Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 03/19/11 at 05:01 PM ET
from Jeff Dinunzio of the New York Times,
Cutting through the offensive zone, Jonathan Cheechoo, who once scored 56 goals in a season for the San Jose Sharks, appeared ready to score again. But this was not the N.H.L., and when Cheechoo deftly drew the goalie out only to slide the puck to a teammate, the teammate was not ready for it.
“He just has a lot of poise when he gets the puck,” said Roy Sommer, who coaches Cheechoo with the Worcester Sharks of the American Hockey League.
The A.H.L. is not where Cheechoo, a right wing, was supposed to be. But meeting the high expectations that came with winning the Maurice Richard Trophy as the N.H.L.’s top goal scorer in 2005-6 proved daunting. He led San Jose in goals the next season, but his production sank the next two seasons. Injuries mounted, including a double sports hernia, and his streak of 140 games played ended.
“I lost a little confidence in myself,” Cheechoo, 30, said. “One or two stop going in, you start trying to get a little closer to the net, you’re easier to check and you take less shots. I think I tried to get too fine.”
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