- Katie Strang, ESPN.com
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NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey’s Zach Parise and L.A.’s Dustin Brown frequently traded texts throughout the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, but the two U.S.-born captains won’t be communicating now that their teams are set to square off in the Cup Finals.
While there will be little talk between the two during the next series, there will be no lack of respect.
After playing against each other as teens, the two became teammates on several USA Hockey teams, such as the World Championships, World Junior Championships and 2010 Olympic squad. There is plenty of history between the two and plenty of admiration for one another’s play.
“He has a fourth-line work mentality with first-line skill,” Brown said of Parise during the NHL’s media day in Newark. “It’s a scary combination for a player to have.”
Parise’s do-it-all-ability has drawn comparisons to the well-rounded Brown, a top offensive threat that plays with a serious physical edge.
“I think we both do a lot of things well," said Brown, who was born in Ithaca, N.Y. "I think every player is different; I think he’s a little more skilled than I am. I probably have a bigger impact physically then he does, but he’s one of those guys, form a compete standpoint, you’re not going to find a player that competes harder.”
Both the Kings and the Devils feature some of the same strengths -- formidable forechecks, solid offensive depth, great goaltending -- so it’s no surprise that the clubs’ two captains have similar styles of play.
“I do think we play pretty similar styles of hockey," said Parise, a Minnesota native who is the son of former Islander J.P. Parise. "He’s a great player. He’s physical. He does everything on the ice. We really have to make sure we are aware when he’s out there.”
Regardless of whether Brown or Parise prevails in a best-of-seven set, one of them will be the first U.S.-born captain since Derian Hatcher to win the Cup since a championship season in Dallas in 1999.
This 2012 Cup Finals series is actually the first time in NHL history that two U.S.-born captains will compete for the Cup.
“That’s great. It’s great for the game, it’s great for the game in the U.S." Parise said. "That says a lot for American hockey.”
40dPierre LeBrun and Joe McDonald