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Daily Cupcakes - July 5, 2012

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First and foremost, hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable holiday. Onto what everyone I'm sure wants to read more about: The greatness that is the Minnesota Wild starting lineup (cause the rest...not so scary).

Yes, they both signed in Minnesota. Glad to see the NW getting some salt back in it. This softy schedule crap wasn't fun, anyway. For both player, family played a huge role.

Parise grew up in Minneapolis, the son of J. P. Parise, the former Islander and Minnesota North Star. Suter, the son of the 1980 Olympian Bob Suter, grew up in Madison, Wis., and his wife, Becky, is from Bloomington, Minn. Parise and Suter are friends who played together for the United States at the world junior tournament and the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

From the real ice to the virtual ice, EA gives everyone a look at what's to come in this year's NHL series installment with an interesting developer blog.

We’re doing that through two major gameplay innovations – True Performance Skating and EA SPORTS Hockey I.Q. We’ve spent more time working on our A.I. this year, than over the past three years combined and the result, EA SPORTS Hockey I.Q. – an innovative new A.I. system governing the behaviors of players, goalies, and team systems – is something that our development team is truly proud of. We can’t wait for you to experience it.

Blahblahblah obligatory CBA story.

The league's collective bargaining agreement expires in September, and that means changes are coming to a salary-cap structure forged only after a painful process that saw the entire 2004-05 season canceled by a lockout. Any new contract needs to make sense under an economic system that's yet to be determined.

And the bigger question, of course, is whether that system can be hammered out without another work stoppage.

John Tavares: from prodigy to legit NHL star, one who cares about the league having an upcoming season.

aft. But Tavares is determined to have a significant off-ice role as well. He's the youngest NHLPA team player representative by far and one of the few cases where a franchise's marquee player has thrown himself into the heart of the process of negotiating a new CBA to take the place of the one that expires Sept. 15.

The Avs lost out on a homecoming of sorts when Matt Carle accepted Tampa Bay's lucrative six-year contract offer to join stalwarts Eric Brewer and Victor Hedman on a suddenly imposing Lightning blue line.

The Tampa Bay Lightning announced that they had signed him to a six-year deal. TSN reported that it was worth an average of $5.5 million a year. He averaged $3.4 million in his last contract.

And lastly, a happy article to read as the Detroit Free Press tries to look on the bright side of failure, also known as the entire Red Wings off-season.

"I'd rather go with our kids," Holland said. "I think we can compete. Are we going to win the Presidents' Trophy? No, but you don't have to anymore."

It is pretty hard to be excited about the Wings' defense as it is right now, but a dark horse who could make it look better is Brendan Smith. He played just 14 games last season, but he's smart, swift, moves the puck well, likes to shoot and has an edge to his game.