Allow me first to apologize profusely for adding to the Zach Parise contract hoopla, but I just wanted to pass along a few observations I've had recently. It seems that a couple prominent teammates have started to gently hint that they really want Zach to stick around these parts. Certainly not groundbreaking stuff, but little things that I think seem to bode well for Parise's future in NJ. EARTH SHATTERING ZACH PARISE NEWS AFTER THE JUMP.
I've noticed a couple times that teammates have addressed the Zach contract situation specifically in the past few days:
First Martin Brodeur, when asked about his possible contract for next season (via Fire & Ice):
"Let’s put it this way," he said. "They haven’t signed Zach (Parise) yet, so I’m on the back burner a little bit. I think that’s No. 1 for this organization to try to lock this guy up somehow and, hopefully, they will."
"He’s a grown man, but I just want him to stay here," Kovlachuk said. "Like I said a lot of times, it will be good for the whole organization. He’s been with the team for a long time, he’s our captain and, hopefully, he’ll sign a long-term deal."
It's one thing when fans are asking you to stay, but once your teammates start saying how much they want you around, I think it can make a much bigger impact. Anyone who has ever been a part of a team knows that the respect of your peers means a ton. Playing for one's teammates is something you'll see athletes talk about constantly.
Neither Marty nor Ilya said anything particularly huge, but I think you sort of have to read between the lines here. The comments seem to be subtly imploring Zach to stick around. Heck, the question posed to Marty didn't even have anything to do with Zach and he still went there.
This team has been clicking of late, which can put rose-colored glasses on anything, but the locker room really seems to be in great shape. Zach was recently quoted as saying the guys would "run through a wall" for Coach Pete DeBoer and that everyone has really bought into the system (again, via Fire & Ice). The team leadership is well respected right now, the players seem to be having fun (here's Boulton and Palmieri not talking about fight club), and guys are sticking up for one another (I think Kovalchuk may have been in some sort of fight or something sticking up for Zach recently).
With how well this team is meshing this season, and especially if they make some noise come playoff time, I think the possible future for Zach Parise in a Devils uniform remains bright. At least that's what I'll keep telling myself until July 1st. Or [fingers crossed] whenever he signs a contract.