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welter of bodies that occupy the low slo

As hockey fans, we are enchanted when players and goaltenders are left
flailing and rendered powerless. When Evgeni Malkin floats past
defenders and deposits the puck in the back of the net, it is cinematic.
When Sidney Crosby bounces off coverage and lays the puck on his
teammate’s stick, it is grace epitomized. Phil Kessel’s slackened
posture at the faceoff dot and self assured stride with the puck belie
the blistering snap shot he unleashes when he likes his scoring angle.
The Penguins are dynamic and their players entertain in various ways.

Patric Hornqvist is not a superstar,
but he is arguably one of Pittsburgh’s most valuable forwards. On June
17, 2014, the Penguins traded James Neal, one of the NHL’s most gifted
goal scorers, for Hornqvist, a player who does not need the puck to be
effective and who has been instrumental in the Penguins’ consecutive Cup

The Golden Goal

In Game 6 of the Cup final, when teammate Justin Schultz stroked a
slap shot to create a carom, it was Hornqvist who crept behind the
Predators’ Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis. Hornqvist was left alone with a
bouncing puck, and he managed to corral the ricochet and direct the puck
off Pekka Rinne’s back to win the game – and the Cup. It took
tremendous agility to spin away from Rinne and seize the puck to bunt it
onto Rinne’s back.

In fact, it was fitting that the Penguins won on that opportunity.
Schultz purposefully shot off target to get the puck toward the net and
past Predators Viktor Arvidsson and Ellis who both attempted to block it
. Part of the Pittsburgh ethos is shooting to score on the second
chance attempt, and Schultz’s vision allowed for Hornqvist to jam the
puck in from along the goal line.

In general,
there is too much traffic obstructing shooting and passing lanes in the
current NHL, but by funneling the puck toward the net, and playing the
retrieval through a follow up shot or by a deflection, you change the
course of the trajectory. The Penguins want the opposing goaltender to
feel as uncomfortable as possible, and Hornqvist’s puckish antics and
soft hands around the paint do just that.

Hornqvist animates the Penguins’ offense by consistently winning one
on one battles to control the puck. It is what makes him such an
outstanding complement to Crosby. Give talented people ample opportunity
and the effects are deleterious for the opponent. An opposing
defenseman retreats in his own zone to retrieve the puck; he hears a
vibration, a steady rumble. Hornqvist will take a great angle on the
forecheck, hound the opposing puck carrier until he gains control, and
then try to move the puck toward the scoring areas.

Hornqvist is cheeky in other ways,
too. He specializes in the accidentally on purpose off the puck contact
to open up lanes for his teammates. His methods of support come in ways
other than lifting an enemy skater’s stick so Crosby can filch the puck
and run.

Related Kunitz Hornqvist Personify Pittsburgh

Hornqvist Thrives in All Situations

His retrieval ability enriches the Penguins’ top power play unit.
Hornqvist stands in the low slot, blocks the goaltender’s sightline and
tries to deflect pucks and jam in rebounds. If the puck misses the net,
Hornqvist doggedly pursues it and then passes it back to the superstars.
The math is widely published on the impact of controlling the puck and
increasing shot attempts. Success follows.

Patric Hornqvist

Patric Hornqvist John E. Sokolowski USA TODAY Sports

Coach Mike Sullivan used Hornqvist aggressively on defensive zone
starts in the 2016 17 playoffs. Hornqvist started almost 69 percent of
faceoffs in the defensive zone, after starting just nearly 60 in the
offensive zone in 2015 16. Sullivan recognized a different way he could
use Hornqvist and wanted to harness his irreproachable skill of winning
the vis à vis.

Hornqvist is unique – he thrives on chaos. While every player craves
more space, only a few have the acumen to generate room at will.
Hornqvist seeks no such comfort. His best work is with the opponent
inches away from him. He thrives under duress Pittsburgh Penguins Customize Jersey,
in the messy, welter of bodies that occupy the low slot. His influence
is in plain sight and thus more ordinary, and that makes his offense and
scoring opportunities look more understated. One of the first lessons
hockey players learn is to keep your stick on the ice and crash the net.
Hornqvist has made a great living off of the first ten minutes of
hockey camp.
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