SI Vault
 
IN THE CREASE
Pierre McGuire
April 20, 1998
Wayne Gretzky's fabulous breakaway goal against the Canadiens last week was a perfect example of why the Great One should have been among the five players Canada used in the Olympic shoot-out it lost to the Czech Republic. Just the thought of facing Gretzky one-on-one can intimidate a goalie....
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
April 20, 1998

In The Crease

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue

Wayne Gretzky's fabulous breakaway goal against the Canadiens last week was a perfect example of why the Great One should have been among the five players Canada used in the Olympic shoot-out it lost to the Czech Republic. Just the thought of facing Gretzky one-on-one can intimidate a goalie....

Speaking of intimidation, Sabres netminder Dominik Hasek has the same effect on shooters that Gretzky has on goalies. Players try to be too perfect with their shots against Hasek; thus they often end up missing the net. This makes his job easier and puts less pressure on his defensemen because they don't have to clear as many second-chance opportunities from the crease area....

Two referees who have climbed in the estimation of the NHL brass are Richard Trottier and Don Van Massenhoven. Look for them to get some key assignments in the playoffs....

The Northeast Division-leading Penguins have tailed off (from March 22 through Sunday they were 1-5-4) because opponents have finally learned how to play them. To be successful against Pittsburgh you need to limit the Penguins' power-play opportunities, keep offensive defenseman Kevin Hatcher from jumping into the rush, forecheck Pittsburgh's vulnerable back line with a vengeance and shut down the top line of Stu Barnes, Ron Francis and Jaromir Jagr. To get back on track coach Kevin Constantine even pulled Jagr—temporarily, at least—off that top unit last weekend....

One reason for the Sharks' late-season resurgence is their improved special teams. In San Jose's last 10 games through Sunday, its power play scored on 22.6% of its chances, and the penalty killers had a success rate of 92.0%. Improvement in the latter category has been attributable to the recent pairing of forwards Mike Ricci and John MacLean.

1