Tag: Zach Parise

Travis Zajac

Zajac ‘not sure’ how Shero hire will affect future with Devils


Like many of his Devils teammates, Travis Zajac doesn’t know what the future holds with Lou Lamoriello out and Ray Shero in as GM.

“To be honest, I’m not sure how I’ll be affected,” Zajac told NJ Advance Media. “I think I’m a very coachable player. Whatever they expect from me or want me to do, I’ll do whatever it takes to help this team in any way. I believe in this organization.

“I don’t see the change being too much of a problem for me. But with Ray, and when we get a new head coach, we’ll sit down and see what they expect from me. I have a lot to give still and I feel like I can still help this organization and this team.”

Zajac — who Lamoriello signed to an eight-year, $46 million extension in 2013 — has been something of a disappointment in recent campaigns and has yet to rediscover the form that saw him score 67 points in 82 games in 2009-10. Of course, that team featured the likes of Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk, a far cry from the offensively-challenged Devils of last season, when Zajac scored just 25 points.

To that end, he feels it’s important for Shero to add some talent that’ll help the team find the back of the net.

“We would all like to score more goals. There is no doubt about that,” he said. “We could use some help at some positions and hopefully we can get that. If not, everyone will have to elevate their game. I don’t think we’re far away from where we want to be, but you can always bring in pieces that can help.”

Sweep leaves Wild feeling ‘sick’

Chicago Blackhawks v Minnesota Wild - Game Four

“You almost needed two pucks in that series. We’ve come a long way since then.”

That was Zach Parise comparing the Minnesota’s 2013 first round loss to the Blackhawks to this year, per the Star Tribune. He said that just before Minnesota’s latest series against Chicago began.

In the end, Minnesota was not only eliminated by Chicago for the third straight year, but also suffered the indignity of being swept.

“Didn’t do nearly enough. Don’t know how else to characterize it. It’s tough to dissect it right now.”

That was Parise tonight, per the Wild’s Twitter feed. And that’s one of more subdued comments from the Wild.

“I’m sick. It’s a sick feeling,” Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk told ESPN’s Joe McDonald.

“It’s a bad dream,” defenseman Ryan Suter said.

On the one hand, the fact that Minnesota even made the playoffs this year is an accomplishment given its rocky start and beating the St. Louis Blues in the first round was no small feat either. At the same time, when the Wild signed Parise and Suter to matching 13-year, $98 million contracts, it was with the hope that would help turn them into serious Stanley Cup contenders. It was reasonable to assume that it would take time to build around them, especially seeing as the Wild still had a fair number of promising young players working their way up, but they’re three years in at this point.

“Right now we’re a good team and we have to find a way to be the best team,” Wild coach Mike Yeo told the Pioneer Press’ Chad Graff.

Suter is 30 years old while Parise will turn 31 in July and in the young man’s NHL, that’s something worth keeping in mind, especially because their contracts are relics of the old CBA era. Parise and Suter’s deals are so long because it makes their annual cap hit more manageable early on, but that hit has the potential to look bad as they age and potentially play well below the roughly $7.5-million annual level. In other words, they were made to be beneficial in the short and mid-term, but had the potential to be significantly detrimental in the long-term.

That’s not to suggest that the Wild are already fading into the sunset, but they do have a specific window of opportunity with them and with each failed campaign, it’s getting smaller.

“We’re trying to figure it out,” Suter said. “We need to look at ourselves in the mirror.”

Wild’s Parise: ‘There’s got to be something more we can do’


One goal in the last two games. That’s all the Minnesota Wild has been able to produce against the Chicago Blackhawks and goalie Corey Crawford following the series opener.

On Tuesday, Crawford was sensational in a shutout over the Wild. The Blackhawks once again pushed their Central Division foes to the brink of elimination and a possible sweep thanks to a 1-0 victory in Game 3.

So far in this series, Crawford has stopped 90 of 94 shots faced.

“Crawford’s a star against us,” Wild coach Mike Yeo said, as per the Pioneer Press. “He’s Brodeur. He’s Roy. He’s everybody against us. We’ve got to find a way to solve that.”

From basically start to finish on Tuesday, the Wild controlled puck possession, with 65 shot attempts by the end of the night, according to hockeystats.ca. No goals to show for it all, however. And now Minnesota faces a quick exit in this series.

“Frustration that we couldn’t score. That’s about it,” said Zach Parise, as per NHL.com. “We didn’t score one, so I don’t think we did enough. There’s got to be something more we can do.”

Added Nino Niederreiter: “As of right now, it’s definitely frustrating.

“We had plenty of chances to win this hockey game, I feel that we played a really good game. We played solid and we had enough chances. Now we have to find a way to regroup and we got to win [the] next game.”

Shero aims to bolster Devils offensively

Ray Shero

Lou Lamoriello announced today that he’ll be handing over the general manager’s job to Ray Shero while retaining his position as team president. Shero appreciates all that Lamoriello has done since taking over in 1987, but in light of New Jersey’s recent struggles, he also wants to do things a bit differently.

“Lou and I have discussed a lot of things as far as philosophy. I’m not Lou and I’m not like Lou. And he’s not like me. We’re different,” Shero told NJ Advance Media. “There are a lot of different philosophies that we do share, but when you look Pittsburgh and New Jersey they are certainly different teams.

“You look at the Devils and it’s about his defensive philosophy. That’s been very successful for them. But in terms of where the are now and moving forward to be successful, let’s be honest. There has to be a complement of that with a philosophy of offensive hockey and scoring more goals. If not, there is not much room for error. Without that, goaltending and team defense can only take you so far.”

Shero has a lot of experience with offensively gifted teams from his days with Pittsburgh, but then, he had plenty to work with in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. The Devils ranked 28th in goals per game last season, but it’s not as if their defense-first approach has always gone hand-in-hand with offensive anemia. New Jersey was a middle-of-the-road team offensively in 2011-12 when it last made the playoffs and went all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.

Back then the Devils had Ilya Kovalchuk, Patrik Elias, and Zach Parise leading the charge though. Parise and Kovalchuk have since left the team while Elias turned 39 in April.

Filling the void left by the departure of superstars is an extremely difficult task, but it’s the one Shero inherited. He’s already got a strong goaltending tandem in Cory Schneider and Keith Kinkaid and a promising blueline. Whether or not he is able to elevate the Devils’ offense to at least respectable levels could determine how his tenure with New Jersey will ultimately be viewed.

Video: Blackhawks hold off Wild to take series lead


Jason Pominville might lose sleep over this one.

Late in the third period, with the Minnesota Wild pressing for the tying goal to send Game 1 into overtime, the puck took a fortuitous bounce off the end glass and eventually found its way to Pominville in a prime shooting location. But the puck was rolling, and Pominville sent his shot well wide of the net, with goalie Corey Crawford beat.

The host Chicago Blackhawks held on from there for the 4-3 victory and a 1-0 series lead over the Wild.

Earlier on, it looked like this game might turn into a blowout. The Blackhawks, in front of their home crowd, erupted to beat Devan Dubnyk three times on eight shots, taking a 3-0 lead into the intermission.

But the Wild battled back. Jason Zucker, Zach Parise and Mikael Granlund scored within a span of 9:30 into the middle period, getting Minnesota back into a tie game. Dubnyk did his part, making a spectacular save on Patrick Sharp to ensure the Wild didn’t fall further behind when still trailing by two.

However, Teuvo Teravainen’s first career playoff goal — a wrist shot from the side boards that got by Dubnyk — with under a minute remaining in that frantic second period stood as the winner.