A friend of mine who's a scout pointed something out to me tonight. What do the 3 biggest hits in the NHL this year have in common.
Dion Phanuef on Kyle Okposo
Willie Mitchell on Jonathon Toews
Mike Richards on David Booth
Give up yet?
All 3 victims played NCAA hockey. Okposo at Minnesota, Toews at North Dakota, and Booth at Michigan State.
I'm thinking my scouting friend is alluding that college players don't deal with the kind of contact that major junior players do, especially through the neutral zone.
I think it's just a coincidence. Sure Richards and Phaneuf were known in their junior days as some of the toughest guys in their leagues, but Mitchell played NCAA at Clarkson after going to Notre Dame, and I'm sure he dished out a few checks in the ECAC.
While I do think that major junior is a rougher brand of hockey, all 3 of those on the receiving end of these hits are in their 3rd or on Booth's case 4th year of pro hockey and I would assume don't think it's okay to cruise up ice with your head down or admiring the puck, but rather they just made crucial mistakes at the wrong times.
What do you think?