Gonchar: Shutdown specialist
Q. How have you been able to contain Daniel Briere's line? Is it just as simple as putting the Staal line out and Gonchar or is there something that you've been able to do to shut it down?If there was some sort of an unsung hero or underrated player award in the playoffs, I think Sergei Gonchar would be my choice at the moment.
COACH THERRIEN: Well, it's not an easy thing to do. They've got a lot of skill. And one thing, Gonchar is doing a fantastic job. Like Gonchar yesterday, picking up three assists, playing so solid defensively. He's been doing that for a long time for us. Last night I thought he was phenomenal and deserved more credit than he receives right now.
This is a guy that always goes under the radar. He's a good leader in that dressing room. He's a good leader on the ice, and he's capable to shut down the best player on the other team. I thought yesterday he did a fantastic job.
For all of the attention, all of the coverage, I've seen very little mention of his role in how dominant the Penguins have been defensively in these playoffs. He's made an incredible transition this season from a purely offence-first blueliner into one of the better defensive defencemen in the league, a little-known fact that's paying off for Pittsburgh in these playoffs.
Has anyone else picked up on his defensive play? And could he potentially get MVP consideration?