It would be easy enough to focus on his clever opening goal against Nashville, from the side of the face-off circle – his 6th of the season.
But what really stood out were the two assists.
In assisting on JVR’s goal Marner took a superbly timed hit – on his part – at centre ice…
and dished the puck to Bozak, who eventually sett up JVR.
And then he battled for a puck and won it (remember he is a 160 lb rookie) and then deftly tipped a pass on to the stick of JVR who could not miss with that pass from that position…
After the game coach Mike Babcock gushed about the Leaf rookie who is not Auston I-Scored-4-Goals-In-My-First-Game Matthews:
“Marner’s a special player. He not only has the skill, but he competes with and without the puck . . . I’ve never coached a kid that young that good.” (Star)
Gulp. This a man who coached Datsuyk and Lidstrom and doesn’t dish out praise too freely – so let’s repeat his words:
“I’ve never coached a kid that young that good.”
People have compared Marner to Patrick Kane.
Fair enough but one of Marner’s great and unique skills (see the 2-0 goal) – being able to safely take and absorb and effectively avoid hits all the while creating positive space and seeing the ice and the right pass and the brilliant pass – remind me of someone else – Wayne Gretzky.
Marner is virtually un-hittable – unless he wants to be, as he was on the 2-0 goal.
I know that it’s crazy and a stretch and I’m not saying he could become Gretzky in his totality but as Babcock says, Marner is looking like a truly special player.
If so maybe then he won’t be like Patrick Kane.
Maybe he’ll be better?