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Free agent Parise delays decision on choosing next NHL team

| Monday, July 2, 2012, 5:28 p.m.
Former Devils captain Zach Parise is heading to the Minnesota Wild. (AP)
New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) watches from the crease as New Jersey Devils left wing Zach Parise (9) tries to gain control of the puck during the third period of Game 1 of their NHL hockey Stanley Cup Eastern Conference finals playoff series at New York's Madison Square Garden, Monday, May 14, 2012. The Rangers won 3-0. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Zach Parise's decision has become the indecision.

Parise, one of the most desired free agents available, announced late Monday afternoon that he still hasn't decided on which team he will choose.

The teams believed to be the favorites for Parise are the Penguins, Devils, Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks.

Chicago became a late entry into the Parise sweepstakes with an offer Monday.

Other teams that made offers to Parise include the Philadelphia Flyers, Detroit Red Wings and Carolina Hurricanes, who eliminated themselves from the competition Monday.

Parise intended on returning to his home state of Minnesota to speak with his family before making an announcement.

“We have thoroughly deliberated every option with Zach,” said his agent, Wade Arnott. “He wishes to take some time to step back and review all this with his fiancée and family. We could be drawing closer to a decision.”

Reporters waited outside of Arnott's office in Mississauga, Ontario, for most of Monday before being greeted by Parise.

“It's such a long-term, important decision,” Parise said. “You have to make sure you look at everything.”

Penguins general manager Ray Shero declined comment for a second consecutive day, instead preferring to address the media after the Parise decision has been made.

New Jersey general manager Lou Lamoriello, who is desperately attempting to re-sign his captain, met with Parise in Mississauga on Monday. He is attempting to sway his captain to return to a Devils team that reached the Stanley Cup Final last season.

The Penguins have also been in contact with free agent defenseman Ryan Suter and discussed the parameters of a possible deal.

The Penguins remain intent on landing Parise, who is their top priority in the free agent field.

The Penguins are being far more patient with Parise than they were with right wing Jaromir Jagr last July. On July 1 last year, a frustrated Shero withdrew a one-year, $2 million offer at 11 a.m. to Jagr, who refused to give the Penguins an answer before signing with the Flyers.

Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at jyohe@tribweb.com or 412-664-9161 ext. 1975.

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