It may well be that Parise is one of the few players in the league who can actually block out the effects of his big pay day. Presumably, he knows if you’re a league leader playing on a comparatively small contract, you’re a hero. If you make $10-million, you need to walk on water, solve world hunger - and score 50 goals before anyone is satisfied.
Parise laughed at that observation.
“It’s true,” he said. “I know people can’t wait to jump on it. That’s human nature. People love to jump on things like that. It doesn’t bother me.”
THIS AND THAT: Speaking of big contracts and the Nashville Predators, goaltender Pekka Rinne is starting to earn his. After failing to register a win in his first five starts of the season, Rinne is on a tear – two consecutive shutouts and three in his last four games. In all, he has now gone 137 minutes and 41 seconds without surrendering a goal. Even without Suter to man the defence, the Predators are the stingiest team in the NHL – and Rinne is back among the league leaders in goal, with a 1.61 GAA and a .938 save percentage … Until they lost 4-3 in a shootout to the Colorado Avalanche Thursday, Minnesota had gone six games in a row, scoring just a single goal in regulation. They won one of those in overtime and another in a shootout … As the contract standoff between the Avalanche and centre Ryan O’Reilly drags on, it becomes more and more likely that the NHL team will trade his rights. Question: What is fair value for a player who led the Avalanche in scoring last year (albeit with just 55 points), just turned 22 and is considered an excellent two-way player? Is a first-rounder in a deep 2013 draft enough? Or would the Avs insist on a quality young player going the other way too? For any team evaluating the decision, the question is how much they’re asking is how much will O’Reilly eventually score in the NHL (he had 107 points in his first 236 games)? O’Reilly last scored more than 20 goals in a season playing for the Toronto Jr. Canadiens of the Greater Toronto Hockey League back in 2006-07. In his two years with the OHL’s Erie Otters, O’Reilly had 19 and 16 goals in 61 and 68 games respectively.
THE IGGY WATCH: At his best, Calgary Flames’ captain Jarome Iginla plays with an edge. When he gets involved physically, usually the other parts of his game – most notably the offence – falls into place. Iginla played that way this past Wednesday, getting into two scraps and setting up two goals, both pivotal in the team’s 7-4 win over the Dallas Stars, which got them to 4-4-3 and out of the Northwest Division cellar. Iginla’s future in Calgary is subject to almost daily speculation, but it is unlikely that the Flames would move him unless they fall far out of the playoff picture by the Apr. 3 trade deadline. At the moment, the key is to muddle along without starting goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff, out another two weeks with a sprained knee …Every team that builds through the draft acknowledges that there’ll be growing pains, no matter how precocious the prospects. Consider the Edmonton Oilers, where Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has now gone 23 games without scoring an NHL goal dating back to last season, when he scored 18 times in 62 games. The puck’s gone in for Nugent-Hopkins in the minors and for the world junior team, but not in Edmonton, where Jordan Eberle has also gone eight games without a goal. Edmonton needs to make strides now because in March, they’ll be on an extended road trip, when the Brier curling championships move into Rexall Place.
KING FOR A DAY: Droughts do come to an end eventually, as Kings’ backup Jonathan Bernier can attest. Bernier went almost 11 months between wins, before earning the victory this past Monday for L.A. over the St. Louis Blues. Jonathan Quick, MVP of last year’s Stanley Cup playoffs, has a 3-4-2 record, an .891 save percentage and a 2.70 GAA through 10 starts coming off off-season back surgery. Asked Thursday if there was one thing he’d like to see the team do better, Quick answered: “Yeah, I’d like to see myself play better. I think that’s the biggest thing” … Los Angeles is seeing a far different Jeff Carter this year as opposed to last, partly because he’s healthy and partly because he put on 11 pounds of muscle in the extended off-season. On a Kings team struggling to score goals again, Carter is leading the way with six goals … L.A. is bringing up the rear in the Pacific Division and one reason is that their defence corps has been decimated by injuries. Fully one-half of their regulars in last year’s Stanley Cup drive – Willie Mitchell, Matt Greene and now Alec Martinez – are out with significant injuries … From press box to penthouse: Defenceman Keaton Ellerby was largely a depth player for Florida this season, but since arriving in L.A., he is playing above 19 minutes per night on the No. 1 defensive pair alongside Drew Doughty. Ellerby’s father Cal played junior hockey in Calgary on the same Wranglers’ team as Ralph Krueger, the Oilers’ coach, and Kelly Kisio, the long-time NHLer who now runs the WHL Hitmen.