There’s a notion that you have to stop looking up to superstars once you make it to the pros, but Montreal Canadiens centre Max Domi doesn’t believe in that.
Domi transitioned from wing to centre upon being traded from the Arizona Coyotes to the Canadiens in 2018-19 and the move paid dividends, as the 24-year-old posted a career-best 28 goals and 72 points, playing in all 82 games.
Ahead of his second season with the Canadiens, where he’s expected to be a driving offensive force, Domi spoke about his admiration for Sidney Crosby while learning how to adjust to playing down the middle exclusively.
“If you watch a guy like Sidney Crosby — and I’ve watched a lot of him since I was a little kid — he’s the best glider of all time,” Domi said to Sportsnet’s Eric Engels. “This guy’s maintaining his speed to the point where that’s a unique skill. I figured out I have to watch that and learn from it. When I was playing wing, it was either full speed or not going anywhere. I had to find that middle gear, that three, four, five gear. It wasn’t just like one or seven, if you know what I mean. To tap into that, you don’t have a choice but to tap into that as a centre because you can’t possibly sustain going all out all over the ice for 45 seconds at a time.”
Crosby’s lower-body strength has been the envy of his opponents for years and Domi is looking to emulate the Penguins’ superstar with improved skating ability and positioning.
“In terms of that one thing, you watch Sidney Crosby and there’s no need to follow someone else. Sid is like a hybrid — his legs aren’t totally straight and they’re not totally bent either. He’s right in the middle so he’s always super strong and has the ability to go in either direction. He can turn, he can take off, he can slow down and he’s always in complete control of his body. He’s totally calm and he has the ability to turn it up and turn it down, and there’s no one like him that can do that.”
Domi said he also asks Connor McDavid and Ryan O’Reilly for advice on certain areas of improvement, but Crosby remains the standard to beat for him. Not a bad person to model your game after.
Montreal’s playoff bid will be dictated in part due to how Domi performs, and if he applies these lessons correctly, his club could firmly be in the mix in the vaunted Atlantic Division.
More NHL coverage from Yahoo Sports