Zach Parise stared into the camera on Tuesday afternoon, March 31, with his son Jaxson perched on his lap.
It was a microcosm of what everyday life has become for Parise and the rest of his family.
Since the NHL suspended the 2019-20 season weeks ago, and subsequently instituted a self-quarantine period for players and staff, Parise has been confined to his home, in Edina, like most Minnesotans. That self-quarantine period recently was extended to April 15.
The veteran Wild forward has spent his days at home hanging out with wife Alisha, helping home school twins Jaxson and Emelia — and trying to keep up with his youngest child Theodore.
“Our 2-year-old is a handful right now,” Parise said Tueday with a laugh. “He naps from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and that’s our time to take a deep breath.”
It also served as the perfect time for Parise to sit down for a 30-minute video conference call Tuesday.
It was moderated by the NHL via Zoom and featured several other Central Division players: Gabriel Landeskog of the Colorado Avalanche, Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars and local boy Blake Wheeler of the Winnipeg Jets.
This is a condensed version of the call; questions have been edited for clarity. You can watch it in its entirety on Zoom.
How has the team been keeping in contact? FaceTime? Zoom? Text?
“The group chat was pretty active right away. But as this has gone on, it’s gotten less and less. I don’t think anyone has written into it for about a week now. We had some funny stuff going around at first. Now it’s like everyone left and everyone took off and we kind of stopped talking to each other, I guess.”
How are you staying in shape during the self-quarantine period?
“We have a little sport court in the basement. Just very limited workout stuff. I ended up ordering a bike just to kind of get the heart rate up. Not much of a runner so I got a bike to try to get the heart rate up a little bit. We play some one-on-one down there, and (Jaxon) keeps me sharp. Hopefully it will carry over.”
Your teammate Kevin Fiala was starting to look like a legitimate superstar. That’s good to see, right?
“He’s been playing awesome for us. He was on a tear before this thing ended up happening, so hopefully he’ll keep that momentum up that he had. Even my daughter was starting to grow a little affection for him. At their school, they did a local sports hero thing and they all know that the twins are my kids so I’d say 90 percent of them wrote that Zach Parise is their favorite. Except my daughter. She wrote Kevin Fiala. That’s how things are going in our household right now. He’s been playing awesome.”
Was the stoppage disappointing because you guys were playing so well?
“There were a couple of things that (interim coach Dean Evason) wanted a little differently. It took us a few games, and then once we got the hang of it, I think we all liked the way we were playing. We were playing with a lot speed and a lot more pace than we had been. We were starting to win some games, and we were feeling good about it. Hopefully that can continue. We are right there in the mix with that bottom group of teams trying to get that final wild-card spot. We liked the direction we were going.”
Which teammate would you least want to be stuck with in the self-quarantine period?
“(Jordan) Greenway. He’s a great guy. Just lazy and tired all the time and a slob a little bit. On the airplane, his chair is just gross and crap everywhere. From what I hear, around his apartment, pizza boxes all over the place.”
What show are you binging on Netflix right now?
“I think we’re starting the last episode of Tiger King tonight. I think we finished six (episodes) last night. I don’t know. I love it. It’s great.”
What else have you been doing to pass the time?
“I think we opened the wine at 5 p.m. and I fell asleep watching Tiger King at 8:30 p.m. on the couch. I know what that numbness feels like. Once (the kids) are finally down at 7 p.m., (my wife and I) usually don’t even speak to each other. Just silence for a good hour.”
What is your message to Wild fans listening out there?
“Hopefully everyone’s staying at home. I know here in Minnesota we’ve got that stay in place for the next two weeks. Hopefully everyone’s enjoying some time with their family like we are. With what we do, we don’t get a ton of time to spend with the kids during the season, so this has been nice. But hopefully, everyone’s finding something to do inside and staying healthy. Everyone back in New Jersey and New York, I know it’s the hotbed there (for the coronavirus). Hopefully, everyone is hanging in there. I know the country is watching and praying for everybody. Everyone’s hopefully being nice to each other.”