NEWARK, N.J. --
There's a lot to like about All-American captains Zach Parise
of the New Jersey Devils
and Ryan Callahan
of the New York Rangers
Parise, of Minneapolis, Mn., and Callahan, of Rochester, N.Y., were actually teammates for the silver-medal winning U.S. Olympic Team during the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.
"He plays the game hard and finishes checks," Parise said. "He's very reliable and I'm pretty sure they play him in all situations. I got the chance to play with him in Olympics. I know how good a player he was going against him, but once you play with him, I think you appreciate more what he does. He's a good player."
As is Parise.
"I've never played with Callahan, but I like the way he plays … hard and tough," Devils forward David Clarkson
said. "Zach is a leader here. It's unbelievable with the way he works, how hard he is on the puck and how fast he skates. He's that full-package player. I don't know Callahan personally, but from watching him, he also works hard in different zones and does a lot of things for them."
Both captains have certainly proven their mettle in the postseason. Parise has four goals and eight points in 12 games. Callahan has three goals and six points in 14 contests.
Expect both players to be in the thick of the action once again on Monday when Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals takes center stage at Madison Square Garden.
"Playing the Rangers makes for a great story," Parise said. "They've been on top all year and on top of the conference, so it'll be a good challenge for us. It just happens to be our rival, too."
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale