Just last summer, Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk were playing for the Stanley Cup as members of the New Jersey Devils. Despite what looked like an epic comeback brewing, they eventually lost to the Los Angeles Kings.
And then, in the span of just over a year, Parise took the opportunity to play in his home state, signing with the Minnesota Wild last offseason. Then, as this season came to a close, Kovalchuk stunned the NHL by announcing his retirement, only to migrate back to Russia to join the KHL.
These two events certainly didn’t make life easy for Devils fans. If it helps, though, Parise feels your pain. Speaking at the U.S. Olympic camp in Arlington, Va, Parise showed no ill will towards his former team despite the fact that Kovalchuk’s contract made it tough to resign the former captain.
“And it’s not as if they … they didn’t kick me out and tell me, ‘You can’t be here because Kovy’s here.’ … It’s too bad for the organization, because he’s a star player. And it’s too bad for the League because he’s a star player,” he said.
Does Parise’s sympathy make things any better in New Jersey? Of course not. There was nothing he could do but watch this unfold just like everyone else. Still, it was nice of him to publicly state that he had no ill will and felt no joy towards watching his former team take another step backwards.
Regardless of how bad Parise feels, it doesn’t change the fact that the Devils are still in need of a lot of help thanks to these two marquee departures.