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Monday, June 02, 2008

60 minutes of play, discipline wins games

The battle between the Chicago Wolves and the Wilkes-Barre/ Scranton Penguins may come down to which team is willing to play 60 minutes. Based on the two games in Chicago, that team is the Wolves. The Penguins have twice started play after 20 minutes of hockey, putting them goals behind the Wolves.

Plus, although the fans of the WBS Pens are talking about the grittier style of play in the Eastern Conference, the Pens play has been more about cheap shots than following through on checks. I don’t like to say another team is taking cheap shots, but the Nathan Smith hit, from the bench, on Andre Deveaux in game two was Slap Shot hockey.

If the Pens hadn’t scored two goals, quickly threatening the Wolves lead, there probably would have been retribution for violating the Code. Wolves players going down left and right, that’s not proof of a grittier style of hockey. That’s just mean and dirty play. The Wolves are winning because of discipline.

The other thing to note, about the WBS fan’s arguments, the Wolves have a very physical style of play. They have taken more penalties per game than any other team except the Syracuse Crunch in these playoffs. What we are seeing in the championship finals is a disciplined team that has taken the physical abuse of the opposition and won. I can only assume that if the Wolves find themselves up 3-0 or 3-1 in this series that there will be payback for these tactics.

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