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Want to win in the playoffs? Have a two-way player to lead the way

May 18, 2013, 9:44 AM EDT

Pavel Datsyuk, Jonathan Toews AP

When you take a look at the teams left in the postseason, there’s something most of them has that shows what helped get them there. Having a dominant two-way forward that can both score and defend against the opponents top line gives them a double threat.

Players like this year’s Selke Trophy finalists in Patrice Bergeron, Jonathan Toews, and Pavel Datsyuk show having a weapon like that will get you places in the postseason. As Chicago coach Joel Quenneville told the Associated Press, it makes life easier to have them in the lineup.

“You need those kind of players to win, to be successful. Because you’re going to have times, usually half the time in your shift you’re going to be in your own end or you’re going to have to be defending,” said Quenneville, “and knowing where you have to go and coming up with loose pucks or forcing these guys to make indirect plays where you get the puck back, there’s a skill involved there and there’s some work that’s involved.”

You look elsewhere and you can throw Los Angeles’ Anze Kopitar into this group as well and it’s just further proof to the point. If you want to win and go deep in the postseason, having a top centerman who can score, create plays, and defend you’ll do well.

  1. wingsandthings19 - May 18, 2013 at 9:55 AM

    Being a Wings fan I love Dats. He’s been one of the best two way players for years. That being said, as much as it hurts to say, this is Toews year. Kid has been filthy

    • polegojim - May 18, 2013 at 10:30 AM

      Yes, that kid is amazing… he makes everyone around him better.

      Even Hossa looks renewed because of the two Hawks youth – Toews and Kane.

  2. valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 18, 2013 at 10:16 AM

    This is what so many commenters have been saying is lacking on the Caps team. A leader who can play two-way hockey. Elementary!

    • polegojim - May 18, 2013 at 10:33 AM

      Yes – and the sadest thing is that they have some players with the talent to be two-way powers… but who annually melt-down.

      Ovi starts pouting on ice before games are even over. He gives up and gives in… and others follow this horrible quality. Make no mistake, Ovi is a leader… a poor one.

      What the Caps need most is someone with a resilient heart, even if he has lesser skills.

      • govtminion - May 18, 2013 at 10:45 AM

        Normally they have one- Brooks Laich. He just didn’t get on the ice much this year due to injuries.

  3. govtminion - May 18, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    Outside of goaltending, there may not be anyone on the Bruins roster more important to their success than Bergeron. Game 7 goals aside (only adding to it), his play at both ends of the ice makes him by far and away the key to their success over the past few years.

    • valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 18, 2013 at 10:41 AM

      Hard to argue that Bergeron is best two-way player on the team. Chara is also a force on D playing 30 minutes per game.

      • hockeydon10 - May 18, 2013 at 6:12 PM

        Yeah, but he’s not putting up goals like the forwards mentioned.

  4. steelhammer92 - May 18, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    Pascal Dupuis deserves some recognition as well. He’s a force on the PK as well.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kessel (1951)
  2. P. Kane (1477)
  3. P. Datsyuk (1284)
  4. S. Matthias (1178)
  5. M. Richards (1127)