Surly & I are die-hard L.A. Kings fans. You know this. However, there is one team for which I have always held a soft spot and that is / was the Minnesota North Stars. Since they moved to Dallas, they became dead to me (steers and queers, as the expression goes) so that spot was reserved for the other Minnesota team, the Wild. Why? Because I consider Minnesota to be the Hockey State in the United States and, despite Detroit’s self serving and undeserving title to itself as “Hockey Town”, I can name about 10 towns in Minnesota that are more deserving of said title, starting with Warroad and ending with St. Paul.

I also have a very dear friend who is a Wisconsin boy and a big Minnesota Wild fan. My friend Tyler was recently converted to the L.A. Kings as his second or “alternate” team two seasons ago but Minnesota is still his number one.

It is for all of these reasons that on June 30, I tweeted:

When I read this morning that the Minnesota Wild have signed both Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, two very talented and hard working American players (it is not coincidence the announcement was made on July 4), a smile spread across my face. I then immediately called Tyler who had not yet heard the news.

Zach Parise, a Minnesota native, and Ryan Suter, a Wisconsin born player, didn’t come cheap. The deal is reported to be 13 years and $98 million dollar for each. That is a dual cap hit of over $15 million. But when you consider the Wild were dead last in offense last season and their powerplay was as bad as ours during the regular season, they need the juice. They were already a good defensive team so Suter will only make that stronger.

Does this make the Minnesota Wild a contender? I don’t know but it does make them a hell of a lot better. Contenders aren’t made on paper. They are made on the ice and line and player chemistry as well as coaching play a big role in that – Stanley Cup Champion L.A. Kings fans know all about that.

Tyler will bask in the Parise and Suter glow and we’ll mostly talk about the Wild today when I see him. After all, if there is one thing that being a long time fan of the Stanley Cup Champion L.A. Kings and the greatest team in hockey will do for you is built humility.

Henry David Thoreau wrote, “all good things are wild and free.” How appropriate. Zach Parise is free from Newark and a Minnesota Wild.