Playoff Intel: Shutting down the stars

NHL players dish on how to beat some of their fellow skating stars

Originally Published: April 14, 2010
By E.J. Hradek & Lindsay Berra | ESPN The Magazine

As the playoffs kick into gear, ESPN Insider puts some of the NHL's stars in the crosshairs with the help of those who know them best. Rivals provide scouting reports to show Insiders how to stop some of the postseason's biggest names. Tendencies, strengths, weaknesses -- it's all here in our player-on-player scouting reports.

Containing Sidney Crosby: Briefing by Craig Rivet

"You talk about him as a pass-first player, but the guy scored 51 goals this year ... Are there players with better shots? Absolutely. Do those players have 51 goals? No." - Rivet

Eliminating Alex Ovechkin: Briefing by Rob Scuderi

"If there's a 50-50 puck I think I could pinch in and get, if I'm playing against a guy like Ovechkin, I'm probably not going take a chance. It's not worth the risk." - Scuderi

Covering Ilya Kovalchuk: Briefing by Chris Pronger

"Kovalchuk has so much ability. Once he gets the puck he's very dangerous. He's always looking to shoot the puck." - Pronger

Putting down Patrick Kane: Briefing by Scott Niedermayer and Niklas Kronwall

"I don't know if I've ever seen him get hit, to be honest with you. He's so good, and so slippery, it's hard to get a real clean hit on him. You have to approach him a little bit differently." - Kronwall


Bottling Nicklas Backstrom: Briefing by Eric Staal

"He seems to be calm when things aren't going well and he's calm when things are going great. Even if you drove your fist in the back of his head, he's not going to get too riled up ... He just tries to beat you in other ways." - Staal

Taking down Ryan Miller: Briefing by Zach Parise and Daniel Briere

"What I noticed at the Olympics especially is when you think he's down and out, he still finds a way to make a save. It's unbelievable." - Parise


Tying up the Sedin Twins: Briefing by Brent Seabrook

"I think you have to think of them as a pair of players, the Sedins, not Daniel and Henrik ... [they] are always thinking the identical thing, and it's very difficult to play against." - Seabrook

Beating Nicklas Lidstrom: Briefing by Patrick Kane and Joe Pavelski

"Even if you have a power play or a 5-on-3, it's like a 5-on-4 when he's out there because he's all over the ice. Now, hopefully, he just keeps getting older and will retire soon." - Kane


Stopping Patrick Marleau: Briefing by Scott Niedermayer

"I think you want to get up as close to him as you can and try to get as much speed as you can. If you're sitting back and caught flat footed you're really going to pay the price." - Niedermayer

Scoring on Ilya Bryzgalov: Briefing by Ryan Getzlaf

"He's pretty calm, but if he can't get out and challenge and use his big body ... he doesn't slide around the screen that well." - Getzlaf