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David Clarkson’s lack of agitation is by design

May 6, 2012, 1:51 PM EDT

Zach Parise, David Clarkson Getty Images

If you’ve been watching the Devils-Flyers series and you’ve been wondering where the rougher edge to David Clarkson‘s game has gone, you’re not alone. Clarkson scored 30 goals this season but he’s also known for getting under the skin of opponents and the Flyers haven’t exactly been agitated by him.

Devils coach Peter DeBoer tells Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice there’s no mistake being made that the rougher part of Clarkson’s game is absent during this series.

“I’ve asked him to play whistle to whistle and kind of get away from the agitation role that is typically part of his game because we don’t really need it right now,” DeBoer said. “We want to play 5-on-5. We’ve been one of the best 5-on-5 teams, I think, in the league in the last six to eight weeks. So, that’s our game.”

It’s strange to think that an agitating player would be asked to put that part of his game away for a round, but with how the Flyers power play performed against Pittsburgh, it makes sense.

It’s a bit of a strange move to ask a player to come out of his element, but Clarkson showed this season he can be effective by crashing the net and jumping on rebounds rather than face washing foes. If he keeps this up, they might just ask him to keep scoring goals no matter what.

  1. cerealrapist - May 6, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    Smart move… Scoring the go-ahead goal is way more agitating to your opponents.

    • upper90cheese - May 6, 2012 at 4:05 PM

      The last time Clarkson fought a Flyer, Wayne Simmons laid a beating on him (solid KD victory). That is probably why Clarkie glued his gloves on this series.

      • danphipps01 - May 6, 2012 at 4:55 PM

        That, and he’s straight-up good at playing clean, offensive hockey. He doesn’t need to be an agitator to be useful, and DeBoer clearly recognizes that. It’s the same as Matt Cooke – if anything, he’s more effective when he cuts the superfluous crap out of his game.

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