Measuring Stick #1: Pittsburgh

During the Stanley Cup Final, my wife was watching a game with me and after several Sidney Crosby shifts, she turned to me and said, "Why don't ANY of the Sharks skate like that?"

Yes, dear, that's a very good question. One of the things that I've been very impressed with so far under new coach Todd McLellan is the fact that the Sharks are constantly moving their feet. It's no longer shuffle in the neutral zone, coast in the offensive zone; instead, it's go-go-go pretty much all the time. I don't know if it's a homer bias or what, but the other teams I see on Center Ice look slow compared to the Sharks, and I know it's not because they lack natural skating ability. It's all about the system.

Speed = good. Go-go-go = good (for the most part; gotta work on choosing when to pinch in so we don't get those crazy odd-man rushes). And that brings us to tonight's game against NHL Golden Child Sidney Crosby.

While the Red Wings are probably the measuring stick for team play (oh hey, they're in town on Thursday), I'm personally looking forward to seeing how the Sharks individually size up to Crosby's work ethic. The thing that makes it hard (at least for me) to dislike the guy is that he always looks like he's working hard, doing little things like taking that extra stride to get back on the backcheck or burst through a pair of defensemen. He doesn't give up on the play, and when you combine that with talent, it's quite a sight to see.

Ok, it sounds like I'm gushing about Crosby right now, but I'm really not. I'm just stating why I couldn't answer that question my wife asked me all those months ago. And I think I'm seeing more of that in San Jose's game so far this season. Let's see how guys like Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton compare in a face-to-face showdown.

By the way, I was totally wrong about my Steven Stamkos prediction. I must have given too much credit to Barry Mullet.


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