Parise mum on impending free agency


Parise mum on impending free agency

NEWARK, NJ Zach Parise will talk about the butterflies in the belly on the eve of his Stanley Cup Finals debut.

Parise will fill notebooks with his thoughts on the explosiveness of the Los Angeles Kings attack, and he'll speak into the microphone when asked how much of a problem Jon Quick poses between the pipes. Parise would even recount stories when Quick and Parise both played for Team USA in the Olympics two years ago.

But dont ask the New Jersey Devils captain about his impending free agency after the season is over for better or for worse. Parise was asked if getting to the Cup Finals with the Devils had altered his free agency views with July 1 little more than a month away, and drew the proverbial line in the sand.

I wont be answering any questions about free agency, said Parise.

Thats probably the best course of action for the 27-year-old Parise, who will be making a boatload of money in the offseason and is actively working to avoid making it a distraction during the Cup Finals. After all Parise has scored 30-plus goals in each of his last five healthy seasons, has been a respected, hard-nosed leader of the Devils in good and bad times, and has put up 14 points in 18 games while leading his team to the Cup Finals.

Parise is in line for a significant raise in the offseason, and Los Angeles Kings defensemen Drew Doughty paid him the ultimate compliment while thinking about ways to shut him down. Parise can skate, pass, shoot and make plays with the best of them, but like Sidney Crosby in Pittsburgh he also travels without trepidation into the dirty areas for rebounds, tips, and he wreaks havoc in front of the net.

Parise in my eyes is almost exactly the same player that Sid is, said Doughty. He has the same tendencies. Hes low to the ground, hes explosive, he works his bag off and hes going to work his bag off.

We have to make sure were working just as hard if were going to neutralize him in the series.

The willingness to go to the unpleasant areas on the ice looking to create offense is exactly what separates Sid the Kid from many other superstars. Its also the reason Parise will be in such high demand once the Cup Finals have concluded. Any team looking for scoring, grit and leadership will be knocking down his door provided they can make room for a 7 million per year contract.

Just dont ask Parise about free agency over the next two weeks. He and his agent will be overjoyed to discuss things once the Cup Finals have been decided, but until then its about finishing off the playoffs.

Bruins coaches: Czarnik a ‘Belichick-type hockey player’


Bruins coaches: Czarnik a ‘Belichick-type hockey player’

BOSTON – Austin Czarnik is off to a good start at Bruins training camp.

He’s got points in each of the first two exhibition games and just the fact that he’s cracked the B’s lineup in both games tells you that the coaching staff wants to get a long, good look at the undersized forward.

But the 5-foot-9, 167-pound Czarnik brings more than simply a touch of the Napoleon complex after always being told that he was too small to make it to the elite levels of hockey. The 23-year-old clearly can score after posting 20 goals and 61 points in his first pro season in the AHL in Providence last season. He plays with heart, energy and a dogged determination when he’s hunting pucks on the fore-check.

But former P-Bruins head coach and current B’s assistant coach Bruce Cassidy says that Czarnik also brings something a little extra that New England Patriots fans will certainly appreciate.

“As far as being a player goes, he would be, to me, that [Bill] Belichick-type player that you could use in a lot of different situations,” said Cassidy, in clear reference to intelligent utility guys Troy Brown, Danny Woodhead, Julian Edelman and others that all filled different roles in their time with New England.

“He’s got a very, very high IQ, he’s a quick learner and very coachable,” Cassidy said. “So, he’s a guy you can move around, and he can play with different players. He can play on the penalty kill, he’s good on the power play and especially on the point.

“So there are a lot of different things. I think from night-to-night if you wanted to, you could move him around in your lineup and he could be effective for you. I know he’s a center, but it would be interesting to see if he could play the wing and be effective. That’s something we haven’t really seen. Is that something we maybe attempt down the road? I don’t know. I don’t want to speak out of turn, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he could handle it. He even played for us 6-on-5 as a defenseman with the goalie out. He’s just a smart player, and he understands the game very, very well.”

So, Czarnik is off to a good start in training camp with the Bruins, but we also saw the same thing from him last year as a rookie to pro hockey. 

Now, it’s about seeing whether a smaller player can finish strong as the competition heightens deeper into the preseason, and perhaps he can bring that versatility and feistiness to the NHL level in Boston. 



Thursday, Sept. 29: Oilers right where they belong


Thursday, Sept. 29: Oilers right where they belong

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while looking forward to watching the Luke Cage Netflix series.

*The Cult of Hockey has no issues with yours truly ranking the Edmonton Oilers 29th out of 30 teams in my first preseason NHL power rankings.

*An interesting piece about Brian McGrattan and his battle with alcohol in his career as an NHL tough guy. I can honestly say having covered him a bit when he was in the Bruins organization that he was one of the scariest dudes I’ve ever talked to in an NHL dressing room. A nice guy, but very intense and always looked like he definitely enjoyed his work on the ice.

*Dennis Seidenberg hopped on with the Hockey Central crew today to talk about his new contract with the New York Islanders.

*PHT writer and Friend of Haggs (FOH) Mike Halford has Guy Boucher with some serious Dion Phaneuf love going on in Ottawa.

*Jack Eichel is oozing confidence and swagger in his second NHL season with Buffalo looking to make a big step up this season.

*Scott Burnside said that the World Cup of Hockey could be coming to an end tonight and I think most predict that it will with a little bit of an anticlimactic thud due to the sheer awesomeness of Team Canada.

*For something completely different: “Aleppo Moment” sounds like a great name for a rock band. Not so much for a Presidential candidate.