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Wild's Parise, Suter avoiding Olympic distractions

by Aaron Vickers

CALGARY -- Though there's plenty of pre-Olympic attention focused on Zach Parise and Ryan Suter of the Minnesota Wild, both players have their attention focused solely on the Calgary Flames.

The Wild will wrap up the road portion of their pre-Olympic schedule against the Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday. Once the break starts, Parise and Suter will both play prominent roles on an American team looking to win gold at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. But until that break begins, neither player is thinking about Sochi.

"Of course, I'm looking forward to it, but there's a few more games before the break and then we'll head over there," Parise said. "There's a lot to do before we get to go."

Calgary is the first of three remaining games for the Wild, who will also host the Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins before breaking for the Games.

For now, Parise's eyes are on the Flames, who have scored 16 goals over their four-game winning streak. Calgary will welcome Mike Cammalleri back to the lineup. The wing missed nine straight with a concussion and ranks third on the Flames with 13 goals despite missing 17 games this season.

While he's focused on the task at hand, much of the hockey world will be focused on Parise, who was named captain of Team USA's entry at the 2014 Sochi Olympics on Friday. Suter will serve as an alternate.

The pair were alternates in 2010 when Team USA earned a silver medal in Vancouver and both are currently alternates to Mikko Koivu with Minnesota.

"It's a huge honor," Suter said of the distinction. "It's a huge honor to play for your country and to wear a letter on your jersey, it makes it that much more special. I'm happy for him [Parise]. He's a great leader. I think he'll be a great captain and I look forward to getting over there and playing."

Though the announcement came Friday, Parise's first challenge as captain was keeping the news a secret.

"I've known for almost a week now," Parise said. "I know they just came out with it [Friday], but I've known for a little while. I just told my parents and my wife. I think Ryan told a couple of people but I didn't tell anyone other than that. It was a little challenging."

Here are the projected lineups for the Wild and Flames:


Zach Parise - Mikael Granlund - Jason Pominville

Jason Zucker - Charlie Coyle - Dany Heatley

Matt Cooke - Kyle Brodziak - Nino Niederreiter

Mike Rupp - Erik Haula - Justin Fontaine

Ryan Suter - Jonas Brodin

Marco Scandella - Nate Prosser

Keith Ballard - Clayton Stoner

Darcy Kuemper

Niklas Backstrom

Scratched: Torrey Mitchell, Stephane Veilleux

Injured: Mikko Koivu (ankle fracture), Josh Harding (illness), Jared Spurgeon (lower body)


Jiri Hudler - Mikael Backlund - Lee Stempniak

Mike Cammalleri - Sean Monahan - Joe Colborne

Lance Bouma - Matt Stajan - David Jones

Kevin Westgarth - Ben Street - Brian McGrattan

TJ Brodie - Mark Giordano

Kris Russell - Chris Butler

Ladislav Smid - Dennis Wideman

Karri Ramo

Reto Berra

Scratched: TJ Galiardi, Christopher Breen, Paul Byron

Injured: Curtis Glencross (high ankle sprain)

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