Most diminutive players are forced to take the long road to NHL arenas, if they get there at all. Matt Joyce Authentic
. The Habs Brendan Gallagher waited until the fifth round to hear his name called at the 2010 draft. Teammate David Desharnais never heard his name called and needed to ply his trade in the ECHL before the Habs took notice and signed him as a free agent. Mike Weaver was similarly undrafted. Brian Gionta and Tomas Plekanec went in the third round of their respective drafts. St. Louis was passed over by midget teams, ironically, ignored by the QMJHL, undrafted, signed by the Flames but later bought out after being exposed and unselected during the 2000 expansion draft, signed by Tampa Bay, and then became a surefire first ballot Hall of Famer, Stanley Cup winner, and Olympic gold medalist. But too small to play in this mans NHL, for sure.(h/tNational Post)If smaller skaters are in tough against the closed-mindedness of hockeys front offices, then life is near impossible for wee goalies. If the hockey community had its way, Dustin Tokarski would be working the take-out window at a Tim Hortons in Saskatchewan. At 511, he is everything the scouts are not looking for in a goalie. He is not the prototype. He is not Carey Price. Tampa Bay scout Charlie Hodge (himself a small, 56, NHL goaltender who accomplished nothing in the league with his limited stature other than six Stanley Cups and two Vezinas) had to beg the Lightning to draft Tokarski in the fifth round. And while, despite Montreal folklores contention, the legend of Tokarski is still being written, his play in the Eastern Conference Final is argument for a less structured approach to the game in both drafting and roster building.In a league that clings desperately to intangibles like "grit", "sandpaper", and "hockey sense", its laughable that they ignore these very qualities in players simply because they couldnt look Chris Pronger in the eye if standing on a barstool. And perhaps its the fact that they are ignored that makes them the players they are, products of adversity. More likely its a lack of ambition and creativity in front offices, which denies ambitious and creative players the opportunity to play in the league, and to better the game.The argument in favour of a broader notion of what makes an NHLer is on the ice this postseason, and in particular in the Rangers-Habs series and their respective runs to the Conference Final. Desharnais has been arguably Montreals best forward, if not their most consistent. Gallagher is proving that strength comes from within, and not gigantism. Tokarski has gone from relative obscurity to revelation. Weaver is more adept at blocking shots than Peter Budaj. Sixth-rounder Hagelin is proving to be perhaps the fastest skater in the league. Zucarello, affectionately nicknamed the Hobbit, is a force with his speed and creativity. And the grandfather of them all, St. Louis, is authoring a tale for the ages, the kind of postseason story that makes the playoffs so compelling.(h/t 5 Minutes For Fighting)Maurice Richard, Bobby Hull and son Brett were 510. Gordie Howe, Wayne Gretzky and Bobby Orr were measured at 6, but they were wearing their shoes. Guy Lafleur was also listed at 6, but at least two of those inches were hair. At some point during the 90s, when scouting staffs inflated and Eric Lindros arrived, the NHL experienced a sea change in philosophy. They became infatuated with size and believed they could manufacture skill and scoring through systems. The result was lower scoring, issues with concussions, and endless tinkering with rules in order to create the very scoring that they themselves had diluted. In witnessing one of the most entertaining and compelling postseasons in recent memory, one hopes that the NHL can again changes its ways, and value skill no matter what size the package it comes in. Desmond Jennings Blue Jersey
. The 114th-ranked Lorenzi broke Monacos serve to go up 4-3 in the decisive set and held on to close the match in 2 hours, 34 minutes at the Ibirapuera Arena. The 32-year-old Italian squandered a match point before losing the second set, but was in control in the third to pick up the win in the ATP 250 tournament in South Americas biggest city. Matt Moore Authentic
.Y. -- Bills rookie quarterback EJ Manuel wont start in Buffalos season finale at New England because of a small tear in a left knee ligament that will not require surgery.VANCOUVER - Ryan Miller took time Friday morning to catch up with some old friends on the Buffalo Sabres.Then he went out and helped send his former team to its 14th straight loss.The veteran goalie stopped 20 shots and Chris Higgins snapped out of a long slump with a goal and an assist as the Vancouver Canucks defeated Buffalo 5-2.Miller spent more than a decade with the Sabres organization, but was dealt to the St. Louis Blues before last seasons trade deadline with Buffalo in full rebuild mode.Im not going to lie, it was a little bit weird looking down the ice and seeing that jersey, said Miller, who signed with Vancouver as a free agent in July. But it just turns into a hockey game and you want to win, you want to compete. It was nice to get that win.Bo Horvat, Yannick Weber, Nick Bonino and Radim Vrbata, into an empty net, had the other goals for Vancouver (27-17-3). Christopher Tanev and Henrik Sedin each added two assists as the Canucks snapped a two-game slide that included a 4-0 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday.Chris Stewart scored twice on the power play for NHL-worst Buffalo (14-33-3), which failed to pick up a single point in January and has not won on the road since late November.When things go bad, things go bad, said Sabres head coach Ted Nolan. Every time we make a mistake it seems to be in our net. When things are like that, thats what usually happens.After the visitors grabbed a 1-0 lead on Stewarts first of the night, Horvat scored his fourth by banging a rebound past Buffalo third-string goalie Matt Hackett — who made 33 saves in his first start of the season — with 24 seconds left in opening period to send the teams to the locker-rooms tied.The goal was Vancouvers first at home in 195 miinutes 57 seconds— a stretch of nearly 10 periods. Jake McGee Authentic
. I think that was really important, said Horvat. We were feeling good about ourselves. It helped our confidence as a team and got the guys going.The Canucks then surged ahead with power-play goals 2:36 apart early in the second that snapped an ugly 2 for 29 stretch with the man advantage. Weber scored his fourth of the season at 1:43 before Bonino swatted home his 11th at 4:19.Its the nice shots that dont go in (and) the greasy, ugly rebounds that do, said Bonino. You have to go to the net, thats where you have to go to score goals. I was happy that one went in.Vancouver had a number of chances to stretch that lead further, but Stewart scored his second of the evening and ninth of the season when a centring pass from the side of the net deflected in off Canucks defenceman Dan Hamhuis at 14:16.Miller made his best save of the night on a Drew Stafford breakaway a few minutes later to keep the Canucks ahead 3-2 through two periods, and Higgins put things out of reach with his seventh of the season at 5:31 of the third by finishing off a nice passing play with the teams playing 4 on 4.The goal snapped a 12-game drought for Higgins and was his just his second in the last 23.It feels good. Obviously its been a while, said Higgins. The games not all about scoring, but I think I have to produce at a better clip for our team to go a long way this year.Its a special group here so it feels good to contribute.Notes: Vrbatas empty netter in the final minute was his 19th goal of the season. ... With both Derek Dorsett and Brad Richardson out with injuries up front for the Canucks, Ronalds Kenins made his NHL debut.——Follow @JClipperton_CP on Twitter cheap jerseys from china cheap jerseys
' ' '