Zach Parise is one of the longest-tenured players on the Wild, the team's leading goal scorer and a Minnesota native.
But the winger wasn't chosen as the team's newest captain. Instead, that title went to defenseman Jared Spurgeon.
"Of course, there was disappointment," Parise said Monday on a video call after his first practice of training camp at Tria Rink in St. Paul. "But it's not about me. It's about him. It's an honor for him, so that's what's most important."
Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter are still alternate captains, a role both took on when they signed 13-year, $98 million contracts in 2012 while Mikko Koivu was team captain.
"No one told me anything," Parise said when asked if the organization explained to him why he wasn't selected. "I was happy for Jared. I think he's a good choice. We all know what type of person he is and as a player, we see it every day what he brings to us. I'm happy for him, and I think he's going to do a really good job.
"Ryan and I will help him out the best we can. I think it was a good choice."
Coach Dean Evason said the Wild had "a very difficult decision" in naming Koivu's replacement, but also an easy one because whoever the team tabbed would have been a positive pick.
"But making the decision to have Spurg as our captain, he cares more about the team than he does himself," Evason continued. "He does not have to change a thing."
Leading by example
On his first day as general manager of the Wild, Bill Guerin didn't know Spurgeon was captain material.
But it wasn't long before he thought he might have found the next player to wear the "C".
"From the day I got this job, Spurge is the guy that I heard all about," Guerin said.
An unsigned draft pick who parlayed a tryout into a contract and eventually full-time minutes in the NHL, Spurgeon hopes his determination to improve rubs off on his teammates. And so do the Wild.
"Jared's path shows that he is willing to do whatever it takes, and he is willing to prove himself — not just take things that are given to him," Guerin said. "And that's kind of been the message to the whole team. We have to grow and earn this. Nothing's going to come to us easy."
In between Group A and B sessions Monday, injured winger Mats Zuccarello worked out on the ice but Evason isn't sure when Zuccarello will be ready to return after undergoing offseason right arm surgery.
"It's exciting because he is handling the puck. He is involved in skating," Evason said. "But it's day by day."
The Wild juggled its coaching staff during the offseason, and new goalie coach Frederic Chabot and assistant Brett McLean were on the ice Monday.
Chabot, who was the goalie coach for Edmonton before joining the organization in 2015 as its goaltending development coach, replaced Bob Mason.
As for McLean, who also worked in Iowa before getting promoted to the NHL, he will be an eye in the sky for the Wild to start the season, watching the first two periods of games from the press box before moving down to the bench for the third period.
Before getting on the ice with the Wild for camp, prospect Marco Rossi has to go through the NHL's testing protocol after arriving in the Twin Cities from Edmonton, where he played for Austria at the IIHF World Junior Championship.
If Rossi tests negative, he would be eligible to participate on Friday.