Feb 11, 2014, 12:33 PM EDT
SOCHI, Russia — Steve Yzerman was asked Monday what the biggest adjustment his collection of star players would have to make to have success at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Not surprisingly, given he just got off a long flight from North America, Team’s Canada’s architect called the time change “a huge difference, number one.” And as countless others had already done, he referenced the larger ice surface, too.
But the “biggest difference” for the players? According to Yzerman, that was going to be “playing a lesser role” compared to what they were used to with their NHL clubs.
“You’ve got forwards that are used to playing 21, 22 minutes a game that are going to play 10 and 11, and defensemen that are used to playing 27 playing 18,” he said. “That’s a huge adjustment for them.”
Take Jamie Benn, the captain of the Dallas Stars who’s used to hopping over the boards for 25 shifts a night and being out there for every power play.
On Team Canada, his role is going to be dramatically different.
“I think I’m going to see a lot more of a PK role, checking line,” the first-time Olympian said. “I’ll do whatever it takes to win.”
In fact, he agrees his role may be similar to what the last Stars captain before him, Brenden Morrow, had with Team Canada in Vancouver – get in on the forecheck and “make things happen.”
Said Mike Babcock of Morrow in 2010: “He’s one of those guys that’s got real good hockey sense, but he’s satisfied to be a grinder on this team. He’s added energy.”
Adjusting to “lesser” roles isn’t just an issue for star-studded Canada, as United States coach Dan Byslma made clear Tuesday.
“Look at the defensemen that we have here,” said Bylsma. “Most of them are accustomed to playing 23-plus minutes, 24-, 25-plus minutes for their own respective teams.
“When you’re putting seven defensemen on your bench and onto the ice, I can’t do the math really quick, not everybody can play 23 minutes and [Ryan Suter] play 30, 33, 34 minutes that he sometimes does for his NHL team.”
Byslma still expects Suter to play upwards of 25 minutes a game in Sochi, so it may not be a huge adjustment for him. But it will for at least a few of the other guys.
Of the eight defensemen on the U.S. roster, Kevin Shattenkirk has the lowest average ice time, logging 20:24 per game for the Blues.
Mar 11, 2014, 7:19 PM EDT
The Pens have won seven in a row vs. Washington, including Monday.
Mar 11, 2014, 5:33 PM EDT
Because there’s a really good chance they will.
Mar 11, 2014, 4:56 PM EDT
Big development for the ‘Hawks.
Mar 11, 2014, 4:47 PM EDT
Click for the details.
Mar 11, 2014, 4:26 PM EDT
All the latest from the blue paint…
Mar 11, 2014, 3:54 PM EDT
“We played well in the first game, but then it all disappeared.”
Mar 11, 2014, 3:49 PM EDT
The sons of George and Brian, respectively.
Mar 11, 2014, 2:49 PM EDT
Whether he does or not will impact the Flyers’ roster.
Mar 11, 2014, 2:41 PM EDT
A big defenseman from Lake Superior State.
Mar 11, 2014, 2:18 PM EDT
Burly power forward’s in the midst of a disappointing season.
Mar 11, 2014, 1:51 PM EDT
“It’s great to have him around,” said Wild head coach Mike Yeo.
Mar 11, 2014, 12:47 PM EDT
Dallas GM Jim Nill also released a statement.
Mar 11, 2014, 12:38 PM EDT
“We need to take this one, especially if there’s a four-point swing,” says d-man Brendan Smith.
Mar 11, 2014, 12:25 PM EDT
Rough season for him, to say the least.
Mar 11, 2014, 12:12 PM EDT
Suffered third straight loss on Monday night vs. Toronto.
Mar 11, 2014, 12:07 PM EDT
“The fans won’t have it. The players won’t have it. And even if you hire a new GM, there is no way he’ll have it.”
Mar 11, 2014, 10:52 AM EDT
He thinks the Panthers have a shot at winning the Stanley Cup before he retires.
Mar 11, 2014, 10:02 AM EDT
The Calgary Flames were already missing several forwards.
Mar 11, 2014, 9:12 AM EDT
Nothing’s official, but it sounds like he’ll stick with the Buffalo Sabres after all.
Mar 11, 2014, 8:43 AM EDT
Washington desperately needs the two points.
- WATCH LIVE: Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins 0
- PHT Extra: What happens if the Caps miss the playoffs? 11
- Wings can’t afford regulation loss to Jackets 6
- ‘It’s obvious Tortorella can’t come back next year,’ writes Vancouver reporter 51
- NHL on NBCSN: Capitals fight to earn first win vs. Penguins in 26 months 11
- Vanquished: Isles stun Canucks with seven-goal third period 26
- Peverley asked to return to game following ‘cardiac event’ 23
- Peverley hospitalized, conscious after collapsing on Stars bench (Update) 18
- Sens’ Ceci won’t return after Weber’s shot lacerates his ear (Update) 8
- Gillis pleads his case: ‘We are enduring a challenging period’ 25
- Canucks trade Luongo to Panthers (93)
- BLOCKBUSTER: Lightning trade St. Louis to Rangers for Callahan (82)
- Kings make splash, acquire Gaborik from Columbus (72)
- Steve Moore remains shocked, disgusted about Todd Bertuzzi attack (71)
- Chiasson ‘shaken up’ by Peverley incident, won’t dress for Stars tonight (60)