Christmas came exactly 174 days early for Minnesota Wild fans, and to be honest, absolutely nobody could say that they saw it coming. By 11:00 am on July 4th, in a move that shocked the hockey world, both Zach Parise and Ryan Suter had decided to play the next and most likely final 13 seasons of their NHL careers in Minnesota.
With Wild fans celebrating and in disbelief, GM Chuck Fletcher expressed both the excitement and gratitude of the club, “This is a great day in the history of the Minnesota Wild. We are extremely excited to add the collective skill, experience and character of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to an already promising roster. We view this as a rare opportunity for us to transform our franchise by adding two marquee players, who are both in the prime of their careers, at the same time. I am grateful to Zach and Ryan and I am also thankful for the substantial commitment and support of Craig Leipold throughout this process. This is a huge step forward in our quest to bring a Stanley Cup to the deserving fans of the State of Hockey.”
Owner Craig Leipold also wrote a giddy letter that described the process and jubilation that the Wild went through leading up to these signings, “Having said that, when the season ended in April, I found myself wondering, perhaps as you did, how long that process might take and how we could accelerate it. To Chuck’s credit, he had an ambitious plan and today’s announcement of the signing of free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter marks the culmination of that plan. We now have the two most coveted free agents in the NHL to add to our veteran core, led by our captain Mikko Koivu, and our acclaimed class of young prospects. Sounds pretty good to me.” For those who haven’t seen the actual letter, rest assured that your owner knows the difference between Times New Roman and Comic Sans.
Although the Wild fans were certainly shocked, fans and quite a few self-proclaimed “insiders” were both covering their tracks and trying to comprehend what had just happened. Minnesota fans should be incredibly thankful for the reporting of Michael Russo(@RussoStrib); his diligence and incredibly accurate reporting make him arguably the best hockey reporter in the country and one of the few that never reports before his facts are 100% straight. On the contrary, here are a few examples of the “guessing” that help to highlight why you should never ever trust these frauds if they aren’t willing to put a name and a face to their theories.
Logic had it that Parise and Suter were “done” deals to Pittsburgh and Detroit respectively, and not that many people were guessing otherwise. Yet come the morning of July 3rd, Ryan Suter had invited BOTH Minnesota and Detroit to Wisconsin, where each team met and gave one last pitch for his services. As we learned from both Zach and Ryan at their press conference, the conversation between the two players began to pick up big time in the afternoon and into the early morning of July 4th. After talking over the pros and cons, Parise and Suter decided that they wanted to play together in Minnesota. They wanted to avoid the stigma and press of the $100 million dollar contracts, so both guys decided on front loaded 13 year, $98 million dollar contracts and Minnesota was more than willing to give them that. As more and more information came out after their signings, a cool thing to note was that Parise absolutely insisted that he and Suter be paid equally, in light of the fact that Minnesota had initially offered a bit more for Parise than Suter.
Parise will wear #11 and Suter his usual #20. Can’t wait for the season, whenever it starts. Expect this CBA war to dwarf the NFL’s fight. It’s going to get nasty folks.