CHL Game Night: 2/16 (Updated)

Mississauga 5 @ Brampton 0
Chris Lawrence had an assist in the IceDogs win and also finished plus-2. A relatively quiet night for Lawrence considering his recent hot streak.

Erie 2 @ Owen Sound 7
Do you criticize Kevin Beech for letting in 7 goals, or praise him for making 72 saves? Judging from the fact he was named the game's third star as the visiting goalie, it's the latter. It also turns out Beech was the "lucky" goalie to be in net when Marek Bartanus finally scored. Bartanus had a goal and was plus-2. Bartanus had gone 24 games without scoring a goal. It was his fifth of the year.

Vancouver 1 @ Prince George 3
Vladimir Mihalik was scoreless and plus-2 with 4 PIM as Prince George beat Vancouver 3-1 Friday. Mihalik had tripping and holding calls against him.

Kelowna 5 @ Everett 6 (Shootout)
Dane Crowley was plus-1 and scoreless for the Silvertips in their 6-5 home shootout win over Kelowna.

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Physical Dmen

I thought of a question the other day, and I figure I'll ask the BP guys:

With big, physical guys like Smaby and Mihalik in the system, how will they fit in on a clearly un-physical Lightning team? It's very obvious when watching a Tampa game that the stick check is cherished. Will the players have to adjust to the system, or will they be allowed to use their size to their advantage?

System-first

Good question. Something I've thought about a lot over the past few years.

The Lightning say they want sandpaper and physicality, etc, yet you rarely see it. Sarich was known as a vicious hitter when he was with Saskatoon. I remember reading a prospect edition of The Hockey News way back in the day that said he was one of the hardest hitting prospects in his class. Today, Sarich can make a hit, but we don't see it too often and he's now more known for own-goals and failed clears than his hits.

I think it's the case of Tortorella stressing responsibility to the system first SO MUCH that it takes away from some of the creativity from players. This happens offensively - as we saw with Lecavalier before he learned what was acceptable from the staff. I think it works the same with players like Sarich, who have been tamed, so to speak, over the years.

Ramsay stresses getting positioning and getting sticks in passing lanes so much - and it works - but the collapsing style added to this puts the defenseman going backwards when forwards enter the zone and not taking a chance and nailing a guy.

Smaby and Egener are both great hitters. Rogers isn't a huge hitter - he already plays the Torts/Ramsay style more than the others.

I think it will be a case of who gets comfortable in the Lightning system first, then they can add that creativity/physicality to their game. But as with Sarich, I don't think we'll see a Phaneuf in a Lightning uniform.

What could make a difference is a defenseman who refuses to lose what got him here. A guy who will hit no matter what - even if it means he loses ice time. That type could be hard to find.
That's my opinion, anyway.

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