Parise ‘A’: New Minnesota stars given alternate captaincy, possible linemates

Zach Parise and Ryan Suter were formally introduced to the State of Hockey as members of the Minnesota Wild on Monday, answering questions that were already answered in their introductory conference call and Michael Russo's epic tale of their acquisition as free agents.

OK, Parise did offer an update on his wedding planning. It's going well. And Ryan Suter's isn't a groomsman.

Perhaps the biggest news on Monday: That Parise (No. 11) and Suter (No. 20) sported the letter "A" on their sweaters, as alternate captains of a team for whom they've yet to play.

Forwards Matt Cullen and Dany Heatley served as alternate captains last season under Mikko Koivu; neither of them signed a $98 million contract over 13 years with the Minnesota Wild recently.

Parise was surprised his sweater had an "A" on it already; coach Mike Yeo quipped, "We probably should have talked about that."

This isn't anything too extraordinary. Brad Richards moved right in as an alternate with the Rangers last season. Parise was the captain of the New Jersey Devils; Suter was an alternate with the Predators. If this didn't happen now, it would have happened eventually — it's not on the level, say, of Bill Guerin discovering a "C" on his New York Islanders jersey after signing there. Which is to say this is 10-times less unintentionally hilarious.

The other bit of news from the presser is that Parise's and Suter's new linemates are coming into focus.

Parise lobbied a bit to play with Koivu as his center. "I don't want to single anyone out, but you play with a center like Mikko, he's arguably one of the best two-way centers in the game. I always thought that he and I would play well together. No dropping hints or anything," Parise said, to laughter in the room.

"He's a type of player I would play well with. I think we play a similar north/south hard game."

Yeo confirmed to Mike Russo of the Star Tribune that Parise will line up with Koivu and Heatley. Which is pretty damn good news for fantasy owners of either of those three players. And bad news for the Western Conference.

The coach also said that Suter would be paired with Jared Spurgeon if camp started tomorrow. Spurgeon has 123 NHL games to his credit. He's also never been nominated for a Norris Trophy, doesn't have a Chara-esque shot and isn't named Shea Weber. Your move, Pippen ...

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