Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Guentzel Slips into New Roles by Necessity He's Full Time at Center and as Penalty-Killer

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Guentzel Slips into New Roles by Necessity He's Full Time at Center and as Penalty-Killer

Article excerpt

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Jake Guentzel knows what it takes to be a good NHL center.

He should; he spent most of last season playing next to one of the best.

But over the past five games, Guentzel has shown that he doesn't just know how to be a good center, he has the skill necessary to do it himself.

Guentzel has taken over third-line center duties for the Penguins in the past two weeks, since Carter Rowney went down with an upper-body injury. His long-term future likely is still at wing, but Guentzel has been a more-than-capable fill-in.

"I think just [his] hockey sense, that's the biggest thing," Crosby said. "He's really smart, knowing where to go on the ice. The fact that he can play any position, basically, is big. To be able to step into center is not an easy thing, either. He's shown an ability to do that. I think just hockey sense and the way he skates allows him to kind of get to those areas and make those reads. It's never an easy transition, but he's done a really good job with it."

Guentzel admitted it wasn't quite a seamless transition, but he has started to feel a bit more comfortable in the middle over the past couple games.

"You're not really thinking as much anymore, you're just kind of going out and it's more instinct now," Guentzel said.

"Feel a little bit more confident, but there's still room to grow."

Guentzel played center in college and moonlighted there for the Penguins in emergency situations in the past, but this is the longest stretch of his pro career at the position. The biggest difference, he said, is the defensive responsibilities.

"Just playing goal line to goal line," Guentzel said. "You've got to play the whole ice, and you've got to defend harder.

"Takes a little bit more energy out of you."

Guentzel's minutes have dipped a bit over these past five games - 13:17 per game vs. 17:25 per game in the first 41 - but he has taken on some other responsibilities you might expect of a third-line center.

Specifically, he has started spending some more time on the penalty kill. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.