Welcome to the Wednesday edition of The Cooler, where it’s OK to admit to things that surprise you. Let’s get to it:
*Wild forward Zach Parise had an interesting recent interview with ESPN’s Greg “Puck Daddy” Wyshynski in which Parise addressed the Wild GM change and his health.
Disclaimer: When quoting someone from an interview that I neither participated in nor saw, my default is to not try to read too much into what they said. Without an understanding of body language and tone, it’s harder to say exactly what someone meant.
That said, Parise had at least a few answers that seem pretty clear-cut. Namely: When asked about new GM Paul Fenton — just the third GM Parise has played for in addition to Lou Lamoriello in New Jersey and Chuck Fletcher with the Wild — Parise noted that Lamoriello was very hands-on. He added:
“Chuck, I felt like, was more passive. Wasn’t around the room as much. We’ll see what Paul will be like. I don’t know. It’s hard to tell unless you’re there. But obviously there haven’t been any major personnel changes.”
That led naturally to a follow-up about whether Parise was surprised by the lack of moves. To that, he said:
“I think everyone thought there was going to be [big moves]. We see the rumors, too. I don’t know what happens on those phone calls. Maybe someone didn’t like something, or whatnot. It’s always easier said than done. Everyone would love to trade four or five guys for a first-line center.”
Again, at the risk of inferring too much it sounds like Parise is disappointed (at least somewhat) in the lack of major offseason moves. He is, after all, 34. He says he’s fully healthy (both back and sternum). Parise has seven (!) years left on his contract, but realistically his window for being a major contributor on a contending team is shorter than that time span.
When asked about the Wild’s ability to contend for a Stanley Cup this year, Parise gave a practical answer that started with “The West is tough” and ended with “we’ll see.”
Making a hasty trade isn’t going to solve the Wild’s problems, but it doesn’t sound like Parise is very confident that running things back with essentially the same group is the solution, either.
*I took a tour of Allianz Field on Tuesday. Minnesota United’s new home is about three-fourths complete, with the expectation that all the outside work will be finished before the winter. With an opening about six months away, there is plenty left to be done, but one very cool thing already in place: a lot of the seats, installed in multiple team colors.
I posted a decent number of pictures from the tour on Twitter, and at least a few of you have used them to locate where you will be sitting in 2019.
*Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is pushing player safety as a reason to advocate FOR an 18-game regular season in the NFL. That’s a new one. It doesn’t have anything to do with more money, right?