Mar 19, 2012, 12:47 PM EDT
When Devils captain Zach Parise said earlier this year he wasn’t going to negotiate a new contract during the season with the team, many New Jersey fans took it as a sign he’d be testing the free agent waters this summer. Since then, Parise has turned up his game and has the Devils cruising into the postseason.
As Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger finds out, it’s no coincidence that eliminating the distraction of talking about a new deal is helping Parise in a big way this season.
“I think at different times your mind wanders,” Parise said. “But I think my agents did a really good job kind of helping me through it. It can be hard. You go to Canadian cities and certain cities and that’s the first thing the media asks you about. So you have to be able to kind of block that part out.
“When you’re repeatedly asked about it, at times it can be hard to block it out. After a while I had to say I’m not going to answer questions about it any more. I think it’s gone the way I expected it to go.”
He’s blocked it all out just fine as he’s scored 28 goals and added 34 assists putting him third on the team in points behind Ilya Kovalchuk and Patrik Elias. While Parise tells Chere he’s not happy where his game has been the last few games, the Devils having three clutch scorers makes them a tough team to handle in the playoffs.
- Captain no more: Sharks strip Thornton of ‘C’ 35
- Tank defense: NHL changes up Draft Lottery format 45
- Fanspeak: Clarke voted greatest Flyer in franchise history 32
- Different tune: Moore hasn’t settled with Bertuzzi, says brother 27
- Rangers win Kevin Hayes sweepstakes 25
- Kovalev compares Subban to Leetch, says he isn’t worth the money 50
- Under pressure: Rick Nash 9
- Wang sells Isles to ex-Caps owner Ledecky 41
- Report: MLSE CEO Leiweke to step down (Update: Leiweke denies move) 6
- Report: Bertuzzi-Moore case settled out of court (Update: Bertuzzi’s lawyer confirms) 35