May 17, 2012, 3:13 PM EDT
When people talk about the Devils’ aggressive forecheck, most of the discussion involves the forwards. After all, the forwards are the ones chasing down pucks and turning them over.
But New Jersey captain Zach Parise knows the importance of an active defense to the style his team plays.
“That’s so important,” he said today. “It’s hard when your ‘D’ aren’t allowed to pinch and when your ‘D’ aren’t allowed to get involved, because you’re playing 3-on-5 all night. That’s too hard. It makes the game too hard and it makes scoring too hard. Once our ‘D’ started to be allowed to jump into the play and get involved in the offense, it opened some things up for everybody.
“It opens up second opportunities. You’re allowed to get more offensive zone time. They’ve done a great job in the playoffs keeping pucks alive, keeping cycles going and really hemming teams in their own zone. From a forward’s standpoint, it’s kind of a relief to get those ‘D’ men involved. It just makes life a lot easier.”
One defenseman in particular Parise says has helped is Marek Zidlicky. The Devils acquired the underutilized 35-year-old from Minnesota in February, sending defenseman Kurtis Foster and forwards Nick Palmieri and Stephane Veilleux to the Wild in return.
“[Zidlicky’s] skating ability, his patience with the puck has really helped us out a lot up front and kept plays alive,” said Parise. “He makes a great first outlet pass. That was a really good acquisition for us that really gave us a new attack and a new dynamic that we were somewhat lacking.”
- Bettman: NHL won’t expand ‘just to fulfill somebody’s notion of symmetry 7
- Report: Johansen lowers demands, but not low enough 30
- Injuries piling up as preseason schedule begins 11
- Report: Fedorov denies contract offer was made to Johansen 8
- Report: Johansen has gotten no shortage of KHL offers 43
- Update: Drouin out with upper body injury, not expected to miss preseason 1
- Report: NHL officials to participate in preseason without new CBA 1
- Evander Kane: I know I can score 50 goals 16
- ‘C’-less Thornton comes out swing against Wilson’s ‘tomorrow team’ talk 19
- Joe Sakic’s now general manager in name too 6
- Heeeeeere’s Johnny! Davidson shreds Johansen’s agent for ‘baffling, nonsensical’ contract demands (65)
- Jackets reveal Johansen offers — including an eight year, $46M deal (55)
- Will the NHL publicize divers? (48)
- No icing on the PK? The USHL will see how that looks (43)
- Report: Johansen has gotten no shortage of KHL offers (43)