Strike one: Zach Parise, the most sought-after free agent of the summer, was the first to tell the Carolina Hurricanes they were no longer an option. That took all of five hours Sunday.
Strike two: Ryan Suter, the defenseman who was only a shade less pursued than Parise, slept on it before eliminating the Hurricanes on Monday morning. Both chose the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday.
And now, strike three: After pushing hard to get a deal done with the Columbus Blue Jackets, and equally hard to get Rick Nash to waive his no-trade clause, the Hurricanes threw up their hands and dropped their pursuit of the high-scoring forward Thursday.