Parrish Jumps Right In
Wednesday, 11.5.2008 / 4:03 PM CT / Feature
By Dallas Stars Staff
The Stars officially signed right wing Mark Parrish to a one-year deal on Wednesday, and he was able to skate with his new teammates later that morning.
One thing is for sure – no one was happier to be on the ice for practice than Parrish.
“I was ecstatic when I found out I was going to have a chance to play with the Dallas Stars,” he said. “Ever since the buyout happened there had been a lot of talk about other teams wanting me to join them, Dallas being one of them. It was frustrating sitting around waiting for someone to say, ‘ok let’s do it.’ I was hoping all along it would be Dallas.”
The Stars coaching staff noticed a jump to his step immediately. Parrish is putting forth a quality effort. He wants to be here and wants to help.
“Mark looked good out there,” said Head Coach Dave Tippett after practice. “He is very excited for the opportunity and we need some help. He has the opportunity to help us. He is a veteran and that experience is invaluable. You can tell he has poise with the puck.”
Parrish is no stranger to success in the NHL, having scored 20+ goals in a season six times with one 30-goal campaign (2001-02 w the Islanders). He has played in 660 NHL games, scoring 208 goals with 164 assists. Parrish was bought out of his contract by Minnesota in the off-season and was waiting for a chance to jump on with a solid organization.
“The timing was tough on the buyout with the Wild,” he said. “There was nothing I can do about it so I just stayed in shape and I wanted to be ready for any opportunity. There were no demands on my end I just wanted to get back into the NHL after I left the Wild. I just wanted another opportunity to play this game and show what I can do.”
Mike Modano has known Parrish for years and knows what he can do, playing with him on several international teams with USA Hockey, including the 2006 Olympic Team.
“I’ve talked to him over the past couple months and he was hoping that he would have a chance to play here,” Modano said. “He is a right-hander and he knows how to score. He is something we can use right now. Sometimes a change of scenery helps a player like with Ribeiro, he was playing in his hometown, which is tough. I know I would not like it if I was playing in Detroit because you have everyone around you all the time -- friends and family – always something going on. That can make it harder to concentrate on the job at hand.”
Parrish practiced on Wednesday with Brad Richards as his center. While his linemates have not been set, Parrish says you really can’t go wrong with any of the Stars centers he might be paired with.
“Any right wing in the league that looks at this team up the middle would just salivate to have the chance to play with these great center men,” he said. “I am looking forward to getting to know all of them because there are times when you will be playing with everyone on the team. I am very excited.”
The Stars will practice again on Thursday before departing for California to play the Ducks on Friday and the Sharks on Saturday.
“I am really looking forward to the game on Friday and it’s nice to get a few practices with the team before we have to play in a game,” Parrish said. “Hopefully I can find a comfort zone with the team quickly.”
Mark Parrish gave the Stars another able body to practice on Wednesday.
“Parrish is a good fit to our line-up with the injuries we have at the moment,” said Tippett. “Jere (Lehtinen) skated (Wednesday) morning and there is a good chance he will practice with the team (Thursday).
Steve Ott and Brenden Morrow each left practice early, both as precautions. Tippett said both are listed as lower body injuries.
Familiar Friends from Back Home
Toby Petersen knows Mark Parrish very well. They played together in high school and before that in pick-up games and some youth hockey in Minnesota.
“I moved into the same town as him when I was about eight or nine and we started playing together when we were nine,” Petersen said. “We played on the same team all the way through high school. We kept in touch over the summers and during college we were big rivals; I was at Colorado and he was at St. Cloud State. I kept tabs on him while he was playing with the Wild and some of my friends and relatives would talk about him.”
Petersen was one who was happy to see Parrish join the Stars.
“I heard the rumor that Parrish might be signing here and I was excited to see him come to the team,” he said. “Our high school teams were very good. We went to the tournament every year and we won the state championship my freshman year, which was his junior year so we know each other’s game very well.”