It took New Jersey Devils defenseman Marek Zidlicky a few days to get over what happened in Sunday’s 5-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Four days, in fact.
On Thursday, Zidlicky addressed the two plays in which Crosby danced around him for scoring opportunities, the second one resulting in this goal:
“It’s embarrassing, but you can’t let it bother you on your next shift or in your next couple of games,” Zidlicky told The Star-Ledger. “I know he scored a goal on one, but that’s what happens. That’s hockey. You have to be ready on your next shift to do the right thing. You can’t be thinking about your mistakes.”
In a weird twist, this isn’t the first time Crosby’s put Zidlicky in the spotlight. The two scrapped in 2009, the fourth of No. 87’s five career fights:
Zidlicky said if he and Crosby cross paths again, he’ll be ready to deal with him.
“He’s a tough guy. You have to make sure if he’s beside you, don’t play the puck. Play him,” he said. “That’s what happened when we played Pittsburgh. I tried to play the puck. You have to be careful, especially against the top guys.”
Hitch’s recipe for more goals is a pretty simple one
Ken Hitchcock wants the Blues to spend more time attacking and less time defending.
Because hockey isn’t rocket science, that’s why.
“To score and win games in the National Hockey League…you have to spend as much time in the offensive zone as you can,” Hitchcock told the Post-Dispatch.
“When you’re occupying the offensive zone more, you’re forechecking more. When you’re occupying the offensive zone more, the goalie has to make saves. They’re having to defend more. And the opposing team takes penalties on you. So they’re all connected. … What I want to see from us is staying on the puck for longer stretches.”
According to the stats, the Blues have not been spending as much time in the offensive zone as we’re used to seeing from them. In fact, in their last 20 games, they rank in the bottom third of the league in score-adjusted Corsi. That compares to their first 20 games when they were in the top third.
The result is fewer shots, and more importantly, fewer goals. The Blues have fallen all the way to 25th in offense, averaging just 2.37 goals per game. Last year, they finished fifth (2.91).
“I don’t think he’s going to dazzle you with flashy plays, but I think he’s a guy who plays the game the right way. He’s hard to play against because of his size. He’s got a long reach, and he’s got a good stick.”
Sundqvist was selected 81st overall by the Pens in 2012. He’ll become the fourth player out of that Pittsburgh draft class to make his NHL debut, after Olli Maatta, Derrick Pouliot, and Matt Murray.