Mike Comrie is a former 30-goal scorer in the NHL. But he hasn't even had a sniff at 20 goals in two seasons. From the looks of things, he'll get a chance to reach that plateau this season considering he's been playing quite a bit with Evgeni Malkin on a line in the early days of training camp. He spoke yesterday about Malkin, playing center, his potential in the shootout and Pittsburgh as a hockey market.
Is Malkin comparable to anyone he's played with before?
"No. I think the first couple days, you try to learn some tendencies. He’s a guy I’ve seen play a lot. He holds onto the puck than any player I’ve seen. Between him and Sid (Crosby), they compliment the players around them. In the scrimmage today, we did a great job of give-and-go, using each other and getting open and creating cycles."
On playing center with Malkin.
"I think that the biggest thing for this team is that we want to have four lines that can play. With the way that the new game is structured and with the way the new rules are, its more of a forward position now than the center only plays the middle and the wingers only play on their sides. There’s so much reading and reacting and so much crisscrossing, first-man in and first-man back."
On Crosby and Malkin playing as centers.
"‘Geno’ and Sid, you want them to be all over the ice because when they are, they’re creating chances and they’re tough for other teams to contain. And Geno is a smart enough player that he’s going to create chances at any forward position and that’s what makes him a special player."
Could he see some work in shootouts considering he has a career success rate of 31.6 percent?
"We haven’t talked about it. I think there’s a lot of guys who are qualified in this room. It’s something that when you get the opportunity, you have to make the most of it. There’s guys who have high percentages and guys who take more of them, but when there’s only three shots per game, they mean a lot."
How does Pittsburgh compare as hockey market compared to some of the other places he has played?
"I think you can see how much this organization and this new building means to this market. In my ten years, I haven’t seen this many (fans) in training camp. And I’ve played in some traditional hockey markets. It’s exciting as a player to go out there and play at a high-paced practice and scrimmage with the amount of people who are here. The lower bowl was pretty full. That says a lot, especially on a football Sunday."
(Photo: Jimmy Jeong/Getty Images)