Zach Parise loves breakfast cereal. He just can't decide which bowl he'd rather have this morning with the media gawking through the window and all. They're all enticing offers. Brand A offers 10 grams of protein and 50% of his daily fiber intake. Brand B offers slightly less protein at 9 grams, but 65% of his daily fiber intake. Brand C offers very little protein and almost none of the recommended daily fiber intake, but it does come with the opportunity to sit next to the cool box on the shelf. How will Zach ever decide?
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Let me get this straight: Zach Parise has the right to decide what breakfast cereal he wants in the morning. He has the right to decide what pants he puts on before he heads out the door. He has the right to purchase whichever American automobile he wants to transport him to work. He doesn't have the right to turn this year's NHL Free Agency Period into whatever it is becoming. Playing in the best league in the world is a privilege. It's not a right.
That's why it's so disgusting Zach spoke to reporters last night with nothing more to reveal than "I haven't decided yet." Imagine Nick Lidstrom calling a press conference at the Joe Louis Arena four weeks ago, but instead of sitting down for a tearful goodbye, the Perfect Human said, "Sorry guys, but I don't know if I'm retiring yet. I'm heading back to Sweden for a few days to listen to black metal and check on Ikea's back stock." I personally would poop my pants. My brain would explode from the sheer force of the paradox.
Parise does it and I'm not surprised. Why? Because it's already taken this long. Parise knew he was going into free agency for a few weeks at the least. He knew which teams were going to extend him an offer for a few weeks at the least. He doesn't need to drag this out at the expense of the team's involved or at the expense of his image. Certainly, deciding where you're going to take up residence for the next decade is a big decision. It does take time. But that isn't the case here. If it were, Zach wouldn't have been holed up in Mississauga. He would have been exploring suburban Detroit, metropolitan Pittsburgh, downtown Philadelphia, etc.
So what's the hang up? Could it be the money? Well, how many more Skidoos can 80 million get you than 70 million? Could it be the team? Well, Zach has been in the league for quite some time now and it's not a stretch of the imagination to think he has a feel for who's out there and where. The truth is that it's probably a combination of these things. That doesn't change anything. It's not a right to play in the NHL and it's not a right to treat that privilege however you want. The greatest players of all time know that. Zach seems to have missed the point, which is why I will hate him for the rest of his career.
Unless he signs with Detroit.
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