It was a long, strange summer for Zach Parise–after making it to the Stanley Cup Final with the New Jersey Devils and losing in six games, he entered the free agency market and signed a lucrative long-term new deal with the Minnesota Wild that many fans hope will be a reversal of fortune in St. Paul.
Then, the NHL lockout threw a wrench in his plans for the immediate future and has him considering playing alternatives in other countries.
Parise told Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune (Minneapolis) that he is taking a wait-and-see approach to offers coming in from Swiss teams. If the talks between the NHL and NHLPA, which were recently upped from one to three days, do not go well, he could very well consider taking more serious looks at the offers coming his way.
Parise is in the Twin Cities area right now along with other Wild teammates and other NHL players who call the Gopher State home, including Kyle Okposo, Blake Wheeler, John Scott and new Stanley Cup champion Davis Drewiske. David Backes is on his way up to Minnesota because many of his teammates have left St. Louis.
This player coalition continues to practice in the makeshift, make-it-work style required by the lockout, although without the obvious endgame of a training camp in sight, it is sometimes hard to keep up the motivation level.
Last night, the players were briefed on the status of negotiation issues by an NHLPA representative in the area. Russo said that, from talking to many of the players at the make-it-work practice, the NHLPA’s briefing included these talking points:
-an update on the lockout so far
-the union’s view of its proposal to help struggling, smaller-market teams
-the union’s plan to stand its ground
-the strategy of hoping the owners will begin to cave if and when (perhaps more like when) regular-season games start being canceled, triggering even more red on the balance sheets
As for Parise, in addition to considering going Swiss, he’s been thinking of putting together a charity game to benefit the charity Defending the Blue Line. If he leaves the country before the event, which he’s thinking of having on Oct. 28, the game will still happen without him.
Also, if the three-day talks do not go well, rumor has it there could be a big exodus of players leaving the country in early October.