Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Way The Game Was Meant To Be Played

A lot has been made this year about the Thrashers defense... or lack thereof. As a group they are much too soft, don't clear the crease, and generally don't play the game the way it was meant to be played. Wouldn't it be nice if we had a guy like Steve Staios on our team?

I alluded to it in an earlier post, but I miss Staios. For those of you who might be new to hockey, Stevie "The Bruise" Staios was the Thrashers captain in year two. He had a pretty good year, and for some reason we let him walk. He goes to Edmonton, and here we are seven years later and he is still going strong with the Oil.

Staios was instrumental in Edmonton's Cup run a few years ago. He is the ultimate "team guy". You can't watch an Oilers game without seeing him go down and block a shot. Just last night in the game with Calgary he blocked two shots point blank on a 5 on 3. One of those was from some guy named Iginla. He also ALWAYS has his guy in front of the net covered. He doesn't go after the puck when there is a scrum in front, he either ties his guy up or knocks him on his ass. Remind you of anyone of the Thrashers?

Didn't think so. I can't help but think what this team would be like if Staios was still with us. There is something to be said for consistency. He would be going on 7 years as our captain at this point. When something needs to be said in the room, Staios stands up and says it. And you know what? Because of the way he plays on the ice his teammates listen to him!! There are a few guys in this league that truly earn their paychecks. Jarome Iginla, Jeff Cowan (check out the kind words on this weeks Coach's Corner), Ian Laperriere, and our boy Staios to name a few.

Some will look at his stats and say he is nothing special. No he isn't. If you only look at his stats. There are certain things in hockey that are more beautiful than having a bunch of points on your Upper Deck card. Again, go back to the game last night. Staios played over 26 minutes. Yet at the end of the game there he is, battling Iginla in front of the net to make sure he doesn't get to the loose puck with only a couple minutes left.

He also is not afraid to drop his gloves for his teammates. Let's get one thing clear... Staios can't fight. But in hockey, winning the fight is secondary to showing up for it. My favorite thing about Staios is he wears a visor; but if there is time before a fight, he always takes his helmet off to make it a fair bout.

Blocked shots, tough D in front of the goal, fights, locker room leadership, and the occasional offensive outburst. That my friends is Old Time Hockey. That my friends is Steve Staios. That my friends is how you play the game the way it was meant to be played.

For The Blueland Chronicle, I'm Big Shooter.

No comments: