At the onset of a new season, general mangers put together a team that they believe will have success and a team that they believe is built for a playoff run. The general manger will identify his superstars, his top six wingers, his top four defenseman, and his enforcers. Then, the front office look for players who are competitive and safe to make up the forth line. Usually those players see six to twelve minutes of ice time and score a few points here and there. Ask Jim Rutherford who he thought would be a top three goal scorer for his Penguins at the end of December a few months ago, I’d bet almost anything that he would not have said, Blake Comeau… the Improbable Hero in Pittsburgh.
An Improbable Hero
The Pittsburgh Penguins have played several games in December without most of their top six wingers. Sidney Crosby got the mumps, Chris Kunitz suffered a foot fracture, Beau Bennett has a knee injury AND the mumps… It’s been tough for the Pens. They’ve had to call up several Baby Pens from Wilkes Barre and the lines have been excessively jumbled.
Blake Comeau has been a forth line skater for many years. That was his role in Columbus for the past few seasons, and that’s what he came to Pittsburgh to be. Comeau was asked how he planned on nailing down a bottom six role in Pittsburgh when he arrived…
“For myself, it’s just going out and playing the way how I know to play. Playing that power forward physical style… As long as I play the way I know how I can play, I’ll let the cards fall into place where they may.”
He’s played the way he knows how, and due to unforeseen injuries, he’s been given an opportunity to skate as a top six forward. He’s off to the best start of his career and he’s already scored more goals this season than he did in the last two years combined.
Blake Comeau Stats
|REGULAR SEASON STATS|
A hero is someone who steps into a situation and saves the day…
But no one thought Blake Comeau would be scoring at such a high rate and at such big moments. He has three game winning goals and scored his first hat trick since 2010 in a memorable game for the Penguins. Sidney Crosby notched his 800th career point and Comeau scored three goals including the game winner in OT.
Comeau is poised to have a career year.
He has 10 goals 29 games. That’s more than he’s had in a season since 2010-11. He has 18 points; also more than he’s had since 2010-11. He’s converting on 17% of his shots and that is a career best. He’s earned ice time and Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are speaking highly of his ability.
And speaking of career years, how about Marc-Andre Fleury and his league leading/career best six shutouts?
The cards have surely fallen in Comeau’s favor and he’s gone from forth liner to Hero in a few short weeks.
— Ian Altenbaugh (@IanAltenbaugh) December 19, 2014
Blake Comeau with his 11th goal of the season and third game-winner. Again, great value for $700,000.
— Seth Rorabaugh (@SethRorabaugh) December 19, 2014
Blake Comeau and Marc-Andre Fleury. That is all.
— Casey Johnston 🎄🎁🎅🏻 #blacklivesmatter (@DarthHockey) December 19, 2014
Evgeni Malkin has been great, but I may agree with Casey and give the “third of the season MVP awards” to Comeau and Fleury. If he continues to produce at this rate, he may find himself in Pittsburgh for a few more years. He’s proven his stock and he’s turning heads. Will it continue? Not all heroes get a sequel.
Smith works full time with Rise Against Hunger, a non-profit set on ending world hunger by 2030. He’s a hockey enthusiast living in Pittsburgh, PA and formerly covered the Pittsburgh Penguins for THW.
Follow him on twitter @BSmithWV