Hey everyone, Michael Rand here. I jumped on Russo's blog to help capture the spirit of the Zach Parise/Ryan Suter introductory press conference, which is also streaming live on Startribune.com. I will add updates throughout the press conference, which is being held in the main lobby area of Xcel Energy Center. Team employees have been invited, and there is a very large media turnout as well. It should be quite an event ...
12:04: Parise (right) and Suter (left) came out to applause from Wild employees.
12:08: "Chuck (Fletcher) came to me with a very ambitious plan. ... They have transformed our franchise." -- owner Craig Leipold, who also said the Wild has sold 2,000 new season tickets since Parise and Suter signed last Wednesday.
12:13: Moment of levity: Parise and Suter notice they both have "A" alernate captain patches on their jerseys. Yeo jokes, "Zach, we probably should have talked about that."
12:15: On when the two decided they wanted to play together. "I don't know when it exactly started. ... We coincidentally were free agents at the same time. A couple years ago at least we might have joked about it here and there. ... Leading up to July 1, we started to get real serious about it. we both felt this would be a great fit for both of us." -- Parise.
12:16: "We believe we're that much closer. ... There's that much more excitement ... knowing what these guys are capable of. It changes the way we view ourselves." -- Wild coach Mike Yeo.
12:19: "Hopefully everyone can forgive both of us for not choosing the Gophers about 10 years ago." -- Parise (he played at North Dakota in college, while Suter played at Wisconsin.
12:21: "They would come at us hard. They would have a lot of back pressure. ... Great goaltending, and they have guys who can shoot the puck. They're a very good team." -- Suter, on his impression of the Wild last season.
12:23: "Minnesota is where we wanted to be." -- Suter.
12:24: Mikko Koivu is "one of best two-way centers ... always wanted to play with him." -- Parise, who then looked at Yeo. "Not trying to drop hints or anything." (laughter).
12:27: "This is the best-case scenario. ... We took our shot and went for both of them, and we're very fortunate they decided to come here." -- Fletcher.
12:29: "Excited is an understatement." Parise, talking about the reaction of his dad and ex-North Star J.P. Parise, when he told him he was going to play here for the Wild.
12:30: Press conference over.