Fresh off his stint with the United States’ Olympic team, Minnesota Wild captain Zach Parise is happy to be back to playing on NHL-sized rinks.
There was a time where he thought that the bigger ice surfaces they use internationally would led to a better game, but his experience in Sochi seems to have altered that view.
“I’m not a fan of the Olympic rink…I’m more comfortable on this (NHL) sheet. It’s a better game,” said Parise, according to the Edmonton Journal.
“Everyone plays so much more passive in Europe because the rink is so much bigger (at least wider). Everybody plays a one-4 (one forechecker, four guys back). The D control the whole play…it’s all neutral zone play. Controlled forechecks. It’s a different game.
“You’d think with more room there would be more speed and I guess there is to a degree because there’s not the stopping and starting (NHL game). You can loop over there, but shots from the wall aren’t good shots anymore so you don’t shoot.”
That meshes with what NHL commissioner Gary Bettman recently said when it comes to the difference in rink sizes. Bettman argued that the smaller ice leads to more “offensive intensity.”
Bettman and Parise are also both dispute the notion that the larger ice leads to fewer injuries. On that note, Parise would sooner see shoulder and elbow pads shrink rather than the ice expand if the goal is to make the game safer.
The United States’ Olympic run ended on a sour note, but Parise has an opportunity to put that behind him as the Wild battle for a playoff spot.