‘Tis better to give
As the years go by, Tomas Plekanec is growing more confident and more generous. That’s great news for Pleky and his linemates; not such a welcome change for the rest of the NHL.
After capping off 2008-09 with a disappointing 39 points, the 27-year-old center bounced back and has exploded out of the gate in 2009-10. Plekanec is on a mission to top the career-high 69 points he racked up alongside Alex Kovalev and Andrei Kostitsyn in 2007-08.
Focused and driven heading into the offseason last year, the Kladno, Czech Republic native took some time to learn a little more about himself and his opponents and hit the gym harder than ever.
Since the start of the current campaign, Plekanec has established himself as one of the best assist men in the league, edging out star playmakers Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby for fifth in the NHL in that category.
Only 31 games into the season, Plekanec has already hit the 25-assist mark thanks to his three-assist night in Ottawa on Tuesday. Just to put things in perspective, the playmaking Czech totaled 19 assists in 80 games all of last season. Pleky has also racked up eight games with two or more assists in 2009-10, with the Habs picking up the win on each of those nights.
Considering no Canadiens player has hit the 60-asisst mark since Bobby Smith in 1986-87, few Habs players have produced at Plekanec’s current rate. One to have even topped his pace was Saku Koivu who in 1996-97 was leading the NHL with 25 helpers in only 28 games before suffering a knee injury.
With the holidays right around the corner, Pleky knows as well anyone that it’s better to give than to receive, especially when Michael Cammalleri is the one pulling the trigger on the other end.
Alexandre Harvey is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Shauna Denis and Manny Almela.
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