While they’re not exactly Lebron James and Dwyane Wade (yes, I spelled Dwyane correctly), Zach Parise and Ryan Suter have decided to join forces to play in….Minnesota?

Well then.

As NHL.com’s Dave Lozo put it this morning before it happened:

Welp, here it is: From Michael Russo of the Star Tribune:

I want to make some “Kiss from a rose on the gray” Seal reference, but I have no idea what it means.

Still, this is awesome.

Here’s Russo’s story as the news broke.

And as for the contract values:

That’s a cap hit of $7.53 million dollars each, which isn’t all the ridiculous for blue chip pieces under a 70 million dollar cap.

At face value, the decisions are a little surprising. No wonder they took so long to decide – they really went out on a limb here.

Zach Parise turned down the chance to be linemates with Sidney Crosby for a decade, immediately contend for Stanley Cups, and inflate his stats to Hall-of-Fame levels.

Ryan Suter turned down the chance to move the puck up to a crew of forwards in Detroit that include Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg (pieces he never had in Nashville) and play for an organization that competes for the Cup every year, no matter how they have to do it.

But really…it sort of does make sense.

They were getting comparable money either way – that was never the issue. So that means it came down to which city and team could provide them with what they desire, not just as hockey players, but as humans.

First off, Zach Parise is just about the nicest mid-western kid you could ever meet. He’s savvy enough to handle the east coast if need be, but he’s from Minny, and his family is from Minny. He’s engaged to be married, and had to make the decision where to throw down serious roots, and figure out where he wants to raise his family. I’m also willing to bet his lady-friend had some input into the decision. Pittsburgh is a fine city and all, but for Zach, Minnesota is home.

Ryan Suter isn’t much different. It’s funny that when all the haggling for his services was taking place, you’d see sentences like “They flew to a private airstrip near….Ryan Suter’s farm in Wisconsin, where he spends his summers.” Oh. That’s the most old-school hockey thing ever. “Welp, the season’s over, back to bailing hay.”

The delayed decision wasn’t some big shot big-timing anyone. This is a guy trying to make the right decision who, like Zach, happens to like mid-west-living, and I can’t say I blame him. Frankly, if I had to choose to live in Detroit or Minneapolis, I’m leaning heavily towards the latter.

And of course, neither of them wants to play for a perenial loser every year, so going together ensures there’s at least some talent, some team nucleus that won’t be going anywhere any time soon. Mikko Koivu is a rock of a player, Dany Heatley is declining but still has that bomb of a one-T he can fire in on the powerplay, and they’re pretty solid in net.

Plus, by taking the ridiculously long contracts, they’ve kept their cap hits low(ish), meaning that they have the opportunity to fill in some holes down the road. Next season PM Bouchard and Matt Cullen will combine to earn over $7.5 million, but are UFA’s after the season. There’s some more money that could be better spent.

The defense needs shoring up, but these guys are going to be there for a long time. With a core in place, you have something to build on.

I love their decision for a number of reasons, one of which being that it was fun to see Pittsburgh and Detroit (two teams I have nothing against) get shut down. The NHL isn’t like baseball where the second you get to superstar status, you’re a New York Yankee. Hell, Justin Schultz just chose Edmonton.

The fans in Minnesota deserve this more than anyone. They’ve damn near sold out every single game since the Wild became a thing (missing once or twice, I believe?), and the team has never been particularly thrilling. They’ve never had the big names, or the most exciting team – sure, they’ve been scrappy, they’ve had some good years, but today….today is a huge moment for that franchise.

This year I included the Wild on my “5 teams that make me want to flip the channel” list. Well, you can scratch them off that (Carolina too).

So it’s a new beginning for fans, and a new beginning for these two. Is this step one en route to a Stanley Cup in Minnesota?