Jackson and Jones recap the Flyers' win
Nicklas Grossmann has 92 blocked shots this season, just eight short of tying his career high in that category. (USA Today Images)
Flyers defenseman Nicklas Grossmann is close to breaking his personal record for shot blocking.
Going into Thursday’s game against Columbus, Grossmann and Montreal’s Josh Gorges were tied for third in the NHL with 91 shot blocks each.
Following the 5-4 win over the Blue Jackets (see story), he has 92 blocks.
Grossmann’s career high is 100, which he set twice as a member of the Dallas Stars in 2008-09 and 2009-10, respectively.
Ironically, he is on pace to shatter that record with a projected 219 blocks this season.
“Yeah, I don’t really know what my record is,” Grossmann admitted on Thursday. “I’ve never looked at it.
“Way I see it, that’s 91 shots that doesn’t get to [Steve] Mason. That’s one way to look at it.”
One shot that did get to Mason this week still bothers Grossmann.
During last Sunday’s Flyers meltdown against the Capitals in Washington, defenseman Dmitry Orlov fired the puck from distance late in the third period.
Grossmann was the only Flyer directly in front of Mason -- no one else was within an area code. Normally, Grossmann would have blocked the shot or moved aside since Mason’s view was clear. He did neither and the puck snuck through shortside, making it a 4-3 game before Alexander Ovechkin tied it, sending the game into overtime.
Grossmann’s reaction became a critical play in retrospect as the Flyers eventually lost, 5-4, in a shootout.
“It was a little miscommunication there,” Grossmann said. “It happened fast and I was in the lane. I should have blocked it. I heard something else and tried to get out of the way. Once you do it, it’s too late.”
What happens here is if there is no one in front, Grossmann moves aside and allows Mason to see the shot. Which is what he could have done.
Or he could have blocked it. Instead, he stood and literally blocked Mason’s vision, which was the wrong move. It doesn’t happen very often because Grossmann almost always makes the block.
“He might say, ‘Get out of the way and let me see it,’" Grossmann said. “It’s a split-second thing. He has to say it in time and I have to react in time or it gets all [expletive] up and it ends up like that goal there.
“It’s something we talk about and try to clear up. Personally, once you commit, it’s tough to change. It’s a small detail.”
A detail that can make all the difference between a shot block and a goal.