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Runners-up react and even vent

  • Article by: NEWS SERVICES
  • July 4, 2012 - 10:19 PM

While the Wild celebrated landing the two biggest prizes in NHL free agency -- Zach Parise and Ryan Suter -- the players' former teams were left with big holes to fill.

"There's no question we're disappointed," New Jersey Devils General Manager Lou Lamoriello said after losing Parise, the team's captain. "It's a very unfortunate thing when you have a player of his stature that comes right through the ranks and, at this given time, a decision is made to go elsewhere. But right now there's nothing we can do about that, and our plans are going forward."

Lamoriello said he met with Parise and his representatives in Toronto on Saturday and made what he called a competitive offer. In later discussions with Parise, Lamoriello said, the player made clear he wanted an opportunity to play in his home state.

"Zach told me that if it wasn't going home to Minnesota, it would be coming to New Jersey," Lamoriello said. "I respect that."

Predators GM David Poile was more pointed in his reaction to losing Suter.

"It would be an understatement to say that the Nashville Predators are disappointed at this time," Poile said. "Actually, not disappointed, but very surprised."

Poile believed Suter would stay with the Predators.

"I was looking at all my notes yesterday, and Ryan had said, when we had a meeting in November with [agent] Neil Sheehy, he said at the time that he's not going anywhere else,'' Poile told the Tennessean of Nashville. "He's signing with the Nashville Predators. It's a quote.

"... He told me [leaving] was for family reasons. I guess that's where the disappointment comes in. I know family is important to all of us, but I know he and his wife like Nashville. It's not very far from Wisconsin or Minneapolis.''

Poile had held out hope that Suter would consider re-signing with the Predators even after becoming a free agent.

That didn't happen, and now he and Lamoriello must adjust.

"We have some outstanding young players here, some who have tremendous potential. We'll do whatever we can to go to Plan B,'' Lamoriello said. "We'll do whatever we can to get ourselves better. But you don't replace a Zach Parise; you just don't."

Parise and Suter also were pursued by Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings, among other teams. Disappointment was the theme with those organizations, too.

"You needed one of these players to come back and say, 'Pittsburgh's the place I want to play' ... but it certainly never got to that point,'' Penguins GM Ray Shero told Yahoo! Sports.

Red Wings GM Ken Holland took a philosophical view on missing out on Suter.

"Personally, I'm very disappointed, but I'm a realist," Holland told the Detroit Free Press. "We were down to the short strokes. His wife is from Minny, grandparents are nearby. We lost out to family. Can't beat family.''

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