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Logan Couture

Defensemen are key figures for Penguins and Sharks

Defensemen are key figures for Penguins and Sharks

Maybe the NHL should establish a separate category and award to distinguish traditional, stay-back-and-defend defenseman from their more adventurous peers, the ones who jump so far up into the play that they sometimes lead it. For now, all defensemen are judged together, an impossible task.

If last year’s Stanley Cup tournament was dominated by the excellence of rugged and tireless Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks, the unanimous choice for the Conn Smythe trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs, this spring’s festivities have tilted toward the other end of the defenseman spectrum. Without the offensive exploits of shaggy-bearded Brent Burns, the San Jose Sharks...