Friday, November 19, 2010

Bob Errey's Candid Assessment of Evgeni Malkin on NHL Live

Penguins television announcer Bob Errey was a guest on NHL Live with E.J. Hradek today. Hradek asked Errey how Malkin has performed so far this season. Errey pulled no punches:

"It's been up and down. You're talking about a centerman, he's a guy that can't win draws worth a lick. I mean, he just puts his stick in there and it's going the other way. He's a guy that's gotta turn a lotta pucks over [forcing turnovers, in a positive fashion], he does. He probably does that better than anybody in the league.

He's a guy that's looking for somebody to defer to on his line and he really hasn't had that guy. Now Aaron Asham, believe it or not, has kinda provided that, a little bit over the last couple of hockey games. And I don't want to take anything away from Aaron Asham. We're talking about a guy the Penguins got at a great price and scored the other night, a big goal, and he is playing some pretty good hockey right now. But he's not a 30-40 goal scorer. Consequently, Malkin's not gonna give him the puck everytime he wants. I think if he had that gunner on the other side he would use his wingers a lot more. He seems to be trying to run the gamut and trying to go one on the world, which is great in pond hockey...

You know, Malkin, his upside is better than, to me, anybody in the game. When you go one-on-one he can do some things on the ice with that puck that I haven't seen many players do in the last couple years. But you just can't beat four or five guys and the other team knows that and they'll just pack up the house and let Malkin beat the first two guys...but it's like Kovalev was his last couple years in Pittsburgh, it's just tough to beat the same guy five times.

Malkin, I think, has got all the game, he's got all the goods, he's got some great tools. His ability to use his wingers or really, want to use his wingers, isn't there right now. I don't know if he just doesn't have enough faith in them, doesn't think they can get the job done, [that] he's better with the puck in his hands, I don't know. But his game, his actual game, skill-wise and the way he's feeling right now, is at a great level. It's just a matter of him trying to play, I don't want to say within the rules, but use the players around him. If he could use the players around him a little bit better he'd reap a little bit more than what he's getting."

There is a lot to take from that. It is interesting that Errey's first comment referred to Geno's weakness on faceoffs. It is widely talked about how Sid, when he came into the league, was very weak on the draw, but through hard work has now made himself one of the best faceoff men in the game. Clearly the organization isn't pleased with Malkin's effort in that area. The rest of it seems spot on. Malkin tries to do too much himself, and while he is great at forcing turnovers, he is a turnover machine himself, particularly when skating laterally at either blue line. It will be interesting to see if Jordan Staal's return and pairing with Malkin--as Bylsma had planned to do coming into the season--really elevates Malkin's game.

Good stuff from Errey.


Kmacluv2 said...

There is no doubt that Malkins funk is direcly related to (1) being asked io play wing and (2) more importantly having stiffs as wingers. This is Sheros fault. he seems to hell bent on d-man but no wingers and this is a major problem, Look at Tangradi and Poni and Comrie as proof that he can't find wingers. He doesn't draft any as well. Just d-man and centers. His team was built by Craig Pactrick and Shero has done nothibg to improve it@

The Hammer said...

I agree with some of that, but it doesn't really explain why Malkin played his best hockey two years ago. Poni was on the team for twenty games and Comrie and Tangradi have played less than that. Sure Malkin hasn't had great wingers. Neither has Sid.

Malkin also leads the league with 6:32 a game of ice time on the power play. Nobody in the NHL other than Sid averages more than 6:00. He has one power play goal. That isn't getting it done.

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