Grinder Jay McClement is Maple Leafs' 'hidden MVP'

Maple Leafs forward Jay McClement checks the Capitals' Alex Urbom in Toronto's 2-1 shootout win on...

Maple Leafs forward Jay McClement checks the Capitals' Alex Urbom in Toronto's 2-1 shootout win on Saturday night. (CRAIG ROBERTSON/QMI Agency)

ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:19 PM ET

On Saturday night, the assignment was No. 8 for the Washington Capitals. This coming Wednesday, it will be No. 87 for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Just another couple of nights at the office for Leafs centre Jay McClement.

For those who devour the stats pages — both new-age and old — McClement isn’t much to get excited about. For those who reverse the stats page and see what he does to NHL superstars such as the Caps’ Alex Ovechkin and the Pens’ Sidney Crosby, he may well be the Leafs’ hidden MVP so far this season.

While Ovechkin did score his league-leading 20th of the season in Saturday’s 2-1 Toronto shootout win, McClement and linemates Nikolai Kulemin had him under their thumb for much of the night.

Earlier in the week, Islanders standout John Tavares was also blanked and, previously this season, Crosby got the same treatment in a Toronto win.


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