Culture shock for Paajarvi

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:15 PM ET

EDMONTON - OTTAWA — Magnus Paajarvi, who many thought would be the best of Edmonton’s three rookies, isn’t.

While Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle are off and running, Paajarvi is still struggling with the NHL game, with zero points in the last 12 games.

“Looking from my European experience, I think Magnus is really needing to figure out the culture, still, and feel comfortable on and off the ice,” said associate coach Ralph Krueger, a longtime coach with the Swiss national team. “He’s got a lot more newness around him. Within the game he’s trying to find the space that he needs with his speed.

“There were some exciting moments in the last few games, little spurts where there was some open ice.

“It seemed to give him some jump in practice, too.”

The size, strength and ferocity of his opponents is taking some getting used to, too. Eberle and Hall had to deal with physicality in the WHL and OHL, but they don’t really bang the boards in the Swedish Elite League.

“It’s also the physicality,” said Krueger. “He’s not afraid, you don’t see any fear in his game at all. It’s just surprising for him how small the spaces are and how quickly they get closed, especially when he’s playing against top-4 Ds on the other teams.

“The gap closing here is just so quick compared with Europe. I’m pretty sure he’ll get it under control; it’s coming better and better as it goes along.”

robert.tychkowski@sunmedia.ca


Videos

Photos