The art of the hipcheck

Is it mere coincidence that after Rob Scuderi’s fine, for his low hit on the Jason Chimera, that Drew Doughty executed two perfect hip checks in the next two games? He had one against San Jose and an even better one last night against Vancouver. A couple days ago, Terry Murray — former NHL defenseman — was asked about hipchecks, and whether they’re still effective…

MURRAY: “I think it’s a very effective tactic. I think it is a hit that was prevalent in the game in the 60s and 70s, maybe even the 80s. I had Scott Stevens, as an 18-year-old, coming into the National Hockey League, and that was the play of the day for him, in his career. There’s a very fine line, as we know, as to getting too low, and how to effectively use that kind of a hit. I think, with the checking we have in our game today, the attitude of everybody tracking back hard to home plate, and you’ve got five guys on the hunt, pressuring players from behind, that’s a hit that’s just there. It’s a good hit, it’s a clean hit and, I think, as we go forward with the style of play we’re seeing, we might see more of that coming back to our games.”

Murray was then asked why there seem to be fewer hipchecks in the game today…

MURRAY: “Timing is everything. I remember Don Cherry saying, about goaltenders using the poke check, `If you miss the poke check, you know where the faceoff is going to be.’ It’s kind of the same thing with the hip check. Timing is everything. You have to just execute it properly. The referees are going to watch it closely, and you could end up with a minor penalty.”

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