Game 2 of the Senators-Penguins series was nothing short of fantastic.
It had everything you wanted in a playoff game: Big hits, exhilarating pace and hard-fought battles. It was anybody’s game right up until the end.
Neither team was giving an inch and it was a battle for real estate all night.
The highlight of the night for Ottawa fans was the Andy Sutton stampede-like wallop on Jordan Leopold — and don’t even bring up whether it was a clean hit.
Sutton is 6-foot-6, Leopold’s head was down and he was approaching the area which is quickly becoming known as Sutton’s alley.
When a player enters Sutton’s alley with his head down and a 6-foot-6 man is lining you up, your head is going to get the brunt of the blow — and, yes, I am an expert.
The highlight of the night for the Penguins and maybe Stanley Cup playoffs thus far was the Sidney Crosby’s setup for the game winner.
It was an awesome display of speed and skill he put on behind the net before feeding Kris Letang for the winner.
Fans who watched Friday’s game marvelled at the clinic Crosby put on.
Pull out of my seat
I was pulled out of my seat by Crosby’s power skating demo, but what impressed me the most was Crosby’s ability to keep his balance while controlling the puck and cutting on his edges at high speeds in close quarters.
To me it was mainly due to the fine art of performing the 10 and 2.
The 10 and 2, for those of you who don’t know, is the ability to set your feet in time as you skate. The left foot is positioned at the 10 o’clock hour of your pocket watch and your right foot is set at the 2 o’clock hour of your grandfather clock.
Actually , it doesn’t matter what kind of clock you use, 10 and 2 is a term that NHL players have used for years to describe a player’s footwork.
The 10 and 2 has been around for quite some time. Ulf Dahlen, a big power forward who scored more than 300 goals in 900-plus NHL games, was the pioneer of the 10 and 2. He used to go to it quite often behind the net, but only at about half the speed of Crosby.
Doug Weight, who I faced many times throughout my career, was one of the few players that liked to go to the 10 and 2 while crossing over the opposition’s blue line, he was awesome at it.
Norton gained speed
The 10 and 2 actually became part of Weight’s skating stride as his career went on.
Jeff Norton, one of the best-skating defencemen of the 1990s, began his patented rushes with the 10 and 2 and somehow seemed to gain extra speed thanks to his perfect execution of it.
Dahlen, Weight and Norton helped get the 10 and 2 started, but Crosby has perfected it .
Crosby’s speed, agility and strength in the corners makes him a unique threat every time he steps on the ice.
It is not often you see skill players fly into the corners at full speed and protect the puck the way Crosby does.
Daniel Alfredsson is Ottawa’s best in that department.
Crosby was brilliant in Pittsburgh’s 2-1 win Friday night and the 10 and 2 factored in.
Jason York is a retired 13-year NHL veteran, who played five seasons with the Senators.