After competing in his 1,000th NHL game last Sunday Hawks winger Marian Hossa is honored before the Chicago Blackhawks vs. Minnesota Wild NHL game Tuesday March 5, 2013 at the United Center. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: March 6, 2013 6:12PM
Blackhawks fans can’t help but wonder what the team would have looked like this season if Zach Parise had signed with the Hawks instead of the Minnesota Wild.
But Parise, who chose a 13-year, $98 million deal with the Wild over the Hawks and the New Jersey Devils, doesn’t let his mind wander in that direction.
“No, it’s over,” he said Tuesday morning in the United Center’s visitors’ dressing room.
Parise, who had 31 goals and 38 assists with the Devils last season, entered Tuesday with eight goals and seven assists in 21 games. And Wild coach Mike Yeo is quite pleased that the American star chose his team over the Hawks.
“When you sign a contract like that, you’re always going to be measured statistically, people are always going to look at the bottom line,” Yeo said. “But with a player like Zach, there is so much more that he brings to the table. Our team has really started to pick up our game, and it’s not a coincidence. This is a guy that delivers every night. The work ethic that he brings doesn’t cheat the team in any way, he’s going to go out and do things the right way. He’s a huge part of our team.”
Patrick Kane is near the bottom of the league in hits, with just four through 22 games. But if he ever catches any flack for that fact, the super-skilled Kane has a quick answer.
“If guys are getting on me about my hits, I’ll say, ‘Well, it’s tough to hit when you have the puck the whole game,’ ” he said with a smile.
Fourth-line winger Michael Frolik missed Tuesday night’s game with an illness, Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. Brandon Bollig returned to the lineup in his absence, skating alongside Marcus Kruger and Daniel Carcillo.
The national media continues to zero in on what the Hawks are doing in the first half of the season. And while ESPN pundit Stephen A. Smith spent much of Monday’s programming discrediting the Hawks’ streak by talking about how hockey has “ties,” even opponents think the run is good for the sport.
“I’m sure It brings attention to it, rather than watching basketball highlights all day on ‘SportsCenter,’ ” Parise said. “You at least get a little bit of a mention when you’ve got a team doing as well as they are. It’s good for the sport, it’s great for hockey. It’s a good thing, and hopefully we can end it.”