Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 1/7/13
ST. PAUL, Minn. It was an odd sight, seeing Zach Parise and Ryan Suter in green Minnesota Wild practice sweaters Monday. Something about it didn't look right, as if the NHL lockout dashed any hope that those two would play for their new team this season. One day after the NHL and the players' associated reached an agreement to end the 113-day lockout, members of the Wild took the ice at Xcel Energy Center for a team skate, sans coach Mike Yeo. New additions Parise and Suter were among the 18 players in attendance, quickly developing chemistry with their new teammates. The duo signed matching 13-year, 98 million contracts in July, creating quite a buzz not only in Minnesota but also around the hockey world. Then, the lockout hit, and all of that buzz dissipated. "It's been tough for everybody -- players, management, fans. It's been a hard, long process," Parise said Monday. "We're all happy that it's over. Now we can just get this thing going and get the season going. We want to play. The fans want to see us play. So we can all move on and forget about this." The 28-year-old Parise grew up in Minnesota but spent his entire seven-year NHL career as a member of the New Jersey Devils. Like Parise, Suter had never put on another team's sweater until Monday, as the 27-year-old defenseman played seven seasons for the Nashville Predators before signing with the Wild. So while Monday's skate was exciting for both, it was also like the first day of school as they got to know some of their teammates and skate with many for the first time. "It was weird," Suter said. "In the summer you wear the green pants and the gloves, and then you put on the sweater today, it was definitely a different feeling but also an exciting feeling knowing that it's kind of a new start and just knowing that I'm here." After a fast start to the season last year, Minnesota faded down the stretch and missed out on the playoffs. But once the Wild landed Parise and Suter -- the two most sought-after free agents on the market this past offseason -- the expectations for the team increased dramatically. Parise gives the Wild another goal scorer. He's netted 30 or more goals in five of the past six seasons, with the lone exception being an injury-shortened 2010-11 season. Suter instantly becomes the Wild's top defenseman. Since signing Parise and Suter in July, all Minnesota has been able to do with its two newest acquisitions is sit and wait while hoping for the lockout to end. "It's kind of like having a toy at Christmas that you're not allowed to play with," Yeo said. "We're excited for a number of reasons. We're excited because of Zach and Ryan. . . . But along with that, we addressed some areas that we needed to improve -- speed, toughness -- through free agency." Parise has spent the lockout in Minnesota, skating regularly at a few Twin Cities rinks with several Wild teammates as well as other locked-out players. Suter, meanwhile, was back home in Madison, Wis., skating with the Madison Capitols, a Midget AAA team coached by his younger brother, Garrett. "It was my dad's organization. I grew up playing for it, so it was fun," Suter said. "My brother's coaching the team. He got to skate me every day. It was good for him." There were plenty of smiles Monday at Xcel Energy Center -- including Parise and Suter -- as Wild players were happy the lockout was over. But they know that not all fans share their excitement. Many fans were put off by the way the negotiations dragged on, and some felt the players were greedy during the process. While there are still plenty of Wild fans excited to see Parise and Suter finally play for Minnesota, both players know they'll have to win some fans back. "Unfortunately, there is a business side to sports. We've seen it in football. You've seen it in baseball before. You've seen it in basketball recently. And now unfortunately we've seen hockey too much recently," Parise said. "It lasted a while. You apologize and you want to put a great product on the ice and slowly earn their trust back and have them come back and support us." Added Suter: "We definitely have to apologize for putting the fans through that. That's not right. You shouldn't have to do that. Obviously apologize, and then we have to go out and play our hardest for them and know that if we play our hardest, hopefully they'll come back." Follow Tyler Mason on Twitter.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best and worst from NBA All-Star Saturday night

WATCH: Klay Thompson can't go home unless he beats Steph Curry in 3-Point contest

Star players are hurting Houston Rockets

Emmitt Smith: Adrian Peterson only current player who could break rushing record

Coach K gets buzzer-beater win over Virginia for his birthday

Baylor approves new measures to deal with sexual assault


Joe Mauer: Concussions blurred vision, affected hitting

LeBron James says Kevin Love-Celtics trade rumor is false

Michael Jordan gifts Kobe Bryant full set of Air Jordans

Bethune-Cookman football player killed at party

Former UFC heavyweight Kevin Randleman dead at 44

WATCH: Chelsea scores three goals in less than 20 minutes

LaVine, Gordon put on best NBA dunk contest in years

WATCH: Thompson beats teammate Curry in 3-point contest

NFL teams, players hand out awesome Valentines

Earl Campbell ‘disappointed’ in Johnny Manziel, wants to help

Big man Karl-Anthony Towns wins NBA skills challenge

MLB commish: Cubs will host All-Star Game in near future

WATCH: Memphis forward recreates Vince Carter's elbow dunk in game

Bruins forward is goal scoring machine after suspension

Michael Jordan gives Kobe Bryant complete set of Air Jordans

Drake has Kentucky edition of custom ‘OVO’ Air Jordan 8s

QUIZ: Name every NBA All-Star Game MVP

Watch rare footage of Stephen Curry from 2001-02 emerges

Check out this custom camouflage Oregon helmet

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker