At 34-years young, forward Mark Parrish still has that passion and fire to play hockey be it with Portland Pirates or the Buffalo Sabres.
Parrish, along with rookie Luke Adam, was recalled earlier today by the Sabres after they were besieged by injuries and illness.
For the Bloomington, MN native, he went through the summer and the first part of training camp not know if he would even have a job this season, but Sabres GM Darcy Regier came calling and offered him a no promises try out with no strings attached.
Basically, it was “show us what you’ve got”.
The result landed Parrish a two-way deal and a trip to Portland where he’s become a leader in the locker room and on the ice.
“It seemed long mentally, but it’s been the blink of an eye,” said Parrish. “The summer was the longest part not knowing anything. You work hard and believe in yourself, but not knowing if you’re going get an opportunity is pretty tough.”
In 42 games with the Pirates, Parrish recorded 11 goals 24 assists for 35 points with a plus-4 rating. Prior to being recalled, he had a three-game point streak where he posted two goals, seven assists for nine points, which included back-to-back four point games.
Still through all of his accomplishments over the last few weeks Parrish was shocked to learn of his recall.
“We’ve had a lot young guys that have been playing really really well in Portland,” he said. “As an older guy brought in for some of the leadership I wasn’t sure if I was going to get a shot or not. Now that I am I’m looking forward to it.”
Pirates coach Kevin Dineen wasn’t shocked nor was he surprised at Parrish’s promotion.
“I’m really excited for Mark Parrish,” said Dineen. “He’s worked hard this year and had a great weekend and that’s a well-earned call up. I enjoyed making that phone call to Mark.”
Parrish has lengthy resume to bring to the Sabres.
In 720 NHL games over 12 years with Florida, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Dallas, Tampa and the New York Islanders, Parrish has 216 goals and 171 assists.
Still the Stanley Cup proves elusive, but is still an important goal to Parrish.
“It’s always been a dream to play in the NHL,” he said, “but my main dream is to win a Stanley Cup and to get an opportunity to do it here in Buffalo is fantastic.”