The argument for shot blocking is an obvious one. If a player gets in front of the puck, it’s not going to go into the net. But what happens when they fail in their attempt?
Take a look at Marc Staal’s game-winning goal. In particular, pay attention to all the players, Capitals and Rangers alike, that stood between Staal and Washington goaltender Braden Holtby as Staal shot the puck.
Holtby also stated, “That’s what happens when we play a style where we block a lot shots. Sometimes those go in.”
This isn’t to say that the Capitals are wrong to be aggressive when it comes to blocking shots. They stopped 25 shots from ever reaching Holtby on Monday and the outcome of this game could have been a lot worse if they simply let Holtby handle everything.
Still, it’s a strategy that does sometimes backfire and it seemed to this time.
“Nope,” Dubinsky said. “You know, I’ve played the same way my whole career and I’m not going to change. The next time I have an opportunity to play (Crosby), I’m going to play him hard.”
In case you’re wondering, that next opportunity comes on Dec. 21 in Pittsburgh, assuming that both players are healthy and not suspended.
One can understand Dubinsky’s perspective, although such honesty would be that much more interesting if there’s another incident with Crosby. His initial reaction to the hit was interestingly candid, admitting that his “stick rode up” on his adversary.
Would that stance – which, from a harsher view, might seem flippant to Dubinsky’s critics – open the door for a bigger future bit of a discipline?
Maybe, maybe not … but at least his comments aren’t as inflammatory as what John Tortorella said (at least on the record).
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