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Mully: Katic adds memorable chapter to his world hockey career

He suited up for Croatia at the IIHF World Championship

Mark Katic has added another memorable chapter in his remarkable hockey journey.

Mark recently competed in an IIHF World Championship in Belgrade. Mark, who has Croatian ancestry, was part of Croatia's entry at the IIHFs. Having played with Zagreb's team in the KHL and as part of his lineage, Mark is allowed participation with Croatia under IIHF rules.

Croatia was competing in the 2A category and after a perfect record of 4-0 in the regular round-robin portion of the championship defeated host Serbia 3-0 to claim the 2A crown.

With the win Croatia now moves up categories into the IIHF 1B group. Next year they will play for a 1B World Championship.

Katic had a goal in the championship game and was Croatia's top scorer in the championships with nine points in five games. He also finished third overall in championship scoring.

Twice he was selected as player of the game and was voted the top defenceman of the tournament. Mark was the talk of Croatian fans for his play in the tournament and he and his teammates are being feted not only for winning gold but elevating Croatia to group 1B.

Good Job Marko!

During the Boston/Florida series, I wrote about Sam Bennett's propensity for crossing the line with his antics. I mentioned he was too good a player to be playing in such a risky way and to put more focus on his play. Well, he's done that (although I don't think he reads Mully's ) and is not only focused on his play but along with Bob, Barkov and Forsling, has been a key component of Florida's success. Yup, still aggressive and agitating, but more in line and flourishing.

Also, I talked about the Big Dogs in an earlier column, and it's pretty obvious whose Big Dogs showed up so far in the playoffs. Florida's Biggies were dominant while the Rangers were noticeable only by their absence. Some like Fox did everything they could to win but were hobbled by injury. The Oilers Big Dogs showed up, but so did the BB's from Dallas.

One team was simply better. And of course, both Florida and Edmonton's depth players elevated their games to help push their teams into the finals. And those finals are going to be epic. And from a purely “from the heart” factor I'll take Edmonton.

I was so intrigued to hear Panthers coach Paul Maurice say that right now he isn't doing a lot of coaching. He isn't saying too much to his players because at this time of year they should know exactly what is required of them. It’s such a refreshing take from Maurice. Most coaches would not ever think of sharing something like that. Don't worry … Maurice is still coaching. He is just smart enough to know when, where and how.

On the subject of coaching, I have quickly become a huge fan of Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch. You just know that this guy is a master communicator. He knows how to develop relationships with his players and maintain them. He is also a superb leader who recognizes who should or shouldn't be in the lineup based on performance. And his players don't gripe or pout when scratched. Nope, they come back with a level of tenacity and purpose when next inserted into the lineup. That comes from respect and Knoblauch's superb communication skills.

And thus Edmonton can slide players in and out of or up and down in the lineup and have maximum production as a result. They are mentally focused and always at the ready. Take that attitude and the Coach's vision and you have a real definition of team.

Like most of you I was heartened to see city council realize that although we need a new recreational facility we can not do so without major contributions from higher levels of government. Here's hoping that materializes.

Later skater.

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