When the Penguins signed defenseman Zbynek Michalek in the summer, there really wasn't any sort of confusion over what he was brought here for. Along with Paul Martin, he was expected to help the Penguins shore up a defense which allowed 2.87 goals per game in 2009-10, 11th-worst in the league.
Block shots. Prevent goals. Etc. That what Michalek was here for. Any offense he could provide would be a nice bonus but he wasn't expected to make anyone forget Sergei Gonchar.
That said, he did have a few handful of 20-point seasons with the Coyotes so it was realistic he could produce some offense with a skilled team like the Penguins.
The first 58 games of his season didn't exactly do much to validate those hopes as he failed to score a single goal. But out of no where seemingly, Michalek has scored two goals in his past three games.
Yesterday, he discussed his sudden offensive burst and the amount of extra ice time he has received as a result of injuries on the blue line:
On getting two goals in three games after being scoreless in his first 58 games:
"It definitely feels good. It’s a big relief for me. I was getting tired of my friends asking me when I would score my fire goal. It’s a big monkey off my back. It feels good. It gives me some confidence that I can still score. It was always on the back of my mind. I can finally relax. "
On having confidence with his shot:
"I have a pretty good shot I think and I have to use it more and be more accurate and hit the net. When I do that, I can be pretty successful. This season, for some reason I wasn’t successful doing that. Shots were getting blocked or I wasn’t hitting the net. Last two goals, I just tried to get them on net and they went in."
On picking up more minutes with Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen out:
"Lately our schedule has been pretty easy. We’ve got a little bit of rest and some days off. When everybody plays more minutes, everybody feels better. I don’t know any guy who’s going to complain about playing too much."
(Photos: Abelimages/Getty Images)