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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Adams, C. You Can Depend On Me by @pghgirl15222

If you were to ask Penguin fans to tell you the first player who comes to mind when they hear the word “dependable”, many I am sure would think of offensive minded players like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and so forth. But often the word “dependable” in the context of hockey can often be skewed because offensive stats are the first thing to pop into the minds of many. One player who deserves consideration for the term, should be Craig Adams. Adams is about as far away as from offense as many know, but at 36, he has been playing his same game since entering the league in 2000-01 with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Adams delivers a style of play that many would call hard nose; a guy who doesn’t fight for his minutes, but rather earns them based on his style and reputation on the ice. Adams has really showed no signs of slowing down to allow more youthful guys to take over. As a result he was reward with a two year extension this off-season at an average annual value of $700,000. The six foot, 197 pound winger has become an unmistakable player on the Penguins; a player that knows what he needs to do and does it well. He is situational player who would never be mistaken for taking a shift on a power play, but rather he often starts his shifts in the defensive zone, whether on a penalty kill (where he is often found) or facing a stronger offensive unit from the opposing team.

During the 2012-13 season, Adams played all 48 games and led all forwards with 2:39 shorthanded minutes during the regular season while embracing his role as an irreplaceable part of the penalty kill on the Penguins. Another reason for his dependable tag would be the fact that he manages to stay “healthy” (I use that term loosely) over the course of a season. With the exception of a few seasons, Adams is a regular in the lineup despite often sporting a trade mark black eye or many of his covered bruises. Dependability is an often missed aspect in players and even some of the best have gone down for significant periods of time. Not Craig Adams, he is as sturdy as they make them. That high number of games is also a reflection on just how much coaches love him. Very rarely is he a healthy scratch because his coaches throughout his career recognize the value that Adams brings to a team.

During the playoffs last year, he led the team with an average of 3:34 shorthanded minutes and mounted 28 hits. These are impressive numbers for a forward of his type and the Penguins know it. He has spent the past four seasons with the Penguins after being claimed off waivers from the Chicago Blackhawks. Adams has found a home in Pittsburgh and has never left because he fits in so perfectly here. These are my favorite players; the grinders. These are the guys that go out there and make a huge difference that is often not found on the score sheet. Fans may not notice them and Adams has never been a hot shot type player . What Adams has though, is consistency and the Penguins notice it. Adams has two playoff rings (Carolina in 2005-06 and Pittsburgh in 2008-09) and he deserves them both. During the Pens 2009 Stanley Cup run he added with 5 points in 24 games.

Thus far this year he has 5 points as well and playing like a well-oiled machine in ways. He is a strong two-way forward who knows his strengths and he plays to them. He can fight, he contributes around the net, and he can defend. He really can help in all aspects of the game. On October 4, 2013 Adams scored his 50th career goal in his 800th career game. Not bad for a guy who was taken in the 9th round (223 overall). His stats will never be flashy and neither will he. What Adams offers far exceeds the expectations that fans often have a player who can’t score regularly. He is a workhorse, knows what is asked of him and is fine with it. He is underrated, and is okay with that. At 36 years old he shows no signs of slowing down and, as a Penguins fan, I like player who I can always depend on.

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