Tidbits: The "Can't Wait" Edition

Minnesotans are of the provincial variety; admittedly I'm somewhat of a Johnny-come-lately, moving here in my youth, but over the years I've come to learn about the sometimes insatiable thirst of the born and bred locals to root for and derive satisfaction from someone being "one of us."
It's comical, overbearing, nonsensical, and understandable all at once- maybe its a need for validation on the national level, maybe its just the belief that you become more invested in and can get behind something that has a common bond with you. As much as I dread hearing the "Minnesota Wild needs more Minnesotans!" chant from some, its hard to blame someone for saying that- that sort of thing is essentially hard-wired into the collective Minnesota consciousness.

Which brings me to Zach Parise.

A native Minnesotan, Parise last played a season of hockey at Shattuck St. Mary's in 2001-02; since then he's laced for The University of North Dakota and the New Jersey Devils. But the free agency hourglass is ticking for him; as of now, there has been nothing in terms of an extension between he and New Jersey. This, of course, has given the rumor mill fodder, Devils fans heart palpitations, and makes Minnesotans- specifically Wild fans- become lost in the day dream of seeing Parise in a Wild sweater.
Understandably, as the business goes, if New Jersey and Parise can't work out an extension, GM Lou Lamoriello HAS to trade Parise before he walks away without The Devils getting any sort of compensation; and with a kid like Parise, entering his prime as one of the world's premier players, in theory there should be a very nice compensation package in that deal.

However, there has been nothing concrete about Parise's desire to leave (or stay for that matter) in New Jersey, or even the want to play in Minnesota; conjecture and hearsay from local talking heads does nothing more than to feed fuel to the unsubstantiated fire. This, of course, was a focus when New Jersey was in town to play The Wild a few weeks ago; Star Tribune had a column about it (taking a note from the Toronto media and talking with Zach's dad J.P.) and Parise was forced to artfully deflect questions during media scrums. Now the ever-increasing body count to the Injured Reserve- Devin Setoguchi being the latest for an indefinite amount of time, Parise's name is being tossed around as an addition to the current roster (never mind the depth Minnesota has.)

So that being said, why move an exhorbitant amount of assets (picks and prospects, which we suddenly have) NOW when Minnesota can make a run at Parise at the opening bell of free agency? Sure, July 1 isn't as sexy a date as Christmas, The All-Star weekend, or The Trade Deadline, but it would be less expensive as a whole compared to a simple contract offer; lest we forget that there will be some players on roster whose contracts won't be extended, or are entering the last year of their respective deals- they can be dangled in trades to gain assets or even to maneuver for more cap flexibility, if getting Parise long-term is the end game.

Whose to say if we did acquire Parise that he didn't just walk away at Free Agency either?

The bottom line is this; when it boils down to it, its better to just wait out the process; maybe its worth keeping an eye on what happens in Newark, but there is plenty going on here for now. We are only 30 games in.

- About that depth; we saw it with the defense, the forwards, and now Matt Hackett comes in and sets a record in terms of rookie goaltenders not allowing a goal, and wins two huge games.
- Its things like this, depth, that allows the same sort of flexibility as cap space- look at some of the big deals this last Summer; Philadelphia received picks and young prospects in returns for Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. Minnesota's almost to the point where they can afford to swing a big deal like that because it won't wipe out the toybox.
- Re: Setoguchi. Is it a loss? For sure. But the reality is that he's bounced up and down the top two (sometimes three) lines for the most part, so its not like he had 20 goals and was carrying the team. I wouldn't say he's struggled, but he just hasn't slipped into a role/line where he can get comfortable and really take off.
- My take on Dany Heatley; he looks like a guy who is aware that he just can't do some things that he used to do. It shows in his play; a sort of "I'm aware of my limitations" thing. He's playing better, and I think its still a bit of a feeling out process in terms of finding positions where he can succeed i.e. shooting the puck.
- Wanna see more offensive assertiveness out of Marco Scandella. His game winning goal last night is something that should happen with more frequency; taking the puck, stepping up, and shooting it from the slot.
- After watching Brent Burns play in a different sweater, I'm fully convinced that Chuck Fletcher made the right decision to trade him. Burns' physical talents can mask his sketchy hockey sense and decision making.
- Ok, so I was wrong about getting rid of Greg Zanon.
- Thinking Cody Almond gets extended run at 4th line Center with Setoguchi on the shelf. He's a Yeo guy, so he knows the system and its been made clear to him what he needs to do in order to be an NHLer. That message has worked out for Justin Falk so far (despite the injury...)
- Man, gonna be interesting to see what happens if this team actually gets healthy. Getting guys back like Latendresse, Setoguchi, Zidlicky, etc. would be like Trade Deadline acquisitions.
- I know he'll never just take it to the net, but Pierre-Marc Bouchard would open up a world of opportunities if he didn't just curl back toward the offensive blueline after gaining the zone. Needs to use his speed to gain space more often- he did it effectively toward the end of last season when he was playing well.
- Re-sign Kyle Brodziak. Nuff Said.
- Finally...Sigh.

Is it so hard to actually do some research? For Wild fans, this sort of lazy analysis isn't anything new- we all see it EVERY year with the same season preview from multiple outlets, and in throwaway analysis from idiot Edmonton columnists. I get it- Minnesota in the dead of Winter isn't exactly destination travel, but as a journalist (which is a coveted titke, or so says those in their Ivory Tower) wouldn't you want to see what the best team (or at least one of the most surprising) in the league is about, as Nick Cotsonika of Yahoo! did?

There is no excuse for the laziness. None, especially if you are paid media.


  1. We don't call it "The State of Hockey" for nothing, y'know. Part of that resentment is the feeling that if we were allowed to have a Minnesota All-Star team that we'd do just fine in the NHL, thank-you-very-much. We won't even require the rest of the states and provinces to do the same.

  2. Great work in writing this. I agree with most things you say. Keep it up because I visit your website daily.