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BLOG: Tippett compliments Draisaitl's defensive acumen

"He reads situations very well that allow him to be a good penalty killer," Head Coach Dave Tippett said of Leon Draisaitl

by Paul Gazzola /

PITTSBURGH, PA - It's easy to praise a player for their offence after being named the National Hockey League's third star of the month in October.

And Leon Draisaitl, with his 25 points (12G, 13A) in 14 games, is deserving of all that applause.

But Oilers Head Coach Dave Tippett took his compliments a step further on Friday from PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA, lauding the German's exemplary defence and penalty killing.

On Wednesday against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Tippett tasked No. 29 with the tough challenge of killing a 5-on-3 advantage for the Blue Jackets. 

Draisaitl - the skilled, offensive dynamo - relished the opportunity, getting his stick into lanes to break up cross-ice passes and ultimately foiling Columbus' attempt to creep back into the game.

Video: PRE-GAME RAW | Dave Tippett 2019.11.01

"It's funny because that's a trait in a player that I learned when I was in Pittsburgh here a long time ago," Tippett began.

"Scotty Bowman was our coach, I was playing for Pittsburgh and we had Mario Lemieux, (Jaromir) Jagr and (Ron) Francis. I was a penalty killer at the bottom end of that. Throughout my whole career, I was one of those guys that killed penalties 5-on-3. I got here and Scotty Bowman used to use Mario Lemieux on it. He would say, 'Mario, you play 5-on-3,' and I'm going, 'Hey, that's my job!' Then Mario would go out there with a long stick and just read all the situations and do a great job at it. 

"Since then, I always thought that top players that read plays very well at 5-on-3 are good picks there. Leon's one of those guys. He just figures things out. He reads situations very well that allow him to be a good penalty killer in that situation."

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