June is always interesting because for 28 teams there are only two things to discuss: the upcoming NHL Draft and free agency on July 1. Prospects are done playing and signed, the previous season has been dissected and laid to rest and unless there's a late personnel move (which happened to Minnesota last year) the name of the game is dreaming of what can be. Seriously, June in Minnesota has gotten to the point where the Wild are a collective unit rather than individuals. At least on the radio.
On Friday Paul Allen had Zach Parise's father J.P. on his 9-12 KFAN show to promote the Defending the Blue Line charity game June 20th at Ridder Arena. That was only part of the 30 minute conversation (which you can listen to here) and covered the former North Stars' NHL career, living in the Twin Cities and of course his son's impending free agency.
More on Parise after the jump...
The younger Parise, of course, has been the subject of much debate in the State of Hockey. It isn't often that a player of his caliber makes it to free agency and the New Jersey Devils forward will be one of the two big names along with defenseman Ryan Suter of the Nashville Predators. Making it better - at least for those in the "Minnesota should sign all Minnesotans because it's their birthright" camp - is that Zach grew up in the Twin Cities, played his high school hockey at Shattuck-St. Mary's in Fairbault and lives there in the offseason.
(If any of this is new, you haven't been paying attention or were enjoying living in a coma.)
The elder Parise, meanwhile, has been vocal in supporting his son for better or worse and answering questions. It has gotten the 14 year NHL veteran in trouble with New Jersey GM Lou Lamoriello; something J.P. admitted to P.A. after he answered a Newsday reporter's question. At the same time, he stated that the Devils weren't out of the Stanley Cup Final despite being in a 3-1 (now 3-2) hole with his own experience.
"It's never over. In my career I was in 3 situations where we needed to win 3 games in a row and we did that twice," said Parise, who came back with the New York Islanders in 1975 and the 1972 Summit Series with Canada.
P.A. and co-host Paul Charchian went into depth with J.P. about his career in the NHL and how the league has changed since Parise ended his career with the North Stars in 1979 and became an assistant coach for Glen Sonmor. The biggest changes according to him over the last 30 years are goalies being much better than they were and the training that players undergo. It's gotten to point where Parise (who was Minnesota's all-time leader in assists when he retired) sees himself as being nothing more than a fourth line player in today's game.
"I would probably be a fourth line guy," Parise said. "I worked hard and competed a lot but even 75-76 when I got traded the size of the players who came in and whereas when I played guys who were 6'1", 6'2" were big clumsy oxes. All of a sudden those guys were good - players like Clark Gillies - now those guys are a dime a dozen."
"Like I said, he's worked very hard to put himself in this position and he's not going to act on emotions. After it's all over, (Zach) and his agent will sit down and analyze what is best for him. Not necessarily strictly just for next year. Hes going to look at the overall picture and I don't know how long of a contract he will sign. After he's looked at all the aspects of every team he will sign."
Pretty obvious stuff that can be analyzed one of many different ways. Same goes for whether or not being by friends or family would play a role.
"I don't think so. I think he's...he loves to wins. It's hard - I played pro - it's hard to go into a battle knowing you don't have a chance," J.P. said. "But again, I don't want to assume anything. The Wild are an up-and-coming organization with good young players and I don't know really, I never really discussed what he's looking for 2-3 years, 4-5 years from now."
(OMG he said the Wild are an up-and-coming organization. That's a gimme!!!!!1!)
At the same, having both sides discuss matters in a general tone did lead to Minnesota being discussed in the same matter. Paul Allen is not a hockey guy and that's okay but hearing the flagship station for the Wild going almost 27 minutes of a 30 minute interview without mentioning an individual player is at best sad. At worst, it's a poor way to sell someone on why Minnesota is an up and coming organization that exposes saying "we'll be better" is nothing but words. Add in the fact that no one gets brought up besides Parise* - even P.A.'s interview with Michael Russo earlier today was 3 Parise questions and nothing on the Wild - and it's going to be a hell of a sell job for casual fans if the Minnesota Golden Boy takes his talents elsewhere.
Sorry Mikko Koivu, Dany Heatley, Devin Setoguchi, Cal Clutterbuck and other interesting questions which will never be brought up in an interesting way on the radio.
That small problem aside, it's a good interview and one which should be brought up after July 1.
*If it weren't for Russo interviewing Matt Cullen when he stepped in on KFAN last week there would have been more North Stars talk.
-J.P. was asked to pronounce his last name - it's Pah-ri-zee as in "Winning is easy with J.P. Parise." That was actually the name of his fan club when played for the New York Islanders and wouldn't be surprised if Minnesota fans bring that back up.
-There were a few outrageous "old-time hockey" North Stars stories on Tom Reid and Gump Worsley that went far to show the personalities of hockey players.
-"Those who say money isn't important...it's important. But I don't think it will be the final decision at the end of the day."
-Charchian didn't know about Jordan Parise being a pro hockey goalie, which made for a semi-awkward moment
-If anything, J.P. came off as a proud father.
"I'm his father who is a wonderful guy. Small-town, big-town he can adjust to anything. He's worked very very hard to put himself in the position he is in. If you know him he is very well organized and thinks out everything he does. He chose to wait until the end of the playoffs before he makes his decision for next year."
Once again you can listen to the interview here (the first 30 minutes) and support Defending the Blue Line's charity game June 20th with NHL stars Zach Parise, Kyle Okposo, Nate Prosser, Bryce Salvador and more. Tickets are only $20 in advance.