Mike McFeely column: Parise not fazed by stories

Grand Forks, N.D. This weekend's Zach Parise story concerns a Sports Illustrated article that nobody in Grand Forks can seem to get their hands on. Though somewhat amusing, it is slightly less juicy than last weekend's Zach Parise story, ...

Grand Forks, N.D.

This weekend's Zach Parise story concerns a Sports Illustrated article that nobody in Grand Forks can seem to get their hands on.

Though somewhat amusing, it is slightly less juicy than last weekend's Zach Parise story, which had the Twin Cities in a tizzy.

When you're the hottest freshman college hockey player in the country, it's always something.

We'll start with last weekend's events concerning the University of North Dakota phenom.


In last Friday's Grand Forks Herald, hockey writer Virg Foss quoted former University of Minnesota player and coach Herb Brooks as saying he was a major reason why Parise ended up choosing the Sioux over the Gophers in the heated recruiting battle between the schools.

"I told him since he was the best player, he needed to go to the school with the best tradition and facilities and coaching staff. And that was North Dakota," Brooks said.

To legions of prideful Gopher hockey boosters, this was a stab to the heart. The great Herbie Brooks, with maroon and gold coursing through his veins and the halo of the 1980 Miracle on Ice glowing above his head, had told the most coveted recruit in the country to attend a school other than Minnesota.

It was a topic of much discussion in the Twin Cities. A Minneapolis columnist wrote about it. The radio talk-show airwaves crackled with debate over it.

Earlier this week, Brooks tried to save face by telling a Twin Cities newspaper the Herald story was "inaccurate." The former coach didn't comment further.

At Friday's game between the Sioux and Wisconsin at Engelstad Arena, Foss reiterated that the quote was accurate. In fact, he said, he was not the only reporter who heard it.

For Parise, the story of his recruitment is old news. Following the Sioux's 2-0 victory over the Badgers, when asked about Brooks' quote, the polished 18-year-old seemed a bit irritated while trying to put the subject to rest.

"There was no steering toward any school or anything. It was just blown way out of proportion. It's a dead topic, a dead subject and I don't know why people are still talking about it," Parise said. "It's over, it's done with, move on. I'm still here and nothing's going to change that."


Parise scored the Sioux's first goal Friday, although it took him almost 1½ periods to get credit for it. At 10:27 of the first period, Andy Schneider's shot from near the blue line bounced like a pinball through sticks and skates before going between Badger goalie Bernd Bruckler's legs. Jason Notermann was credited with the tip-in.

It wasn't until early in the third period, after a videotape review, that the announcement was made that Parise would get credit for the goal with assists from Schneider and Brandon Bochenski.

Perhaps it was only just, since Parise spent much of the game setting up teammates who couldn't finish the job.

"It just seems like it's been going like that for the last two weekends. Eventually they will start going in. I'm not going to get frustrated with that. They'll start landing soon," Parise said. "Things kind of balanced out with that (goal). But there is going to be a game when all our posts start going in and pucks are going to start landing flat for us. That's going to be a fun night."

The show Parise put on earlier in the season -- a hat trick in his first collegiate game, eight goals in the first four games -- has leveled out. Prior to Friday, he had gone pointless in three of the Sioux's past four games. Last weekend against bottom-feeding Alaska-Anchorage, he didn't have a point in two games.

Is it a natural return to earth for such a young player?

"No. He played well," Sioux coach Dean Blais said. "There were situations where Zach set up our wingers and they should have scored, when guys missed 3-on-1 stuff. He had a couple of nice plays. His job is to get wingers the puck and if they miss it, that's not his fault. I think he gets frustrated over it. If maybe he had a guy like (the high-scoring and since-departed to the pros) Ryan Bada on his line this year, who knows what might have happened?"

Parise said the wild success he had early was unexpected, so he is taking the slowdown in stride. He has 10 goals and 23 points in 11 games.


"I don't what was happening at the beginning of the season, but I didn't expect it to last. It was great, but things have started to slow down and I expected that. I'll just take it game by game and see what happens," he said. "They are just not falling. You start getting frustrated when you are not getting chances and we are getting the chances. No problem."

Which brings us to the Sports Illustrated story.

The national magazine has a one-page article on Parise in its latest edition. Problem is, it is not in the editions that reach Grand Forks.

Slightly different editions of the magazine, it seems, are sent to different areas of the country based on per capita income by zip code. Folks in Grand Forks apparently don't make enough cash to receive the high-brow version of Sports Illustrated that included the Parise story.

Bizarre but true.

Parise did see a copy of the article, given to him by a member of the media.

"I thought the guy did a good job," he said. "I guess it's kind of tough to get, though."

We'll give this hint to the good people of Grand Forks: You'll like the article better than the last one on Sioux hockey that appeared in Sports Illustrated and you'll like it better than Gopher fans liked reading about Herb Brooks.


Readers can reach Mike McFeely at (701) 241-5580 or

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