pcm wrote:If you confine the discussion from the vague topic of leadership to the subject of getting the most out of the players you play with on the ice (which is what Sykora was talking about), then it's apparent Sykora responds more to Malkin's on-ice leadership style than Sid's abrasive style. Likewise with Malone, Fedetenko, and most every other player who has played with both.
To say Gonchar's "revived career" is the result of Sid's leadership seems to me a great leap in trying to defend your point of view Draftnik. I'd say it is much more likely Gonchar took to Malkin, who makes greatness look easy and fun. Malkin is definitely no floater. But his style gets the most out of those you would call a floater.
The disappointments so far this season open up the door for questioning the leadership of this team. Crosby as captain is going to take the brunt of that criticism. All talk is just speculation on the part of fans since we can hardly qualify the situation inside the dressing room with facts. The one fact that the team is outside of the playoffs is enough to make people look at the situation from all angles. Crosby, the too-young captain unable to click with linemates, is one angle.
Crosby is the Pens Captain, not the captain of his line. He leads the entire team. Using Sykora and Malone as examples of NHL players with relevant opinions on anything is comical. Malone was an indifferent player for most of his career and only got serious when he was playing for an UFA contract. Sykora's indifference is well chronicled and 30 GMs basically told him he was too lazy and too much of a risk for anything other than a 1 year late signing UFA deal in 06/07. I don't doubt both of them like playing with somebody that doesn't chastise them for their carefree ways. On the other hand, Crosby's work rate, intensity, high tempo, etc are what make him one of the NHL's best players in addition to his talent. If Sid didn't play with that passion, drive, ferocity, etc he wouldn't be the player he is. It is absurd to think Sid should dumb his approach down to sink to the level of Sykora and Malone. All that would create is 3 lazy players instead of 2.
Look at Sykora this season:http://www.hockey-reference.com/pp/pgl.cgi?player=sykorpe01&year=2009
17 goals, scored in 11 of 45 games played. The number of multi-goal games is striking. He clearly is capable of raising his level of play, but he doesn't do it on a consistent enough basis despite playing much of that time with Malkin and even some of that time with Malkin and Crosby.
Also, look at his career:http://www.hockey-reference.com/players/s/sykorpe01.html
The only 2 times he topped 30 goals his shots per game averaged ~ 3.5. He has been at 2.5 shots per game with the Pens with a bit less ice time per game than those seasons, but certainly not enough to justify a full shot less per game. Sykora is the one with the problem despite playing with Malkin. Sykora needs to be kicked in the a## by somebody and forced to work harder to get into scoring position more often so he can get more shots and goals. Despite Sykora's self professed fondness for playing with Malkin he isn't backing it up on the ice with an effort that indicates Malkin is pushing Sykora to work hard. I do not mean this as in indictment of Malkin. Sykora is obviously the one that needs to look in the mirror and work harder regardless of who blows him kisses or curses him.
Despite the LGP anti-Ovie vibe that shots on goal are a bad thing, it is an indication of how hard goal scorers are working and trying to score goals:http://www.nhl.com/ice/app?service=page&page=playerstats&fetchKey=20092ALLAASAll&viewName=summary&sort=shots&pg=4
Sykora ranks 99th in the NHL in SOG. That is a pretty pathetic output IMO for a guy allegedly working hard because he loves playing with Malkin. Shooting the puck and scoring goals are the only reasons Sykora is in the NHL.