After hearing of Zach Parise’s announcement that he’s going to take more time deciding on where he’ll be playing for virtually the remainder of his NHL career, I got to thinking about the possibility of him ending up with the Penguins. There’s been a lot of “Parise to Pittsburgh” floating around the interwebs, particularly on twitter, and if that’s where he indeed ends up, let me be the first to say that it would be a giant bowl of lamesauce. Why, you ask? Who am I to judge where Zach Parise, a top player in the league who has certainly earned his keep, chooses to call his home? No one, really.
But, the trends of free agency grow more and more disappointing when every year you see a large portion of top unrestricted free agents signing on with already stacked teams in pursuit of a Stanley Cup. It’s completely understandable; everyone wants the chance to win a Cup, so I don’t necessarily blame a player for wanting to be part of a winner. But are there no brave heroes left in professional sports? It reminds me of that LeBron James fellow from winter boringball. Rather than go to a team in true need of his abilities, or hell, sticking with his current team, he opted to take an easier path with a squad already littered with talent. It’s unfortunate that the Devils have fallen under cloudy circumstances regarding ownership and finances, as I do believe if not for that, Parise would be much more inclined to stay in New Jersey where he should be.
I get it, sticking around doesn’t look so pretty given the aforementioned circumstances, fine. But does he really have to go to Pittsburgh? For a guy who just captained the Devils to the Stanley Cup finals as a well-respected leader, he’s potentially going to sign in Pittsburgh and play “Toad” to Crosby & Malkin’s “Mario & Luigi?” That’s not to say he wouldn’t bring his own brand of success and leadership to the team, but wouldn’t it be awesome to see a player of Parise’s caliber look at an up-and-coming team like a Toronto, Buffalo, Colorado, or most ideally Minnesota and embrace the challenge of leading them to the promised land? I’d rather see Parise carry a team like his hometown Wild on his shoulders than be just another piece for a juggernaut Penguins team.
That being said, I’m not going to villainize Parise if he “takes his talents” to the Pens, but I’d have even more respect for the guy if he goes to someone like Minnesota and carves out his own legacy rather than be supporting cast in Pittsburgh. From my perspective, there’s a lot more honor in that. It’s a shame you don’t see more players in the top tier of free agency considering more teams in the second and third tiers of the league. Bottom line: it’s his future and it’s his decision, but it would be mighty refreshing if he was to turn around and either stay in Jersey or join an up-and-comer on the rise.
Hockey This Week
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