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in Diskussionen Allgemein über die Kryptowelt 08.10.2018 03:13
von panxing18 • 250 Beiträge | 500 Punkte

There’s a bit of masochist in Patric Hornqvist. Has to be.

How else to explain the thrill the Pittsburgh Penguins forward gets by planting himself in front of an opposing net and daring someone – be it a goaltender or defender typically within a stick’s reach of him – to move him out of the way by any means necessary?

Over the course of three periods on a given night [url=http://www.dallascowboysteamonline.com/roger-staubach-jersey]Roger Staubach Jersey[/url] , Hornqvist will be punched, pushed, slashed (both legally and illegally) and generally treated as a pi锟絘ta on skates. And here’s the thing. He likes it. A lot. The smile on his face even as he’s being chopped to the ice is a dead giveaway.

”I think he finds comfort in being a pain in the neck,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said.

Sure, it’s not quite the career path the 31-year-old envisioned while growing up in Sweden, where the larger international ice sheets provided Hornqvist plenty of room to do as he pleased. That space has disappeared in the NHL, where the ice surface is smaller, the players bigger and faster, and the goals far harder to come by.

So Hornqvist has carved out a niche by volunteering to get to the places on the ice that aren’t for the meek – a 5-foot-11, 189-pound stockpile of kinetic energy. In the process, he’s become arguably the best of the net-front masters that will play a pivotal role in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Hornqvist scored 29 times this season for the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions, most of them coming from in tight. Some on deflections. Others on rebounds. Others still when he managed to thrust his stick in the middle of chaos and find the order in it. Oh, and the puck, too.

They call the corners and the front of the net the ”dirty area.” Maybe, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Especially in the postseason.

”Usually it’s not the pretty goal that wins the game [url=http://www.buffalobillsteamonline.com/micah-hyde-jersey]http://www.buffalobillsteamonline.com/micah-hyde-jersey[/url] ,” said Predators forward Scott Hartnell, no stranger to the mosh pit that doubles as the area just outside the goal crease. ”It’s the one-two-three-four whacks on it and it goes in.”

The goal that propelled the Penguins to a second title last June came not from Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin or Kris Letang but by Hornqvist doing what he does as well as anyone in the NHL – collecting Justin Schultz’s shot off the end boards then banking it off Nashville’s Pekka Rinne and into the net late in Game 6 of the 2017 Stanley Cup finals.

”I love to be where it’s hot, especially in those areas in front of the net,” Hornqvist said. ”It’s probably the best place to be.”

And, in a weird way, it’s a pretty effective path to career longevity. Hornqvist just signed a five-year contract extension over the winter. Hartnell will turn 36 later this month. Tampa Bay’s Chris Kunitz – who filled a role similar to Hornqvist’s while helping the Penguins to three Cups before joining the Lightning – played in all 82 games this year for the Eastern Conference’s top seed at age 38.

Pain, it turns out, has its perks. Washington’s Tom Wilson, just 24, points to players like Hornqvist and Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds as a role model of sorts.

”(Simmonds) will tip the puck, he’ll turn and he’ll find it,” Wilson said. ”He’s strong enough to be able to get two or three chances. And you’ve got to be strong enough in order to be able to do something with it after you find it.”

Hornqvist brushes off the notion that he’s special, saying only ”I take pride in what I do out there.” He points out he scored 15 power-play goals this season – third most in the league – not so much because of any particular talent he may have but because he happens to play on the same unit as Crosby and Malkin.

Defenses can become so intent on trying to keep Pittsburgh’s two stars in check that Hornqvist has a knack of finding the open spot. And if the puck happens to show up there, too, even better.

Crosby isn’t so sure. Asked if there’s an art to Hornqvist’s approach to his job [url=http://www.officialsenators.com/authentic-adidas-tom-pyatt-jersey]Womens Tom Pyatt Jersey[/url] , the two-time MVP nods.

”I think it’s a skill,” Crosby said. ”It takes a lot of determination, a lot of courage but there’s also some thought that goes into it, too. I think you can’t have one without the other and I think he’s able to find ways to create space and find pucks and battle all through that stuff in order to create goals there.”

It goes beyond putting the puck in the net. Hornqvist, Hartnell and the rest can be just as effective doing things that never show up on a goal sheet, be it creating a screen or occupying a pair of defenders or simply refusing to get out of the way.

”There’s obviously the guys that work well with the shooter, moving screens, on the same page,” Washington goaltender Braden Holtby said. ”And then there’s just the guys that they just get in there and kind of frustrate you and run interference and stuff like that. It’s more those tiny little jabs that throw you off balance that the ref or no one else sees.”

Hornqvist does it all. Rookie forward Zach Aston-Reese marvels at Hornqvist’s ability to both use his stick ”like an axe” while absorbing all manner of abuse without letting his frustration get the best of him.

”We played Washington and he had three guys punching him in the head and for him to be like cool, calm and collected and not retaliate, not drop his gloves,” Aston-Reese said. ”There’s a huge mental capacity to it.”

A capacity Hornqvist and the rest of his brethren will have to rely on Four months after signing with the Rams and two days into training camp, Ndamukong Suh is still waiting for his first chance to practice alongside Aaron Donald.

Suh knows all about the perils of contract negotiations, and he hopes Donald can get a deal soon to unite them on Los Angeles’ potentially fearsome defensive line.

”Ultimately, I wish him all the best [url=http://www.buffalobillsteamonline.com/corey-bojorquez-jersey]http://www.buffalobillsteamonline.com/corey-bojorquez-jersey[/url] ,” Suh said Friday after practice at UC Irvine. ”He deserves more than what I got, so I’ll kind of leave it at that.”

The 31-year-old Suh got a one-year, $14 million deal to join the Rams as a free agent after eight seasons as one of the NFL’s best defensive linemen. Donald is scheduled to make nearly $6.9 million this season in the final year of his rookie contract, but is widely believed to be seeking a record-setting deal that will make him one of the league’s highest-paid players.

Donald skipped the Rams’ offseason activities after Suh’s signing, and he is holding out of training camp for the second consecutive year. Suh and Donald spoke briefly after Suh signed, but they still don’t know much about each other.

Suh hopes that will change soon, but he’s staying out of any talks between Donald and the Rams.

”Always want to have an opportunity to practice with Aaron,” Suh said. ”He’s a guy that I’ve watched from afar, and (I’ll) hopefully have an opportunity sometime soon to get on the same field and be on the same side of the ball.”

Suh was free to sign with the Rams after the Miami Dolphins dropped him three seasons into a six-year, $114 million deal. That mammoth contract was structured in a way that made it almost impossible for Suh to be allowed to play out its entire length, and Suh ended up making $60 million for three years of work.

When he looked for a new challenge, Suh decided to team up with Donald and Michael Brockers on defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ front line. Suh primarily will be a nose tackle in Los Angeles for the first time in his career, but he has ample experience at every possible position on a defensive line.

”The biggest thing I’m excited about position-wise is being able to play the nose, the tackle and the 5-technique (lining up outside the offensive tackle), being able to play all of them and being able to use me in every single facet [url=http://www.officialoilers.com/authentic-adidas-leon-draisaitl-jersey]Leon Draisaitl Jersey[/url] ,” Suh said. ”The one thing that I’ve learned when I’ve been a part of an elite defense, no particular guy has any position. They can play all of them.”

Donald also plays just about anywhere, and his absence ultimately might not have much effect on his performance. He was the NFL’s defensive player of the year last season despite missing all of training camp and the season opener due to his first holdout.

Suh isn’t sure how his partnership with Donald will work, but he is confident in the strength of the defense being built by Phillips. Cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib also joined Los Angeles in the offseason, adding an influx of veteran talent to an already solid unit.

Suh has enjoyed getting to know his new teammates at UC Irvine while staying in the dorms – something he hadn’t done since college at Nebraska. Although he has a reputation for headstrong play at times, Suh is mostly relaxed and jovial around the Rams.

Suh is also getting along well with coach Sean McVay, who grinningly declined to disclose the nature of a bet that he lost to Suh earlier in the week – after Suh jumped into his news conference to ask him about it.

”He’s been fun to be around,” McVay said. ”I think once we actually put the pads on, when you’re really playing real football, we’ll get a really good feel. But you certainly feel his presence.”



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