Feb 17, 2014, 6:27 PM EST
Much of the talk about Canada’s defense has centered around either the guys not playing or the stellar play of Drew Doughty. One of the guys flying under the radar, however, is San Jose Sharks blue liner Marc-Edouard Vlasic.
As Arpon Basu at NHL.com shares, Vlasic has one big-time fan in Canada coach Mike Babcock.
“I just told somebody [Monday] morning that Vlasic is way better than everybody knows,” Babcock said. “He’s a really, really good player; Doughty gets to do anything he wants and Vlasic is always in a great spot. He’s a good defender, he’s become harder. He used to be a thin kid, now he’s a thick man. He’s hard, he’s smart, he skates, he moves the puck and he’s safe.”
Vlasic being the more defensive-minded half of a pairing with Doughty gives him a chance to shine in that role and that’s just what he’s doing.
Babcock referring to Vlasic as “safe” instantly makes him one of the more trusted guys on defense. The fact that he allows Doughty to have room to maneuver and help with the offense should make him Canada’s favorite defenseman.
- Report: Rob Blake would be Brendan Shanahan’s first choice to replace Dave Nonis 3
- Bettman would be ‘kicking and screaming’ before NHL jerseys have ads 14
- Comparing the records of all 30 teams in the last two months 58
- Lightning ride Paquette’s first hat trick to Atlantic lead 8
- Price wins goalie duel vs. Lundqvist as Habs edge Rangers 4
- Leafs’ luck: Bernier gives up long distance goal, things unravel in third 20
- AHL announces new Pacific Division — who could go west next? 36
- Babcock didn’t think Wings would be ‘near where we’re at’ 16
- Brodeur announces retirement, leaves ‘the game with a big smile on my face’ 16
- NHL on NBCSN: Sharks’ ‘dog fight’ continues vs. red hot Ducks 5