"I had a conversation with Uwe and Uwe told me he didn't like the way Jochen played at the World Championships [last spring in Switzerland]," Ruff said. "Uwe may be using that as a motivational tool. Coaches do strange things."
Do they ever! As recently as two seasons ago, Hecht was still doing everything for Buffalo:
|5v5 TOI||QoC Rk||Def FO%||5v4 TOI||4v5 TOI||5v4%||Pts/82|
[QoC Rk and Def FO% give his rank among Sabres teammates in Quality of Competition and percentage of Defensive Zone draws.]
Clearly, Hecht's workload has decreased recently - he has struggled with injuries during his career, and might not have been able to shoulder his forward duties without breaking down. Nonetheless, Hecht remains an absolutely top-notch defensive player. As we saw Wednesday, he had a better Corsi shot differential than his teammates despite getting matchups that were among the 25-toughest in the league; he also started in his own end more often than not, which made that accomplishment even tougher.
So maybe German coach Uwe Krupp had some odd lesson to teach here. With Germany ranked 12th in the world in hockey, you'd think he wouldn't want to be messing with his best defensive player two months before the Olympics.