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.
Apr 16, 2014, 12:15 AM EDT
Apr 15, 2014, 11:17 PM EDT
They’ve struggled after the Olympics.
Apr 15, 2014, 10:15 PM EDT
It was a tough season in Buffalo.
Apr 15, 2014, 9:31 PM EDT
“It puts a lot more pressure on everybody else,” says Nathan MacKinnon.
Apr 15, 2014, 8:25 PM EDT
After losing the No. 1 pick to Colorado last year.
Apr 15, 2014, 8:05 PM EDT
Anders Lindback gets the start.
Apr 15, 2014, 7:14 PM EDT
Didn’t practice Tuesday.
Apr 15, 2014, 6:55 PM EDT
Heck, will Steve Mason even be available?
Apr 15, 2014, 6:43 PM EDT
Just days after another group of ex-players filed last Thursday.
Apr 15, 2014, 5:31 PM EDT
What about the Stars over the Ducks?
Apr 15, 2014, 5:16 PM EDT
“He’s relentless,” according to Craig MacTavish.
Apr 15, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT
“I don’t think I can screw it up too bad whoever I choose.”
Apr 15, 2014, 3:13 PM EDT
The city has terminated the contract.
Apr 15, 2014, 2:39 PM EDT
You don’t say.
Apr 15, 2014, 2:08 PM EDT
“That’s not been determined yet,” said head coach Craig Berube.
Apr 15, 2014, 1:50 PM EDT
Even if they beat Minnesota, that question won’t be put to bed.
Apr 15, 2014, 1:10 PM EDT
Union College standout was a third-round pick in ’12.
Apr 15, 2014, 1:01 PM EDT
“We have no qualms whatsoever about a long-term problem with it.”
Apr 15, 2014, 12:38 PM EDT
“I’m not naive to the talk. I’ve been asked the question lots.”
Apr 15, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT
A nation’s hopes hang in the balance.
- Pressing Question: Can the Blackhawks avoid the Stanley Cup hangover? 0
- Florida wins ’14 NHL draft lottery, will pick first overall 33
- Philly mum on Mason’s availability for Game 1 vs. Rangers 23
- Pressing question: Can the Blues get back on track? 16
- That’s a raise: Flyers sign MacDonald to six-year, $30 million extension 90
- Sabres, Panthers have best odds for 2014 NHL draft lottery 16
- Leafs ‘lack an identity,’ says Leiweke 30
- On the hot seat: McPhee will ‘talk in a couple of days’ 21
- Bruins are 7/2 favorites to win the Stanley Cup; Blues next at 6/1 48
- End of an era: Trotz out as Nashville head coach 40
- That’s a raise: Flyers sign MacDonald to six-year, $30 million extension (90)
- Lightning’s Malone arrested for DUI, cocaine possession (73)
- Update: Daniel Sedin in stable condition, hospitalized after scary hit (58)
- Halak’s agent ‘bewildered’ by Oates’ remarks prior to Blues game (51)
- Here’s the schedule for the first round of the 2014 playoffs (51)