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Sharks praise ex-teammate, newest Penguins player Goc

| Thursday, March 6, 2014, 10:06 p.m.
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Ex-Panther Marcel Goc has become Sidney Crosby's (right) teammate in Pittsburgh. Goc is described by former Sharks teammates as 'a really smart player.'

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Marcel Goc's former teammates gave a glowing assessment of Penguins general manager Ray Shero's trade-deadline deal.

Goc played four seasons (2005-06 to 2008-09) in San Jose, which the Penguins faced Thursday night, and his former teammates remember him fondly.

“The thing about Goc, you know, the guy is just a winner,” Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle said. “He helps you win hockey games in so many different ways. I think the Penguins were very smart to pick him up.”

Although Goc was unable to arrive for Thursday's morning skate, he and right wing Lee Stempniak, both acquired Wednesday, were in uniform when the Penguins played the Sharks. Goc arrived in San Jose shortly after the morning skate and, after being greeted with a handshake from Sidney Crosby outside the locker room, said he was pleased with the trade.

“I didn't think I was going to be in the playoffs this year,” he said. “That changed in a hurry.”

Goc is one of the NHL's more versatile players. Capable of playing center or wing, he is known for his savvy defense and work in faceoff circles.

“A really smart player,” Boyle said. “He probably does a lot of the little things in the game that a lot of people might not notice. But when he's your teammate, you appreciate the way that he plays the game.”

Goc admitted to being “extremely surprised” by the trade but not disappointed. Having played for Florida since 2011-12 on one of the NHL's worst teams, the veteran gets an opportunity again to play in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Despite the strength of the San Jose teams he played on, he never has reached a Stanley Cup Final.

“I hope I get the chance,” Goc said. “Obviously, Pittsburgh is a great hockey town, and I want to be a part of it. I don't think too many people would be upset to be traded there.”

The Sharks had nothing but accolades for their former teammate.

“Such a good guy,” San Jose captain Joe Thornton said. “He's a solid two-way player. He'll fit in there.”

Goc has 72 goals in his career, and his 11 this season are one shy of a career high. His offensive game has blossomed in the latter stages of his nine-year career.

The Penguins, though, are blessed with plenty of firepower. Goc's greatest value to them figures to be his defensive work, and that part of the game always has come naturally to him.

“He does so many things well defensively,” Sharks winger Patrick Marleau said. “He's strong on the puck, strong on faceoffs.”

Goc said he has played almost exclusively at his natural center position during his career. However, he also would be willing to play wing.

No matter where Goc plays, the Sharks insist the Penguins have received a strong defensive player who should thrive in the playoffs.

“Pittsburgh did well for itself to get him,” Boyle said.

Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jyohe@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.

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