Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 12/18/13 at 10:24 AM ET
from Aaron Portzline of Puck-Rakers,
“Our game has taken a more direct rout,” Richards said. “I don’t know if it’s been because (Marian’s) been out. We’ve done a lot of growing, I think, as a team, and it just happened that he was injured. I don’t know if that’s the reason why.”
The Blue Jackets have found success the past two years as a dump-and-chase club with a strong forecheck.
The words dump and chase are not in Gaborik’s vocabulary. One of the most explosive skaters in the NHL, he likes to carry the puck through the neutral zone and use his speed — the threat of getting behind the opposing defense — to create space for himself and others.
With Gaborik in the lineup, the Blue Jackets have often looked out of sorts. Not just because of Gaborik and his play, but with other players trying to incorporate Gaborik, often seeming to defer to him.
“You can see (that without Gaborik in the lineup), there’s more of a thought process of (getting) the puck deep, forechecking and playing hard that way,” Richards said, “instead of a skill set through the neutral zone and trying to carry it in and make plays.”
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