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A strange but true Ovechkin-Gomez comparison and the art of winning sans six goalie shot blockers

The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson does an absolutely bang-up job of talking about the Washington Capitals possibly trading Alex Ovechkin, said team’s search for the right coach, even wondering whether the Canadiens will trade Tomas Plekanec and a host of other topics in his “Hockey World” column, but the real eyebrow-raisers for me came in the form of his conversation with Rangers GM Glen Sather about trading a player only comparable to Ovechkin in the salary department from New York to Montreal…

“I was at a sports banquet in New York and ended up sitting beside (former Habs GM Bob Gainey) and asked if he was looking for a centreman. I knew he was,” said Rangers GM Glen Sather, who didn’t think Gomez’s whopping contract, which he signed as a free agent, was an impediment. Everybody is moveable in this business. You just have to find the right partner. Not everybody sees players the same way.”

Sather looks like he did just fine with another free-agent centre, Brad Richards, who won a Cup in Tampa, but Gomez, with two Stanley Cup rings in New Jersey, fizzled in New York. He slid even further in Montreal to where they might bury him in the American Hockey League, paying him to play in Hamilton but using his salary-cap hit on something else. Money will do that to certain guys.

“We’d seen Gomez a lot in New Jersey and he was great there. Maybe when he got to us, he thought it was a retirement contract. Maybe in Montreal he still thinks that way. Some guys just won’t do it. He shouldn’t be at the end of the line. He’s not old (32). He can still fly,” said Sather.

How do you get that back?

“It’s very complicated,” said Sather.

You could say the same about Ovechkin’s “oomph”...

And St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock’s take as to why the Los Angeles Kings are succeeding despite not playing “six goalies on ice” hockey is absolutely brilliant, and spot-on (hint: sustaining a forecheck yields far, far fewer owies at the other end of the ice):

“The best team left doesn’t do that. L.A. is a hunt-and-chase team. They hunt the points. They defend by chasing you down from behind,” said the St. Louis Blues coach. “When they beat us, they would have five, seven, nine blocked shots. It’s all tactics. The Rangers and Washington are coached to stay in their lanes and they look like the goalie when you’re trying to shoot (at the net).”

Hitchcock also said the Kings are winning because “there is another level of push with them, they get to another gear.”

That they do, and I’d suggest that you continue reading Matheson’s column as it’s well worth your time.

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink



Couldn’t agree less. Sather’s saying Gomez still has his best asset (his wheels) but lacks drive. Ovechkin is pretty clearly not capable of the burst he used to have with the frequency he used to have. His feet don’t carry his frame the way his feet used to carry his frame.

Posted by larry from pitt on 05/21/12 at 03:38 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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