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Blame Vlasic? Hold On



Credit: Hockey Shots/Dean Tait

NEWARK, N.J. – It’s Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s fault, right?

Yegor Sharangovich (17) pickpockets Vlasic (44), goal.

Considering that the San Jose Sharks lost just 2-1 to the New Jersey Devils, Vlasic’s mistake loomed large.

But after the game, head coach David Quinn spoke up for his veteran defender: “It was actually poor execution by some of the forwards there. Listen, when you give up a goal like that, it’s five guys’ shared responsibility. So it’s not just on Vlasic.

“There were some things that went on away from the puck, we could’ve done to help him.”

Was this just a case of a coach protecting his player?

According to Hockey Tactics 2022: The Playbook author Jack Han, Quinn has a point.

“Timo Meier was way too close to him,” Han observed. “How can Vlasic make a play when he’s got a teammate in his hands? You don’t crowd your teammates like that when they have the puck. If there’s a turnover, then you’re both behind the play.”

Keep in mind, nobody is absolving the San Jose Sharks blueliner of any responsibility. But it’s often too easy to simply blame the player who turned it over or the last jersey you see before a goal allowed as the sole culprit.

“If you want your defensemen to make plays instead of going glass and out all the time, then [a turnover like that] is going to happen on occasion,” Han noted. “Again, it’s tough enough to make an exit without a teammate skating right into your stick.”

It’s hard to say what Meier is thinking there, but Quinn admitted that the San Jose Sharks star winger, goalless through seven games, is pressing: “You want to impact the game so much, you want to help your team so much, and sometimes, you force things.”

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