ST. PAUL, Minn. The Minnesota Wild went shopping on the Fourth of July last summer and shocked the NHL by signing the top two free agents, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, to matching 13-year, 98 million contracts.
The excitement generated by the signings, which engulfed a state yearning for a winner after four straight years without a playoff appearance, was eventually tempered by the NHL lockout. Until Saturday night.
The Wild finally picked up where the July 4 "oohs" and "ahhs" left off with a 4-2 season-opening win against the Colorado Avalanche at the Xcel Energy Center.
Parise, the forward who has scored at least 30 goals five of the past six seasons, and Suter, the All-Star defenseman who set career-highs with 39 assists and 46 points last season, finally took their first shifts in a Minnesota uniform and the results were exactly as planned.
"It was great to stop analyzing and overanalyzing and listening to everyone analyze," Parise said, after tallying two assists in the win. "F...