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Sheng’s Daily: Nate Schmidt Isn’t At Fault for Radulov Goal

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Yesterday at San Jose Hockey Now, we caught up with Noah Gregor.

The 22-year-old San Jose Sharks winger shared his thoughts about changing his jersey number, what his goal song next year might be, and more about his dad, Colin Gregor, who played for Roy Sommer in Richmond 25 years ago.

Noah Gregor: “I’ll probably stick with 73.”

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In other San Jose Sharks news…

How about Conor Garland to the Sharks? (Locked On Sharks)

Arizona State head coach Greg Powers clues us in on Brinson and Steenn Pasichnuk, the newest additions to the San Jose organization. (San Jose Barracuda)

Around the NHL…

I saw a lot of people getting on Nate Schmidt for getting caught up ice on Alexander Radulov’s OT winner. And indeed, when the play broke down, Schmidt’s aggressiveness up the ice forced his partner Brayden McNabb to cover Joe Pavelski in Schmidt’s customary right defense position, which opened up McNabb’s left defense lane for Radulov.

Peter DeBoer pushed back on blaming Schmidt though.

“I don’t pin either of those [goals] on our defensemen,” DeBoer said to Brian Blessing, referring in part to the Radulov goal. “We’re asking our defensemen to get up into the play, and that’s a big piece of our game. Part of that is we have to manage the puck well, knowing that, and I thought that was a bit of an issue.”

He’s absolutely right. Let’s rewind the sequence:

Focus on two Golden Knights, puck carrier Reilly Smith (19) and Schmidt (88) coming from behind.

Schmidt, as he should, is trusting Smith to enter the zone and make a good play. Schmidt is also forced to step up because of Jonathan Marchessault’s fall near center ice. If Schmidt doesn’t fill in, then Smith is basically attacking alone.

If anything, when Marchessault (81) gets up, he should cover for Schmidt, who has the momentum going forward.

But most importantly, Smith does not “manage the puck well.” Whether that’s more because of Miro Heiskanen’s confident gap and stick — it’s really stunning defense from Heiskanen (4) — or an error on Smith’s part, the attacker loses the puck in the wrong place, high in the zone.

Jamie Benn (14) picks up the loose change, and Schmidt, his trust betrayed by Smith, stops up at the Dallas blueline, far from his normal defensive position.

Schmidt is in no man’s land through no fault of his own — he’s too far to skate back and recover that way, so his only option is to try to hold the line and defend the pass up the ice.

The key pass in this sequence isn’t Pavelski’s to Radulov, but Benn’s to Pavelski (16).

Benn goes through Schmidt and the linesman — in fact, it looks like Schmidt gets a stick on the pass — to hit Pavelski up the ice. Kudos also to Pavelski for some good footwork to handle the pass into his skates.

From there, it’s a fairly simple connection from Pavelski to Radulov.

Anyway, Schmidt was doing his job — Smith wasn’t.

Speaking of breaking it down, I defended another maligned defenseman for NYI Hockey Now:

Don’t Blame Greene and His Turnover for Kucherov Goal

Is Boston thinking of moving on from Zdeno Chara? (Boston Hockey Now)

Can Jim Rutherford escape cap jail? (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)

Joe Sakic and Jared Bednar address Colorado’s playoff injuries. (Colorado Hockey Now)

Florida’s new AHL affiliate is the Charlotte Checkers. (Florida Hockey Now)

I can now say, I’d love to karaoke with Nick Foligno:

The NHL is a copycat league, but Jon Cooper is not a copycat coach. (The Athletic)

At least 17 NHL teams have reduced employee pay during the COVID-19 crunch. (TSN)

25 off-season trade candidates — will the San Jose Sharks be in on any of them? (Sportsnet)

Sean Couturier wins the Selke Trophy. (NHL)

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