Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

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Parise, Suter talk about their decisions

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild off-season news, Wild player moves Updated: July 4, 2012 - 2:07 PM

Zach Parise and Ryan Suter talked to the media via a conference call this afternoon. A few quotes follow.

Also, some contract details, as they are both on 13-year, $98 million deals: Suter and Parise each will make $12 million the next two seasons, $11 million the year after that, five years of $9 million, then $8 million, $6 million, $2 million, $1 million and $1 million the last five years.

This includes $10 million signing bonuses the first two years, meaning $2 million in-season salaries.

Now to some quotes:

Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher:
“This is a great day in the history of the Minnesota Wild. ... These are high character people who are going to add as much off the ice and in the community as they do on the ice.

“We will have cap space going forward to continue adding to our rosters and make adjustments.

“These signings will resonate well with our fans. Our goal wasn’t to make a splash, it was to make us better. The real work is just starting. ... If we assume we just have to go to camp and get out on the ice, we’re kidding ourselves. ...
“It’s a great start ... we have a lot of character on our team, we added a lot of talent.

Zach Parise, who will wear No. 11:
“Ryan and I had talked throughout the year, at the time you always say to each other, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to have a chance play with each other on the same team?’ Was it realistic at the time? I don’t know. Different teams have to have the availability. I know how great Ryan is ... to have an opportunity to play with a guy of that caliber is a great opportunity. We kept in touch throughout the whole process. You have to decide what is best for you.

“This meant a lot to me and to my family. My parents were so excited ... I grew up here. I love coming back here in the summers, I enjoy it so much, [thought] it would be great to be here year round.

“In the end, it came down between New Jersey and Minnesota. I have great friends in New Jersey. I’m a loyal person. I loved playing there. It came down to coming home and being around family.

“I always hoped that I would have an opportunity to play in Minnesota. We do have a lot of ties to Minnesota, but ... every kid that’s growing up in Minnesota would like to play for the Wild, and ... we’re lucky to make it happen.

“There are great fans in New Jersey. As far as going back there, it’ll be pretty unique, it’ll be pretty tough with all the memories that I have there. From a fan’s standpoint, I think I gave everything I had when I played there, I don’t think anyone could argue that. I can see it from their standpoint, but I’m confident in saying that I did everything I could have when I was there.”

On talking to Wild players: “I was playing phone tag with Mikko [Koivu], and got a couple of texts from [Dany] Heatley, that’s about it."

On the team's outlook: “I’ve been on teams that looked great on paper that didn’t make the playoffs, and teams that just squeaked into the playoffs, like this year, we were a sixth seed, and made it in to the Finals."

“We like what they are doing here in Minnesota, the young players that they drafted and are coming in, the goaltending, they’ve got the pieces. We want to help get them to where they want to go.

Parise was captain New Jersey. On being captain here, where Koivu wears the C: “They’ve got a captain, they’ve got a great captain. That’s not a concern of mine now."

On other teams pursuing him: “I’ve kept everything pretty private, I don’t like to discuss other than New Jersey who was in who was out, if they want to discuss it, they can."

How to say his last name: “I pronounce it “Par-e-zee.”

And now ...“I will be going right into the lake and shutting my phone off."

Ryan Suter, who will wear No. 20

About Parise: “We were in contact, texting back and forth, asking about different places and differenct situations where we both could work. Probably last night and this morning it became realistic.

“When the season ends and you start thinking what’s next, big thing is my family, obviously. They were an option right away, Minnesota, and I always thought about Minnesota, it just never seemed realistic, but for me, right after the season, you think about places you could potentially go to, and the situation that is best for you and your family."

Calling Nashville GM David Poile: “I talked to David this morning, called David, toughest phone call that I’ve ever had to make in my life, it was so hard to make that to David, David had done so much for me, they’re a first class operation in Nashville, and it stars with David Poile."

Ex-teammate Shea Weber: "He said you have to do what’s best for you, and he wished me nothing but the best of luck.

“I got a phone call from Dany Heatley ... our friendship goes back. He called and said he really wanted me to come and just expressed how great an organization it is, and how they’re very close to winning ... that’s all the contact I really had.”

on playing in the West: “I definitely thought about different teams that I would be a good fit with, eventually it just came down to where my family would like to live. My wife is from Bloomington, Minn. That had a lot to do with it, and also the fact that Minnesota has a lot of good young players that I think will help make this team successful.

“Zach had a big part in my decision, and my family.

“Detroit is a great franchise, they came in yesterday and I met with them, and they got a great thing going there, obviously, and they were right there until the end as well..

“We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. We want to win. And the fans do to.”
 

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