'OK' just isn't enough for Parise and Wild

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 2, 2013 - 5:54 AM

Motivated by an average season and first-round playoff ouster, Zach Parise is aiming for more.

 

Zach Parise doesn’t take solace in the fact that he helped the Wild make the playoffs for the first time in five years last season. Parise doesn’t buy into the notion that simply making the playoffs equates a successful season.

After all, this is a guy who traveled to the brink of winning the Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils the year before.

Parise still knows though that the Wild, after years of restocking the cupboard and losing despite spending to the salary-cap ceiling, needed to start somewhere.

But Parise has big aspirations, and starting Thursday when the Wild opens the 2013-14 campaign against the Los Angeles Kings, the Minneapolis native expects more from himself and his team.

Parise scored 18 goals and 38 points during last year’s shortened season. Over an 82-game span, that’s a pace of 31 goals and 65 points. Not bad, but for a proud player who scored more than a point per game three years ago for the Devils and a career-high 45 goals and 94 points in 2008-09, Parise called it just, “OK.”

“In my mind, I know I can play a lot better,” Parise, 29, said. “For me, that’s encouraging because I know I can be a lot better. I’m not going to say I was terrible, but it wasn’t my best. For me, I thought it was just average.”

Talk about an honest assessment from an honest, hardworking player, one who often says what he feels and wears his happiness or frustration on his face.

Last season wasn’t an easy one for Parise, and he never could have predicted it. Parise and Ryan Suter sent shock waves through the NHL and state of Minnesota when they each signed matching 13-year, $98 million contracts on July 4, 2012.

Then, the buzz kill — they each had to wait six months to don a Wild sweater because of the lockout.

Still, Parise was coming home to Minnesota. He never envisioned how difficult an adjustment it would be to walk into a new dressing room, get accustomed to a flurry of new things, like a staff and system, after years of comfort in New Jersey.

It affected his game on the ice.

“I’m never one to make an excuse, but it was hard,” Parise said. “There’s different things that come into play. You’re playing in a new rink all the time with new people you’re not familiar with, and I think a lot of times I played too conservative, too much to not make mistakes.

“A lot of times I wasn’t overly comfortable playing. I just feel this year a lot more comfortable and relaxed.”

Playoff woes

Parise also opted not to play overseas like many NHL players during the lockout. He started to worry he’d fall behind if the lockout ended. To compensate, he felt he “overtrained, and I got worn down quick. I felt more tired last year than I ever have.”

All this culminated in April, when the Wild fell from division leader April 1 to having to win its regular-season finale to even make the playoffs.

Parise scored one goal in the playoffs. Linemate Mikko Koivu didn’t register a point. The Wild fell in five games to the Chicago Blackhawks, and that weighed on Parise all offseason.

  • WILD SEASON OPENER

    7 p.m. Thursday vs. Los Angeles • Xcel Energy Center • TV: NBCSN (100.3-FM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tampa 6 FINAL
Philadelphia 2
LA Clippers 96 FINAL
Chicago 86
Cleveland 29 2nd Qtr 11:23
Houston 31
Golden State 5:00 PM
Boston
Philadelphia 5:00 PM
Indiana
Portland 5:00 PM
Sacramento
Charlotte 5:00 PM
Orlando
Oklahoma City 5:30 PM
LA Lakers
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Denver
Los Angeles 0 1st Prd 20:00
Winnipeg 0
Tampa Bay 4:00 PM
Florida
Columbus 4:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Toronto 6:00 PM
Washington
Anaheim 7:00 PM
Dallas
St. Louis 8:30 PM
Vancouver
SMU 63 2nd Half 1:35
Connecticut 71
Quinnipiac 65 FINAL
Manhattan 69
Fairfield 56 FINAL
Niagara 57
Marist 49 FINAL
Rider 59
Iona 60 FINAL
Saint Peters 68
Oregon State 35 2nd Half 17:55
California 34
South Florida 31 2nd Half 18:14
Houston 37
Marquette 27 1st Half 2:53
Providence 33
Michigan State 3:00 PM
Wisconsin
Siena 3:30 PM
Monmouth
Pittsburgh 5:30 PM
Wake Forest
Oregon 6:00 PM
Stanford
Purdue 6:30 PM
Ohio State
Arizona State 7:30 PM
Colorado
Washington St 8:30 PM
UCLA
Georgetown 66 FINAL
Providence 81
Binghamton 50 FINAL
UMBC 73
Elon 65 FINAL
Hofstra 58
Virginia Tech 47 FINAL
Boston College 49
(8) Louisville 59 FINAL
Virginia 75
Texas 69 FINAL
West Virginia 76
Creighton 53 FINAL
Villanova 61
Seton Hall 85 FINAL
Butler 76
UNC-Wilmington 76 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 65
(5) Maryland 69 FINAL
(25) Northwestern 48
Saint Josephs 67 FINAL
La Salle 55
Louisiana Tech 53 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 60
Rhode Island 70 FINAL
Massachusetts 78
Richmond 55 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 49
Davidson 46 FINAL
Fordham 54
St Bonaventure 43 FINAL
Duquesne 51
George Mason 45 FINAL
(22) George Washington 80
Indiana 60 FINAL
(20) Rutgers 71
(12) Texas A&M 63 FINAL
LSU 80
Ole Miss 47 FINAL
(11) Miss State 55
Clemson 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 61
Maine 47 FINAL
New Hampshire 61
Vermont 48 FINAL
Albany 76
Quinnipiac 87 FINAL
Monmouth 48
Saint Peters 47 FINAL
Siena 64
(4) Notre Dame 67 FINAL
NC State 60
Wisconsin 62 FINAL
Penn State 56
Stony Brook 49 FINAL
Hartford 56
Northeastern 47 FINAL
William & Mary 62
St Johns 61 FINAL
Xavier 74
James Madison 74 FINAL
Delaware 71
Towson 21 2nd Half 15:15
Drexel 36
Illinois State 27 2nd Half
Bradley 27
Southern Ill 20 2nd Half
Loyola-Chicago 29
Northern Iowa 23 2nd Half
Wichita State 29
Minnesota 37 2nd Half
(17) Iowa 42
(15) North Carolina 40 2nd Half
(16) Duke 29
Alabama 27 2nd Half 20:00
Auburn 38
(9) Florida State 38 2nd Half
Miami-Florida 22
Arkansas 11 2nd Half
Missouri 24
Georgia 28 2nd Half
Florida 19
Dayton 45 2nd Half 17:40
Saint Louis 42
Drake 28 2nd Half 20:00
Missouri State 47
Colorado 3:00 PM
(10) Arizona State
(19) Stanford 3:00 PM
Oregon
Marquette 3:00 PM
DePaul
Southern Miss 3:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Vanderbilt 4:00 PM
(6) Tennessee
(2) South Carolina 4:00 PM
(13) Kentucky
Utah 4:00 PM
Arizona
Ohio State 4:00 PM
Nebraska
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which is your favorite 'return' by a Minnesota athlete?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close