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.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.
Zack Kassian may have avoided major injuries stemming from his Sunday car accident, but it likely sent the signal that he may need help.
The response: he was placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH) of the NHL and NHLPA on Monday.
According to the league’s release, Kassian “will be suspended without pay until cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.”
Speaking of being suspended without pay, here’s a key detail:
The 24-year-old ended up with a broken nose and broken foot from that accident. The 2015-16 season was set to be his first campaign in the Montreal Canadiens organization after a tumultuous time with the Vancouver Canucks.
Kassian spoke of becoming more mature heading to Montreal, but the Canadiens were critical of his actions, wondering how many wake-up calls someone can get.
In case you’re wondering about the difference between stage one and two: