of skill and speed.

Even tough guys get hurt so you also need depth, especially at D, who get dinged up by an aggressive forecheck.

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The Sabres are not very  tough with or without Risto.   Tough is playing hard and finishing checks, or taking checks to maintain puck possession or a break out.    It’s going into the dirty areas and creating traffic in front of the other teams net, or clearing traffic in front in our net.  It’s blocking shots and forechecking so as to force turnovers.      It’s answering immediately when one of our players takes a big hit so as to keep the opponent honest  

Tough in today’s NHL is the play you saw in the playoffs.  Especially by the Blues and the Broons.  

Yes Risto can hit people and he does so once in a while, but he quite often fails to keep the front of the net clear,  despite his size and strength.  

Cross checking people after the whistle and then barking away at them with the linesman in between is not playing tough.  Although he can play tough at times (see hits on Ovevhkin), I do not think he is feared by the opposition.  They would just as soon wear him down and then benefit from his many errors.  

Edited by Pimlach
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On 7/25/2019 at 5:33 PM, steveoath said:

With Risto's trade looking more and more likely, who do we have that can play a physical game? Are we a soft team?

Secondary point, is toughness needed on a modern NHL roster? 

*Mods* I'm sure this discussion has came up before but can't locate the thread. If needs be please move this. 

we are a very soft team and yes, toughness is needed to win in the playoffs

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On 7/25/2019 at 7:11 PM, DarthEbriate said:

Toughness is proven over time. I’ve got the hands and legs and suit to prove it. You earn your toughness by playing in the playoffs and eliminating teams you should beat and rising above teams you shouldn’t. And blocking shots and finishing checks and protecting your goalie and either not backing down, or not being distracted by someone licking your visor.

But most importantly, I define  toughness as imposing your will on your opponent, however it is done. And in that sense, we haven’t been a tough team since ‘07. 

Agreed.  We haven't had the ability to consistently push back against opponents since 07ish.  We have not been able match other teams' aggression, talent, desperation, physicality, etc.  One of my favorite experiences with prior teams (mostly the ones wearing black goathead jerseys) was watching them escalate effort, intensity, and physicality to produce results.  That's toughness to me...and I miss it dearly.

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