New York Hockey: Zach Parise

Need to know: Devils running out of time

April, 12, 2013
4/12/13
11:37
AM ET

Give the New Jersey Devils this: Even in the face of the inevitable, there is no quit in them.

Down 4-0 to the Boston Bruins by the 3:06 mark of the second period Wednesday night, the Devils kept chipping away, and early in the third they had made it 4-3.

But the results are the results, and so it was that the Devils lost 5-4 and by night's end were that much closer to finding themselves outside the playoff bubble just 10 months after taking the Los Angeles Kings to six games in the Stanley Cup finals.

The loss to the Bruins marked the Devils' eighth straight game without a win. They are in 10th place in the East, only four points out of eighth, but with eight games left you get the feeling watching them that the gap might as well be 40 points.

It is a cautionary tale, to be sure.

The Devils chose not to move captain Zach Parise at last year's trade deadline, and he signed a 13-year, $98 million deal with the Minnesota Wild in the offseason. Would GM and president Lou Lamoriello do the same thing again? Was the trip to the edge of a championship worth the loss of significant assets had he traded Parise? Would those assets have made the difference to a team that has struggled to fill the void created by Parise's departure?

It's worth noting that the same fate awaits the Nashville Predators, the former team of Parise's signing mate in Minnesota, Ryan Suter. The Preds likewise loaded up at last year's trade deadline and hoped to make a long run and, by extension, keep Suter in the fold. Now they will almost certainly miss the playoffs, in part because they received no assets for Suter and have not filled the gap created by his departure.

Undaunted, the Devils followed a similar pattern this year as they chose not to trade David Clarkson, who leads the team with 13 goals and can become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Perhaps Clarkson will stay in New Jersey, where he has become an important part of the fabric of the team. Maybe there will be more laments when the free-agency period begins in July.

The Devils' fade from contention can be attributed to the loss of netminder Martin Brodeur for an extended period this season because of an injury. And that was followed by an injury to star winger Ilya Kovalchuk. Still, as you watched Brodeur, closing in on his 41st birthday, give up five goals to the Bruins on 18 shots, you had to wonder what the plan is moving forward.

The Devils are an uncharacteristic 17th overall in goals allowed per game and do not have a clear successor to Brodeur. They are 27th in goals scored per game and 22nd on the power play; they could not capitalize on a long 5-on-3 advantage situation early in Wednesday's game and gave up two short-handed goals in the first period.

All of which makes you wonder, which is the blip on the radar: last year's run to the final or this year's slide into an early offseason?

Parise and Suter agree to terms with Wild

July, 4, 2012
7/04/12
12:30
PM ET
After four days holding out hope that their captain would return, Devils fans will have to endure a somber Fourth of July holiday.

Zach Parise is headed home.

Both Parise and Suter have agreed to terms with the Minnestoa WIld, a source confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com. The 13-year-deal is worth $98 million, a source told ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun.

Parise decision "likely"

July, 4, 2012
7/04/12
11:43
AM ET
Is the wait finally over?

After three days of indecision from 27-year-old star Zach Parise, it appears he will finally announce his choice.

Parise is "likely" to make his decision Wednesday, his agent, Wade Arnott, told ESPNNewYork.com in an email this morning.

Coveted free agent defenseman Ryan Suter will unveil his future destination, too.

His agent, Neil Sheehy, announced through Sheehy Hockey's official Twitter account that Suter will make a decision today.

Stay tuned...

Rangers add Taylor Pyatt

July, 3, 2012
7/03/12
7:29
PM ET
Since Zach Parise issued his "no way" to the Rangers, the Blueshirts won't be twiddling their thumbs while the rest of the NHL waits for his big decision.

New York agreed to terms on a two-year deal worth $3.1 million with former Coyotes forward Taylor Pyatt on Tuesday.

Read the full story here.

Parise decision coming Tuesday?

July, 3, 2012
7/03/12
11:03
AM ET
That appears to be the most likely scenario.

Now on Day 3 of the NHL Free Agency period, the waiting continues for the market's most sought-after players -- Zach Parise and Ryan Suter -- to decide on where to sign, and presumably, spend the rest of their careers.

No pressure, guys.

At least one person close to Parise has indicated that Tuesday will likely be when Parise makes his decision, according to ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun (Read his morning Cross Checks blog here.)

But, with the magnitude of Parise's choice, another day of indecision like Monday is entirely possible.

Devils GM Lou Lamoriello hasn't been sitting around idly while waiting for Parise to tip his hand, however. After locking up both franchise goaltender Martin Brodeur and beloved backup Johan Hedberg Monday, he locked up veteran defenseman Bryce Salvador to a three-year deal reportedly worth $9.5 million.

Will Lamoriello be able to get the whole band back together?

Stay tuned...

Parise decision expected Monday

July, 1, 2012
7/01/12
9:26
PM ET
The Devils are still in the mix for Zach Parise, but they won't know until Monday if they will be able snatch him up out of what has been one of the most anticipated free-agent sweepstakes in NHL history.

New Jersey remains on Parise's short list of teams he's considering after the first day of free agency, a person familiar with the process told ESPNNewYork.com, but the 27-year-old will be taking Sunday night to collect his thoughts and consider his options before deciding.

And although many have speculated that Parise may be itching to play with fellow free agent and friend Ryan Suter, the most coveted defenseman on the market, an additional source told ESPNNewYork.com not to assume that their decisions will be linked. Suter will also wait until Monday to make his call.

ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun has the full story here.

Parise, Brodeur testing market

July, 1, 2012
7/01/12
1:49
PM ET
As recent indications suggested, the Devils' top two players have become unrestricted free agents.

Both captain Zach Parise and future Hall of Fame goaltender Martin Brodeur chose to test the market, which opened Sunday at noon.

Parise, who is represented by Wade Arnott, is fielding offers from Newport Sports Management's offices in Mississauga, Ont. Among Parise's many suitors, the Minnesota Wild are expected to be aggressive in their pursuit.

His hometown team (Parise hails from Minneapolis) announced via their official Twitter account that they have already submitted contract offers to both Parise and coveted free agent defenseman Ryan Suter.

According to ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun, the Philadelphia Flyers have also submitted offers to both players. The Detroit Red Wings, estimated to be the front-runners in landing Parise (potentially both Parise AND Suter), were preparing to send a delegation to Toronto to meet with the 27-year-old winger and his agents in person, LeBrun said, although they have since scrapped that plan.

No word yet on Brodeur, although a source indicated to ESPNNewYork.com that Devils GM Lou Lamoriello went hard in the hours before the market opened in attempt to re-sign the franchise goaltender.

The Blackhawks are believed to have expressed interest in the 40-year-old veteran.

Defenseman Bryce Salvador, backup netminder Johan Hedberg, and trade deadline acquisition Alexei Ponikarovsky also became UFA's at noon.
NEWARK, N.J. -- Zach Parise may still become the most coveted free agent in NHL history should he make it to July 1, but the 27-year-old captain sounds like he wants to remain a New Jersey Devil.

Addressing questions about his future for the first time in months, Parise appears to be interested in re-signing with the team that drafted him back in 2003.

He has spent all seven NHL seasons with the Devils and said “no” when asked if he could ever imagine wearing another jersey.

“I’ve said all along, I love playing here and I’ve always appreciated everything that this organization has done for me,” he said during the team’s locker clean-out day on Wednesday. “My feelings have never changed.”

Parise also said there was a chance a deal could be done before July 1.

“Yeah, absolutely,” he said less than two days after the Devils were defeated in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals by the L.A. Kings. “Absolutely, for sure.”

Parise said he was “excited” about the option of testing the market as a free agent for the first time in his career, but said he may not get that far.

“Hopefully, we can get things worked out here,” he said.

Although that paints an optimistic picture for the Devils, the issue of whether the team can afford to re-sign him remains to be seen.

The Devils are reportedly in a state of financial distress, although NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said during the finals that co-owner Jeff VanderBeek was “on track” to refinancing the team’s debt.

Parise said he doesn’t have much insight into the situation and how that may impact his status.

“I don’t really know. I think that’s something we’ll have to find out,” he said. “I don’t know if things have happened. We’ve only been paying attention to what’s been going on on the ice. None of that has affected the team. But I don’t know where that all stands today.”

Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello said the team’s financial issues have not affected hockey operations up to this point. He expects the situation to be resolved soon.

“I’m sure what has to be taken care of will be taken care of in the very near future,” he said.

Consistent with team policy, Lamoriello did not elaborate on discussions with Parise’s camp or any timeline between the two sides, but he reiterated that getting a deal done with the team’s franchise player was tops on their offseason to-do list.

“He’s a priority. We’ve said that from day one and that will remain a priority,” Lamoriello said. “Other than that, I don’t have anything else to add.”

Parise said he wasn’t aware of any discussions during the season between his agent and the Devils and was unsure when those will resume.

“We’re 48 hours away from a pretty devastating loss, so I haven’t had time really to sit back and think about that yet, and that’s the truth,” Parise said. “I’m not just giving you lip service. I know what’s ahead and the decision-making, so I guess we’ll have to get the conversations pretty soon.”

After a stunning season in which the sixth-seeded Devils advanced to the Cup finals and exceeded expectations at every turn, Parise’s teammates hope their captain returns.

“I hope that we’ll be able to keep him, because I think he’s the face of the Devils,” said veteran goaltender Martin Brodeur. “He’s a kid that people, really, they see him [and] they see a Devil, they see the type of work ethic he has, and it says a lot for other guys.”

Not to mention how well his first year as captain went, bringing the Devils back after missing the playoffs altogether last season.

“First year as a captain, not too shabby to bring a team like us to the Stanley Cup finals,” Brodeur said. “It’s a big priority for the Devils to get him signed.”

Ilya Kovalchuk, who was signed to a 15-year, $100 million deal in 2010, agreed.

“That’s our first priority this offseason, to sign him. He’s our captain, he’s our leader,” Kovalchuk said. “I’m pretty sure the ownership will figure out how to get things done.”

With free agency only weeks away, the speculation will soon subside when Parise confronts what will likely be the biggest decision of his career. It won’t come down to just money, he assured, but a multitude of factors.

“I like the people here. I like the staff, my teammates. I like the area,” Parise said. “So, there’s a lot of good things about this place.”

Parise declines to discuss future

June, 12, 2012
6/12/12
2:38
AM ET
LOS ANGELES -- Still trying to grapple with the sting of a season-ending blowout loss to the Kings in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals, Devils captain Zach Parise was in no mood to address his future.

The 27-year-old winger, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent July 1, declined to discuss his plans in the aftermath of the Devils' postseason exit.

"I'm not talking about that," he said after his team's 6-1 defeat.

Midway through the season, Parise halted all questions concerning his status with the team -- whether he would remain with the organization that drafted him or test the market as one of the most coveted free agents in NHL history -- and he did not seem ready to address the situation Monday.

An emotional, upset Parise appeared crushed after the game, in which the Kings buried the Devils with a three-goal power-play in the first period and went on to secure their first Cup in franchise history.

"I think we can all look at each other and say we gave it our best, we really did," Parise said. "We just came up short, unfortunately."

Parise would not comment about his future, but veteran goaltender Martin Brodeur did. Brodeur said the situation must be the Devils' top priority moving forward.

"I think Zach is a big thing to the organization. They have to take care of that first," said Brodeur. "There's no doubt about that. They need to try to lock him and lure him into staying."

Brodeur has a decision of his own to make -- he indicated he will come back but will not make a firm decision until July 1 -- but said it will not be linked to Parise's.

W2W4: Game 6, Devils vs. Kings

June, 11, 2012
6/11/12
1:27
PM ET


At a glance: Two times the Kings have had the chance to finish off the Devils and both times they have failed. After falling behind in a 3-0 hole, the Devils have recorded two straight wins to send the series back to Los Angeles and shift the pressure to the Kings for Game 6 on Monday night.

Can the Devils postpone the party once again?

Plenty of people wrote New Jersey off early in the series, but the Devils still feel they have unfinished business.

Said captain Zach Parise: “I don’t see any reason we should be over-confident or satisfied. We’re still down 3-2.”

Losing focus: Kings defenseman Drew Doughty openly admitted his team was guilty of looking ahead the last time they had a chance to clinch the Cup at home. He said the influx of family and friends was a distraction as they were looking to sweep in Game 4 at Staples Center. Doughty vowed that the Kings won’t make a similar mistake this time, calling it “a lesson learned.”

Brodeur at best: 40-year-old Martin Brodeur isn’t showing any signs of aging. The Devils veteran goaltender has seemed to find another gear in the playoffs -- and in the Cup final, especially. In a series where L.A.’s resident Vezina finalist Jonathan Quick has garnered most of the attention, Brodeur is stealing back the spotlight with some of his finest saves of the season. The three-time Cup winner has surrendered only two goals in the last two games.

More snarl to series: In a series that has been physical but otherwise pretty civil, things got a little nastier in Game 5. A post-whistle scrum even led one Kings player to pull Brodeur’s jersey over his head as tempers flared in the third period.

“When you play a team five times in a week-and-a-half, it’s going to get a little more heated,” Kings forward Mike Richards said Sunday.

Cooler heads: With the series tight at 3-2, discipline will be paramount for the Devils. New Jersey’s penalty-killing unit lost a bit of swagger early in the playoffs and almost paid dearly for it. The Devils have given up 19 goals in 73 times shorthanded (74%), compared with a staggering 89.6% success rate that led the league during the regular season.

If it ain’t broke: There will be no lineup changes for the Devils on Monday night, according to coach Pete DeBoer.

Gut-check time: Statistics can change on a dime this time of year -- Game 5 snapped both the Kings' 10-0 road record and the Devils' 0-for-15 power-play skid -- but the Devils want to keep an important one intact: They are 4-0 when facing elimination games this postseason.

Brodeur still defying age in Cup final

June, 11, 2012
6/11/12
1:17
PM ET
LOS ANGELES -- As the Devils enter Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final Monday night -- the team’s 106th game this season -- 40-year-old goaltender Martin Brodeur's play continues to defy expectation, reason or age.

His transcendent performance this postseason, in which he has stolen the spotlight in successive series from Vezina finalist Henrik Lundqvist and Jonathan Quick, has given the Devils both renewed energy and a settling steadiness needed to keep their comeback hopes alive.

He has surrendered just two goals in the past two games to help the Devils whittle a 3-0 series deficit to one game.

“I shouldn’t say that any of us are really surprised,” said captain Zach Parise. “He’s played really well for us all year. When you look at his age, it makes it that much more impressive.”

Game 5 was yet another display that he has more than enough left in the tank to nail down his fourth Stanley Cup. Brodeur kept the Devils afloat during a poor first period and helped them preserve the lead from that point on, stacking the pads to rob Jarret Stoll on a second-period breakaway in one particularly memorable save.

“The way he’s doing it, it’s been awesome,” Parise said. “He’s done what the team asks. You ask of a goalie to give your team a chance to win. I think he really won the last game for us, I really do. He made big saves when we weren’t playing well and bailed us a lot. He’s played great for us all playoffs.”

His ability to find another gear when the Devils need him most has managed to mystify even some of the teammates that have known him the longest.

“He has those exceptional saves in a game when you just sit back and say, ‘Wow’, “ said veteran forward Patrik Elias, who has played with Brodeur since the mid-90s.

Brodeur isn’t the young netminder he was when he won his first Stanley Cup back in 1995, but he’s still playing like one.

Devils' power-play scores, finally

June, 10, 2012
6/10/12
3:38
PM ET
In saddling the Kings with their first road loss this post-season, the Devils also dented LA”s stellar penalty-killing effort with their first power-play goal of the series.

Entering Game 5 without a man-up goal on 15 consecutive attempts, New Jersey finally capitalized on captain Zach Parise’s first goal of the series.

Parise cashed in after an uncharacteristic gaffe by Jonathan Quick, who mishandled the puck behind the net and was beat to the right post to surrender the game’s first goal 12:45 into play.

“For us to get the first goal, that's always big,” Parise said after the game. “I think every team plays better when they've got the lead. You can get the crowd going a little bit, get them excited. We were able to do that.”

Parise’s first-period marker also provided a boost to a struggling unit that has been unable to find the back of the net against a tenacious Kings penalty kill that, before Saturday, had given up only five power-play goals in 73 times shorthanded this playoff run.

“It was big because we obviously wanted to score first and also [because] it was a power-play goal,” said Travis Zajac, who plays with on the first unit. “I think we haven’t been struggling -- we’ve gotten some good looks on the PP -- but it was nice to finally crack that with that one.”

With a 2-1 lead late in the game, the Devils used two defenseman -- first Andy Greene and Marek Zidlicky, then Henrik Tallinder and Mark Fayne -- at the points instead of Ilya Kovalchuk manning the left with a defenseman on the right.

The Devils can only hope they will be in the same position -- with a lead to protect late in the game -- come Monday when they try to prevent the Kings from securing the Cup for the third straight game.

Rapid Reaction: Devils 2 , Kings 1

June, 9, 2012
6/09/12
10:52
PM ET


Recap | Box score | Photos

What it means: Looks like we have a series.

Facing a daunting 3-0 deficit, the New Jersey Devils have now rattled off two straight wins against the Los Angeles Kings to force a Game 6 and keep their comeback hopes alive.

Held off the scoresheet in the first four games of the series, captain Zach Parise finally tallied a goal, and defenseman Bryce Salvador chipped in with one of his own for a 2-1 Devils win at Prudential Center on Saturday night.

Pulling within a game of the Kings, 3-2, the Devils sullied L.A.'s immaculate 10-0 road record and sent the series back to the West Coast for Monday's Game 6.

No team since 1942 has come back to win the Cup after falling behind 3-0, but the Devils are making their best attempt to become the second.

Captain comes through: Parise recorded his first point of the series with a power-play goal that gave the team a 1-0 lead in the first period. Jonathan Quick made a rare puck-handling miscue behind the net and Parise beat him back to the right post to stuff it in at 12:45. It was Parise's first goal since May 23 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Rangers.

Power-play breaks through: Parise's first-period marker was also the Devils' first power-play goal this series. The Devils entered Saturday's match 0-for-15 with the man-advantage through the first four games against the Kings' stingy penalty-killing unit.

Second-chance stunner: After hitting the post in the first period, L.A.'s Justin Williams ripped a shot past Martin Brodeur to tie the score early in the second period.

Stellar saves: Dueling goaltenders Brodeur and Quick made a pair of tremendous stops within the span of 19 seconds early in the second period. With the game tied at 1, Brodeur stacked his pads to stop Jarret Stoll on a breakaway at 4:53. Quick answered at the other end with his best save of the night, kicking out his right pad to deny Travis Zajac's back-handed attempt at 5:12.

Victim Voynov: Salvador was credited with the Devils' go-ahead goal at 9:05 of the second after his shot appeared to deflect first off teammate David Clarkson, then Kings defenseman Slava Voynov. It was a tough break for the rookie blue-liner, who had a puck bounce off him for a Devils goal earlier in the series.

Sky-high: Despite Stoll's best attempt to sell what would’ve been the equalizer for the Kings at 11:16 of the second, his bat-the-puck-out-of-midair-goal was immediately waved off because of a high stick.

W2W4: Game 5, Devils vs. Kings

June, 9, 2012
6/09/12
3:13
PM ET
At a glance: Spoiling the Kings’ hopes of a sweep on Wednesday, the Devils will try to keep their comeback hopes alive with a win in Game 5 on Saturday. Trailing 3-1, New Jersey will host L.A. at home with hopes of sending the series back to the West Coast. Can they turn the series around and plant some doubt in the minds of the dominant Kings? Or will L.A. party on Prudential Center ice with their first Stanley Cup title in franchise history? Stay tuned. The puck drops at 8 p.m.

Why not us?: Only one other team in NHL history -- the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs -- has come back from a 3-0 series deficit in the Stanley Cup final. But the Devils aim to become the second. As coach Pete DeBoer said Friday: “You know it’s going to happen again. So why not us?”

"You're not going to go 200 years without someone else doing it," DeBoer said. "So it's been long enough, it might as well be us."

Top line’s tipping point: Limited to two points in the first four games of the series, the Devils’ top line of captain Zach Parise, center Travis Zajac and star sniper Ilya Kovalchuk, feels confident it's on the verge of breaking through. Both Parise and Kovalchuk had four shots on goal against Kings netminder Jonathan Quick in Game 4, which was sealed on Kovalchuk’s empty-net goal with 20 seconds left in regulation.

Quick-silver: The Kings’ postseason dominance can be attributed in large part to the stingy play of their Vezina Trophy finalist in net. Quick has been sensational in leading the eighth-seeded Kings within one win of the Cup; he boasts a staggering 1.39 goals against average and gaudy .948 save percentage with three shutouts. After frustrating the Devils in the first three games -- in which he surrendered only two goals combined -- Quick gave up two in Game 4.

Road warriors: A Cup-clinching win for L.A. would make history beyond the King’s first championship in franchise history. With a pristine 10-0 road record, the Kings could become the first team in the NHL to rack up 11 wins on the road during the playoffs. Only three other teams in league history have amassed 10 -- the 2004 Calgary Flames (also coached by Darryl Sutter) and the 2000 and 1995 Devils.

Veteran presence: Both defenseman Henrik Tallinder and forward Petr Sykora will remain in the Devils’ lineup after making their series debut in Game 4 on Wednesday. DeBoer said he thought Tallinder was “outstanding” in his first game back from a leg injury that sidelined him for almost six months. Sykora returned to the lineup after serving as a healthy scratch in six consecutive games.

Devils' big guns on verge of breakthrough

June, 8, 2012
6/08/12
3:52
PM ET


NEWARK, N.J. –- When asked by a reporter about the top line's recent production -- or lack thereof -- Devils captain Zach Parise quickly shot back:

"Who said we're not playing well?"

His answer may have struck some as defensive, and maybe it was, but it shows that Parise and his linemates feel that they are either shouldering some unfair criticism or are on the verge of breaking out.

Or maybe it's a little of both.

"I think we're playing fine," Parise said on Friday, one day before Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals. "Just not scoring. If that's what you think [is] the difference between playing well and not playing well, that's your call."

The top trio -- comprised of Parise, center Travis Zajac and sniper Ilya Kovalchuk -- has managed only two points among them in the first four games, one of which was Kovalchuk's empty-netter goal in the Devils' 3-1 win in Game 4 Wednesday.

Jerry Lai/US PresswireIlya Kovalchuk and the Devils face their second consecutive elimination game.


While their contributions haven't been reflected on the score sheet, the team remains confident that will change soon.

"I think they're very close," coach Pete DeBoer said. "You just got to stick with it. It's frustrating. It's pressure. I mean, you guys talk to them on a daily basis. You write about that fact [that they're not scoring]. That's the pressure of playing at this point of the year. They recognize that.

"If they weren't getting chances, I'd be concerned," DeBoer continued. "They easily could have a couple goals each."

Parise and Kovalchuk managed four shots apiece on goal in Game 4, where an abundance of chances finally bore results against Vezina Trophy finalist Jonathan Quick, who has been unyielding as any goaltender this postseason.

That win -- the Devils scored three goals after managing only two in the first three games of the series -- might provide the traction needed to spur production and, ultimately, keep the Devils' comeback hopes alive. Saturday will be their second consecutive elimination game.

"I think we were creating more than we were in the first three games," Kovalchuk said. "I think we're forechecking better. We were in the right places. I think our power play was better. We shoot more pucks on net and create more momentum in the right direction."

Kovalchuk's empty-net goal, scored with 20 seconds remaining and a Devils win already wrapped up, was his first since the series finale against the Rangers in the Eastern Conference final May 25.

Might that be enough to get him, and his linemates, going?

"Empty-netters are the best goals because after you score them, it's almost 100 percent that you win the game, so we'll take them any day," Kovalchuk said. "But, it doesn’t really matter who scored. We feel like we played our best game so far in the series. We've got a lot of room to improve but I think we're in the right direction."

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