Cherry: Small players won’t be in NHL in five to 10 years

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Brendan Gallagher of the Montreal Canadiens is listed at 5’9″ and has been a pest for opposing players and goaltenders throughout this Stanley Cup playoff run for the Habs.

Martin St. Louis of the New York Rangers, well, he’s been an emotional rallying point for his team in the days after the sudden and tragic passing of his mother. He’s only listed at 5’8″. He scored on a perfect wrist shot to lift his team to an overtime victory on Sunday, and a 3-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference Final.

Yet, could small players soon be a thing of the past? Don Cherry of CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada seems to think so – his reasoning has to do with bodychecking rules in certain provinces of Canada. (You can view Hockey Canada’s recent change to bodychecking rules by clicking on the link.)

“I’m going to tell you why there won’t be guys like that in the National Hockey League I would say in five to 10 years and that’s a sad thing for me to say,” Cherry said Sunday, as per the Toronto Star.

“Watch these little guys … see how they twist and turn … see how they roll off, see that there … and they don’t get hurt?”

Gallagher is among a group of smaller players that has managed to succeed in the NHL, as well as other levels in hockey growing up.

“One of the biggest reasons was my dad, who would always tell me my size was my advantage, so I never looked at it as a disadvantage,” Gallagher recently told Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star. “I heard people say it, but I never really believed what they were saying, so I couldn’t really have a chip on my shoulder.

“I’m not going to play like a bigger player; I play like I’ve always played.”