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Chicago has ‘a lot of Kris Letangs,’ says Julien

Jun 12, 2013, 2:20 PM EDT

Kris Letang Getty Images

Claude Julien meant it as a compliment, though we can hear the snickering already.

Today, ahead of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, here’s what the Bruins’ head coach had to say about his team’s opponent, the Chicago Blackhawks:

“When you look at their back end, they have a lot of Kris Letangs, let’s put it that way, that can carry the puck up the ice and attack.”

Never mind that Letang, like the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins stars, would probably like to forget their performance against the Bruins in the Eastern Conference Final.

Letang, at his best, is a smooth-skating defensman with an offensive flair, and the same can be said about Chicago’s Duncan Keith, who has 11 points in 16 games for the ‘Hawks this postseason.

Johnny Oduya, Niklas Hjalmarsson, and Nick Leddy are three other mobile Chicago blue-liners that can make it tough for a team to establish a forecheck.

As always when facing a mobile defense, the key for the Bruins will be to get possession, with speed, through the neutral zone, and if they can’t carry the puck in, at least dump it into the right spots and get after it.

  1. drone501 - Jun 12, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    we got the original

    • goodknave - Jun 12, 2013 at 3:05 PM

      The idea that Letang is a finalist for the Norris Trophy is so laughable, it is absurd. You can keep the original–he and the rest of the Penguins defense is weak at best.

      • dchambers144 - Jun 12, 2013 at 3:46 PM

        I don’t disagree with your comments totally but remember, there is only 1 award for defensemen. Therefore you have to factor offensive ability into the equation and we all know it is easier to quantify points compared to “defensive skills”. Doesn’t make it right but maybe explains it. Maybe they should have more awards for defenseman; best offensive d and best defensive d. Oh, and Letang did have a very good regular season that should at least get him mentioned in the top 5 for Norris. His playoffs on the other hand…

      • drone501 - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:48 PM

        we will keep him and help is on the way. we will be back.

  2. Ald Shot First - Jun 12, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    How is it laughable when his +/- is better or tied with the others and he was the only defensmen to average a point a game. He played terribly during the post-season but it’s a regular season award.

    • dropthepuckeh - Jun 12, 2013 at 3:37 PM

      They should probably poll the forwards on every team and ask them who the most difficult defenseman is to play against in the NHL. I’m guessing 0% would say Letang. Hard to fathom how that qualifies him for the Norris unless the award shifted its focus to the best forward playing “defense”. In Letang’s case it could also be an acting award I suppose…

      FYI – Letang ranked 20th in +/- in the regular season on the team with the highest goal per game average. He was hardly playing defense……

      • 19to77 - Jun 12, 2013 at 4:12 PM

        Pretty easy to rack up a high +/- when you’re on the first power play unit, play all your minutes with Malkin or Crosby and never take a shift on the penalty kill. Kris Letang is actually a really great example of how horribly misleading that stat can be. Or did Jeff Schultz’s +50 in 2010 for Washington make him a good D?

      • chicagobtech - Jun 12, 2013 at 4:20 PM

        19to77, I didn’t think +/- was tracked when a goal was scored by the team on the power play.

  3. ray2013 - Jun 12, 2013 at 5:16 PM

    Too bad they don’t have five Maurice Richards.

  4. sgtr0c - Jun 12, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    It kinda looked like Boston’s strategy was too accept the Pens offensive rush, play conservitively in their zone, and wait for the mistake. Just as the rush was coming, a mistake would also arrive, usually with the offensive-minded defensemen to far forward. I know most believe that the Pens were close to winning a couple of the games, but it did seem they played right into Boston’s game plan. More so now, after it is over.

    Why would Boston change that game, if it already worked against offensive defensemen?

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