By Michael Russo
I just got off the phone with Mark Parrish. Would have updated the blog sooner, but I needed to rework tomorrow’s article a bit. This is going to be a really rambling, fast blog because I feel like Parrish sounded — lousy.
Be sure to report back to Russo’s Rants minutes after 11 a.m. CT Wednesday, and I should know whether Parrish was claimed off waivers or not.
My second stint covering the man we fondly call, “Grumpy,” is over, and like the first, it lasted two years. And like the first, he’ll be missed by the beat writer, and definitely his teammates.
And I’m not saying I don’t get the decision made by the Wild because I understand what led to it. As I wrote yesterday, they were reaaaallll close to the cap, too close. Unfortunately, you had to wonder how that affected Parrish.
Parrish is being mature about the Wild’s decision, although he admits he was “taken aback” and “it hasn’t sunk in,” and it’s “surreal.” It was a long day Tuesday. He sent dozens of calls directly to voicemail because he didn’t feel like talking.
Personally, it’s been a difficult couple years here for Parrish. Being a Minnesota native, it can’t be easy when you’re criticized publicly and when you’re a proud pro athlete, it’s not easy when you’re placed on waivers with the intent of being bought out if unclaimed.
I asked Parrish if he was relieved in a way to get a fresh start somewhere else — with a new coach, new team, brand new chance at possibly an injury-free season. But Parrish said he was disappointed because he’s been working hard this summer to come back to this team with a clean slate and to prove he’s still the same player he once was.
There were times where he looked like he lost a step last season, as Doug Risebrough said in March, but he also sustained a string of injuries that debilitated him. And in fact, the last time he was on the X ice came in Game 1 of the playoffs when he suffered a head, back and neck injury after being slammed head first into the Wild bench.
He asked me to thank the fans and media for treating him “so nicely” here. He still has his sense of humor, saying his daughter “still looks a little too much like daddy,” and “you’re going to have to work for your quotes now that me and Roli (Brian Rolston) are gone. Go to Mikko. He’s got some funny comments and has got to start making them more public.”
I have my doubts Parrish will be claimed because of his contract, although somebody will sign him for a discount I’m sure as a free agent.
These are just off the top of my head thoughts looking at cap numbers, but I’ve put zero effort into this and haven’t looked at depth charts.
L.A.’s under the cap floor, but Terry Murray’s the coach now. Parrish played for him in Florida, so I’m sure it’ll be like, “been there, done that.”
However, Terry’s older bro, Bryan, is the GM in Ottawa, and Bryan traded for Parrish is Florida.
Maybe he goes back to the Islanders? He’s buddies with GM Garth Snow. Vancouver definitely needs offense and has plenty of cap room, so maybe he reunites with Pav. Atlanta and Phoenix are just above the cap floor.
One last Wild note: Risebrough wants to open the door for a prospect like Gillies to maybe make the team, but he also said he wouldn’t mind only having 22 players on the roster, instead of 23. But a lot of times that’s easier said than done because Risebrough’s said that before, and wound up keeping 23.
OK, that’s it from here, although the first part of this blog reminded me of this funny ending to my Mikko Koivu takeout prior to last year’s Opening Night.
Apparently there’s a dark side to Koivu, too.
“He’s the only person more miserable in the mornings than I am,” Parrish said. “We have an ongoing battle between the two of us who comes in grumpier. If it weren’t for coffee, Mikko would be a horrible guy to hang out with.”
Koivu took exception, saying, “I never knew what the word ‘grumpy’ is until Parrish told me, and that only describes him. Like today. Just remember, Saturday, Sept. 29, and Mark Parrish didn’t have a smile this morning.”