IS HE SERIOUS?
Mike Modano, who began his career with the Minnesota North Stars before moving with the franchise to Dallas in 1993, just retired after playing 21 NHL seasons. But, with the news that Ryan Suter and Zach Parise were both signing with the Wild came this tweet from Modano:
"Can I come back and play in Minnesota too ...?"
OK, so it was a joke. Or was it? On a day when Minnesota was the center of the hockey world, reaction came from all over. Here is a sampling:
• Jack Jablonski, paralyzed Benilde-St. Margaret's hockey player: "So speechless right now, can't wait to see Parise and Suter in #mnwild unis #sopumped should be a great year."
• Jay Onrait, a sports anchor for SportsCentre in Canada: "With both Ryan Suter and Zach Parise joining the @mnwild, I think we can all agree it is time they changed their names back to 'North Stars.' "
• Covers.com, a sports betting site: "OK, wow. Wild now 22/1 to win Stanley cup at offshore books. They were 200/1 two weeks ago in Vegas."
• Former NHL player and Minnesota native Bret Hedican: "Happy 4th of July MN Wild fans! Parise and suter both MN Wild! Wow! The power of Minnesota! Can we all have a good summer now?''
• ESPN's Pierre LeBrun: "Oilers beat out 20-plus teams for Justin Schultz, Wild beat out 20-plus teams for Suter/Parise. These are different times indeed."
FROM WIRES AND WEB
• Toronto Globe and Mail columnist Eric Duhatschek: "The twin signings for the Twin Cities represents a coup for the Wild's young general manager, Chuck Fletcher, son of former Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames' GM Cliff Fletcher. The Wild were always in the picture financially, but it was critical for Fletcher to sell the pair on the possibility that Minnesota was poised for a major on-ice turnaround as well.''
• CBSSports' Adam Gretz: "It's a huge day for the Wild franchise, one that's pretty much been off the NHL map for the first 11 years of existence, anonymously mired in what can only be described as a constant state of mediocrity. They've only made the playoffs three times in their existence, and only once moved beyond the first round. They've had little star power and have rarely been viewed as a threat in the Western Conference. They did everything they could to try and change that on Wednesday."
• Tim Wharnsby of CBC in Canada: "Of course all this comes with the backdrop of another potential lockout this fall. ... But it's difficult to ignore that a passionate hockey market was able to afford players like Parise and Suter. How bad could the game really be with its current CBA?"