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06-29-2012, 02:47 PM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Montreal, QC
Originally Posted by
Not really. Giroux isn't going to be matched up defensively on Crosby going forward. Brayden Schenn will.
We're not forgetting about Richards and Carter's defensive ability at all. I'm just saying they struggled mightily against Crosby and Malkin and couldn't sufficiently match up against them one-on-one. Would you disagree? Richards couldn't because of his below average skating/lack of athleticism, while Carter was just too soft/unassertive. This isn't an attempt to detract from them as players, just a statement of the facts as I observed them countless times. Couturier and Schenn, on the other hand, are much better equipped to get the job done against Malkin and Crosby, respectively. We saw how Couturier's defensive awareness, positioning, stick work, and overall hockey IQ gave Malkin fits (if he ever adds a more physical element, he'll be THE perfect foil), while Schenn combines Richards' doggedness with superior skating ability and strength (the number one factor for me, honestly) to go against Crosby and hold his own. Just my personal opinion, of course.
The thing about these match-ups is that you need a strong team effort to thwart Crosby and Malkin. While the Couturier match-up in the playoffs got Malkin off his game, Crosby is a smart enough (and unselfish enough) player to dish off the puck when he's trapped. Schenn on Crosby is potentially a good start, but the Flyers will need the other 4 Flyers skaters to be responsible for passing lanes and other puck options. Getting back to the first point, Couturier will need support for when Malkin is able to either stickhandle or muscle his way around/past him; a second Flyers player should be ready to double-team Malkin at this point.
This isn't a Penguins-only philosophy either; appropriate positioning and defensive awareness will benefit Schenn and Couturier against all teams' top 2 lines.
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