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 Edmontons three rookies, isnt.

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. Hes got a lot more newness around him. Within the game hes 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 dont really bang the boards in the Swedish Elite League.

Its also the physicality, said Krueger. Hes not afraid, you dont see any fear in his game at all. Its just surprising for him how small the spaces are and how quickly they get closed, especially when hes playing against top-4 Ds on the other teams.

The gap closing here is just so quick compared with Europe. Im pretty sure hell get it under control; its coming better and better as it goes along.

robert.tychkowski@sunmedia.ca


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