Hockey Correspondent, White Cover Magazine
To ask the question at the end of last year’s free agent frenzy, you might have been scoffed at. While it was believable that the Devils would still be a palpable opponent, they were still a sixth place team that lost their best all-around player. Ilya Kovalchuk has been disrespected for over a decade, and Martin Brodeur is always getting older.
Meanwhile, their suddenly departed captain Zach Parise was off to his home state of Minnesota to play for a team that didn’t come into being until Zach himself was 16 years old. But, things were going well. He was getting paid millions upon millions a year, he had lured fellow American standout Ryan Suter to the team, as well, and he was all set to play on a line with any two of Dany Heatley, Mikko Koivu, or Devin Setoguchi.
And, he had officially declared he wanted his name to be pronounced Pah-Ree-Zee. (Fancy.)
Now, the Wild are playing well and Parizee has been the best thing about them. His shootout goal against Calgary on Monday night (which you can see at the top of this page) was a thing of beauty, but that’s been the routine for ‘Zee in this young 2013 season.
You might say he’s channeling Charlie Sheen and winning. Of course, so are the Devils and David Clarkson.
After 12 games, Jersey sits atop the Eastern Conference and ahead of several teams nearly everyone had figured would have them trumped by now. That includes Boston, the Rangers, Pittsburgh, Philly, and… well, everybody.
Actually, the only team in the league not below New Jersey is Chicago, but the Blackhawks are so damn incredible that’s really not even fair.
So, who won the breakup: Parizee or the Devils?