Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Three Man Defence

Its never a good thing to burn out your defence by overplaying them in the regular season and having nothing left for the stretch run and the playoffs (if you get there). Last season, Vancouver was guilty of this in the early season. They gave an awful lot of playing time to Ed Jovanovski, Mattias Ohlund and Sami Salo. That big three on defence was unable to keep up that pace all season and after the Olympic break all three were injured. Vancouver limped through the rest of the season and missed the playoffs.

So far this season, the team that most seems to be following that pattern is the Anaheim Ducks. They have Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger and Francois Beauchemin all in the top fifteen players in ice time per game in the NHL. Thats unsustainable for the whole season. Sure Niedermayer and Pronger are hall of fame talents, but that will not prevent them from suffering if they are overworked. If Anaheim's other defencemen Joe DiPenta, Shane O'Brien and Sean O'Donnell cannot share more of the load, Anaheim will have to acquire somebody else to do so, or else I doubt this defence will be healthy enough to dominate games as it must for Anaheim to have a serious shot at the Stanley Cup.

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