So, how was your Independence Day?
Mine was ok. Hung around at home with the family, avoided the stifling heat oh, and covered the seminal moment in Wild franchise history!
Yep, still checking to make sure this actually happened. Like many of you, I'm still shaking my head in disbelief that Craig Leipold, Chuck Fletcher and crew were able to work with Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to sign the two biggest free agents of the year and change the franchise in two pen-strokes.
Let's recap by taking a walk around the Wilderness, shall we?
Do Zach Parise, Ryan Suter Make Minnesota Wild Contenders? - SBNation.com
What happens when you take the top NHL team as of December 2011 and add the top free agent forward and defenseman as of July 2012? A team that should at least contend for second place in the Northwest Division, that's what.
Goodbye Zach Parise; Former Devil Captain Goes Wild for 13 Years, $98 Million - In Lou We Trust
Parise will be dearly missed in New Jersey. He was drafted in the first round by the Devils in 2003 and since breaking into the league, he's played the kind of hockey that fans fall in love with. Parise would skate in seemingly constant motion. Despite his stature, he was fierce around the net and below the dots, where he scored most of his goals. Parise would just generate shot after shot, pile up goals and assists, and could play well in his own end too. A few years ago, he was simply a dominant player - one of the best in the world. Parise was a great player.
Ryan Suter leaves Nashville, agrees to deal with Minnesota Wild - On the Forecheck
[A]ll the best to Ryan Suter going forward. He's earned his way into this position of being able to make the right choice for himself and his family, and I, for one, don't blame him one bit.
Zach Parise, Ryan Suter Deals Watershed Moment For Wild - SBNation.com
Like I said, this franchise is still a long way from winning a Stanley Cup, but it took a significant step Wednesday. Parise and Suter would have been a huge get for anyone, but their impact in Minnesota is about more than just what they'll do on the ice.
Devils GM Lou Lamoriello: Zach Parise chose Minnesota over New Jersey | Puck Daddy - Yahoo! Sports
"Our offer was competitive, and we did not at any time have a phone call that we had to change it or it had to go up," said Lamoriello, who said there was never a request for a counteroffer from Parise. "There was never a talk about money after our initial meeting in Toronto. The response was that the money that we offered wouldn't be the issue.
Minnesota Wild suddenly relevant with Zach Parise, Ryan Suter signings | NHL | Sports | National Post
Zach Parise and Ryan Suter’s decision to sign as free agents with the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday sort of feels like hockey’s version of the Miami Heat, minus the sour taste in our mouths. Well, that is, unless you happen to live in Nashville or New Jersey. Even then, you can sort of get behind this.
Ex-New Jersey Devils captain Zach Parise signs 13-year deal with Minnesota Wild - NYPOST.com
Twice in a month, the Devils are runners-up among 30 teams. Nice try again, but second is still nowhere, and losing captain Zach Parise wounds their future more deeply than losing the Stanley Cup Finals.
D'Alessandro: Don't blame Zach Parise for his decision, it's all business | NJ.com
You heard him, just 21 days ago: "I’ve said all along, I love playing here and I’ve always appreciated everything that this organization has done for me," he crooned. "My feelings have never changed." Until, you know, someone opened Parise’s mind to the reality that there are a dozen better rinks to skate in, with St. Paul pretty much on anybody’s top six list.
Zach Parise, Ryan Suter set off fireworks—and signal Wild's shift - NHL - Sporting News
The Fourth of July is more like Christmas in Minnesota this year. Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, the top two players on this year’s NHL free agent market, are headed to the Wild.
The Anti-LeBrons: Zach Parise, Ryan Suter choose Minnesota over the obvious | Puck Daddy - Yahoo! Sports
In the eyes of some, the only thing separating Parise and Suter from LeBron and Bosh are Jim Gray producing an ESPN special that turns their signings into a deplorable spectacle.
2012 free agency -- Signings of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter will pay off big for Wild - ESPN
Never mind Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya joining forces to sign in Colorado back in 2003 to try to win a Cup before the lockout, the joint signing by Parise and Suter to identical 13-year deals that will pay them $98 million marks a seminal moment in the history of free agency for the league.
Wild land Suter and Parise with massive matching contracts - The Globe and Mail
The contracts make them the seventh and eighth highest paid players on an annual value in the league next season, with cap hits of $7.54-million until 2024-25 when they’ll both be 40 years old.
Wild land top forward, defenseman in Parise, Suter - NHL Free Agency 2012
There were reports this week that Parise and Suter had talked to each other about possibly playing together, and the Wild became the beneficiaries as one of the few franchises that could afford both of them.
Wild set up to be contenders now and in the future - NHL Free Agency 2012
Expect the additions of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to have a greater impact on the present fortunes of the Wild -- and putting these two stars with a strong, young foundation already in place could make Minnesota contenders for years to come.
Free agents Zach Parise, Ryan Suter sign with Minnesota Wild - ESPN
Call it a Wild day for Minnesota: On Wednesday, the team landed not one but both of the NHL's top players available in free agency: forward Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter.
Minnesota Wild go from boring to fascinating with bold Ryan Suter, Zach Parise signing | Edmonton Journal
The Minnesota Wild have been the most boring team in hockey for years now. Their hideous uniforms, their grinding style, their unrelenting caution, their lack of punch, all of it has added up to my least preferred six days on the Edmonton Oilers television schedule each winter. Even when the Wild acquired Dany Heatley, a player that Oilers fans love to hate, it made little difference. Same old dull, dull, dull.
Zulgad: Signings are 'game-changer' for Wild on ice and at box office | 1500 ESPN Twin Cities – Minnesota Sports News & Opinion (Twins, Vikings, Wolves, Wild, Gophers)
Leipold also had thrown the equivalent of a high-tight fastball at the heads of the Twins, Vikings and Timberwolves. The Wild suddenly had gone from a team that hadn't made the playoffs in four seasons to a franchise that will be expected to contend for the Stanley Cup in 2012-13.
Wild land Parise, Suter in 13-year deals
"You always say to each other, 'Wouldn't it be great to have the chance to play with each other and to play on the same team?' Was it realistic all the time? I don't know," Parise said. "I know how great of a player Ryan is. I've played with him on several teams, different tournaments. To have an opportunity to play with a guy of that caliber is a great opportunity.
Around the web: Ex-Wing Mike Modano asks if he can play in Minnesota, too | Detroit Red Wings | Detroit Free Press | freep.com
"Can I come back and play in Minnesota too?" --Mike Modano, former Red Wing and Minnesota North Star (before the team moved to Dallas), on Twitter.
Analysis: High-end additions infuse jolts of energy and credibility | StarTribune.com
It was 10:30 p.m. in Turku, Finland, and Mikko Koivu picked up the phone with a fervent, "What's up, buddy?" The Wild center was saying things like, "It's huge," and "I'm super, super excited," and he sounded like a man ready to strap on the skates that very moment.
Minnesota Wild land Zach Parise, Ryan Suter – USATODAY.com
In 12 years of existence, the Wild showed themselves to have an avid fan base, but they had limited playoff experience and virtually no national profile. The Wild haven't been a sexy team, but that might have changed Wednesday when they managed to land the two most coveted free agents, primarily because both wanted to play together and had ties to the state.
Bob Sansevere: Minnesota Wild all of a sudden a brand-new team - TwinCities.com
On the Fourth of July, a day known for historic decisions, the Wild declared their independence from mediocrity. They persuaded the NHL's premier free agents, forward Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter, to put their John Hancocks on Wild contracts and make it a day like no other in Minnesota history.
Zach Parise: Choice was between Devils and Minnesota Wild | NJ.com
Zach Parise called himself "a loyal person" and said the only reason he is leaving the Devils is to play in his home state of Minnesota and with longtime pal Ryan Suter.
Gardy, Mauer help recruit two stars | StarTribune.com
"I don't think he needs the $5, but I definitely sent him a video," Gardenhire said. "I offered him about 18,000 rounds of batting practice. So I'll take credit for him."
Signings deliver immediate business impact | StarTribune.com
The phones were ringing off the hook at Wild headquarters by Wednesday afternoon. Meanwhile, at the Hockey Lodge team store, workers were busy pressing fresh No. 11 and No. 20 jerseys, which will be ready for sale Thursday morning.
Reusse: Stars finally show Minnesota some love | StarTribune.com
Even those Minnesotans who can take hockey or leave it were blown away by the idea that two athletes with options to play in New York or Chicago, or to play with established stars in Pittsburgh or Detroit, decided they wanted to be here.
Chart: Wild reaction | StarTribune.com
So here's the question: Given that this is hockey, and given the big news of the day, who gets the top assists when it comes to Zach Parise and Ryan Suter signing on with the Wild?
Souhan: Leipold happy to spend $200M in one hour | StarTribune.com
Having spent almost $200 million in about an hour, making him the Minnesota version of Pacman Jones, Wild owner Craig Leipold realized he would have to take on one more expense. ''I'm probably going to have to put a two-way mirror around my suite,'' he said. ''So people can't look in and watch me going crazy.''
Wild lands biggest catch: Parise, Suter for $98 million each | StarTribune.com
In one of the most monumental days in Minnesota hockey history -- and indisputably Wild history -- the hometown team shook the foundation of the National Hockey League on Wednesday by landing its hottest two free agents: Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.
Parise, Suter signings a victory for a passionate hockey market | Hockey | CBC Sports
Zach Parise wanted to resume his NHL career at home. Ryan Suter made a decision that he deemed was best for his family. The most celebrated unrestricted free agents in the 2012 NHL class shocked the hockey world on Wednesday by together choosing the Minnesota Wild with identical 13-year, $98-million contracts.
Scoggins: Son rises, and father beams | StarTribune.com
"Of course we're happy, but it's not about me or his mother," he said. "It's about him getting himself set for life and settling down in Minnesota. He's the one who made the decision. He's really excited about the decision and, for me, that's what it's about. To watch my son be happy. That's a fatherly feeling."
How the Zach Parise/Ryan Suter deals got done - Pioneer Press
Now that all the news is out there and I’ve had a chance to come up for air, I wanted to put together a timeline of how Zach Parise and Ryan Suter’s twin 13-year, $98 million deals came together.
Minnesota Twins Gardenhire, Mauer help recruit Parise | ProHockeyTalk
Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune reports that Minnesota Twins star catcher Joe Mauer and manager Ron Gardenhire participated in the recruitment video sent to Parise. However, this wasn’t a simple courtesy cameo.
If you see other links, please share them. I need to get to work. Have a great day and Go Wild!