THE WILD REACTS
So here's the question: Given that this is hockey, and given the big news of the day, who gets the top assists when it comes to Zach Parise and Ryan Suter signing on with the Wild?
Hard to say. But know this: When it came to player-to-player contact, Wild winger Dany Heatley handled the recruitment of Suter and Matt Cullen was the point man on Parise. Presumably Heatley was able to plumb those Wisconsin Badgers roots with Suter while Cullen was able to sing the praises of a return home to Parise.
Perhaps that's why Heatley and Cullen were so enthusiastic about what transpired Wednesday. For example:
It's a big day, it's huge," said Heatley, who had a 20-minute conversation with Suter on Monday. "To bring in two guys of that caliber to a team we feel that has a real strong corps, a lot of good young talent and great goaltending, this gives us a huge upgrade. And it is a real big turning point for all of us. We're all real excited. I texted with five or six guys right away. Every one's pumped and excited and ready to go."
• Mikko Koivu, speaking from Finland: "I think it's huge, for the team," he began. On Parise? "If you asked me who I would like to have as my winger, or on my team as a winger, he would be up there." Suter? "I think the same with Suter. They're both very classy, on and off the ice. It's hard to find better guys than they are." And then some humor: "I played a lot against him," he said of Suter. "It's always been tough. And now I have a chance to give back to him the cross-check he gave to my ribs last year. I still remember that, so hopefully I get to play against him in a scrimmage."
• Cullen: "Man, what a great day. Honestly, what a huge day for the organization, for the state. What an exciting day. I was wrapped up in it just like everyone else just waiting to hear what was going to happen. Not a bad day, huh? Unreal. Unbelievable."
• Wild defenseman Tom Gilbert, who remembers sleepovers at the Parise home while in high school and who played one season at Wisconsin with Suter: "I wish the season was starting right now. I mean, could we have gotten better news today?"
• From Jason Zucker: "Welcome Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to the State of Hockey! It's going to be an exciting year for the @mnwild."
• From forward Matt Kassian: "Normally I don't really tweet about hockey, but it's just too exciting! Welcome to the state of hockey Zach Parise and Ryan Suter."
• From forward Devin Setoguchi: "Wow. Huge news today. #mnwild fans get ready..."
AND Michael Russo