by David Pavlak on 10/05/11 at 06:38 PM ET
The announcement has finally been made.
Zach Parise will lead the team out onto the ice as the new captain of the New Jersey Devils.
Of course the decision comes as basically no surprise, as Parise was the logical choice to become the next captain after the departure of Jaime Langenbrunner.
There was only one hitch in the decision of Parise becoming captain, and that is his contract issue.
Parise has made it clear though that he enjoys being in New Jersey and he wants to continue his career there.
“I don’t know how many times I have to say it. I like it here and I want to be here,” Parise said to Rich Chere of the Star Ledger. “So nothing has changed.”
Parise had not known that he had become captain until he arrived at the practice rink and talked to his head coach, Peter DeBoer.
“I found out before practice. We had a meeting and I found out then,” Parise said. “I was surprised because I didn’t know it was coming. Nobody gave me the heads-up before the meeting so I was pretty surprised when Pete (DeBoer) said it.”
Patrik Elias and Ilya Kovalchuk will wear the ‘A’ on their sweater this season as well.
Brodeur is happy with the selection of Parise as the new captain of the Devils.
“It’s a good choice, no doubt about it,” Brodeur said. “I don’t think it would’ve been a bad choice if it was Kovy. You had to think about Kovy a little bit. But Zach is the face of the franchise now in New Jersey. You have to do certain things you didn’t have to as a rookie. You just went with the flow. Now he’s a little more responsible to represent this organization.
“I had no doubt he was the best suited for it. It’s well-deserved. He’s huge for our organization and I think he’s grown to be a prominent player and a prominent figure in our locker room. I think it’s a wise decision for him where he’s at in his career. You have to be a guy that wants it. I think he really wants to be the best player and he that guy. That’s great for us.”
DeBoer also had kind words to say about his newly minted captain.
“When you look at Zach, this guy plays the right way. He prepares the right way. He handles himself the right way. There are really not a lot of flaws in his character or how he plays the game. I’ve always believed your best players, if you’re going to win, have to be your most honest players and people. I think he fits that category.”
Parise agreed to a one-year extension this summer to avoid arbitration. In his avoidance, he also took one step closer to becoming a free agent at the end of this year. Parise has repeatedly said that he wants to stay in N.J., and giving him the ‘C’ might help make his decision that much easier. I think Parise stays with the Devils organization, and signs a new extension with them within the first month of the season.
Parise has the numbers and skill to provide the leadership for this team. His health will be an issue as he is coming back after missing practically an entire season due to a knee injury. Travis Zajac’s injury could also prove costly to the Devils as they are down their true number one center. Parise’s return to the lineup with the captaincy should be a shot of adrenaline into the Devils side to help them boost their way into the playoffs this year, though, and get back to the way Devils hockey used to be played. Zajac’s return in a few months will also be a major helping hand.
The Devils will need to make sure that they resign Parise to a long term deal, because if there is one thing that is becoming clear, it’s that Parise has the potential to be the face of this franchise for a very long time.
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