Zach Parise (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Zach Parise missed the final game of the Minnesota Wild season, and he may not be ready to go for the start of the post-season. Wild coach John Torchetti said Parise, 31, is day-to-day, but didn’t say if Minnesota’s leading goal-scorer would be back for Game 1 against Dallas.
Zach Parise missed the final game of the Minnesota Wild campaign, and it might have been more than just a rest day for the 31-year-old winger.
According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo, Parise missed his third straight day of practice and team workouts Sunday, creating speculation he could be dealing with an injury that would potentially cause him to miss the start of the Wild’s first-round series against the Dallas Stars. When asked about a potential injury, Wild coach John Torchetti offered only that Parise is “day-to-day,” but winger Chris Porter offered more insight.
“It’s obviously bad,” Porter told Russo. “We were all joking that he’s a superstitious guy and scoring three on [Niklas Backstrom] last time, you know it has to be something if he’s going to miss a game against a goalie he scored three against a few weeks ago.”
And whether Porter was being tongue-in-cheek or not, Parise has dealt with his share of injuries over the past three seasons. He hasn't played a full campaign since the lockout shortened season, and Parise has dealt with both upper- and lower-body injuries this season. Prior to missing time with whatever is currently ailing him, Parise had been in the Wild lineup for every game since late-February. However, with no knowledge of what Parise has been sidelined with — and entering the time of the season when teams will be tight-lipped about injuries — it’s impossible to say when he could potentially return.
Porter called Parise “the head of the snake,” pointing to his importance to the Minnesota offense, and it would be a huge blow to the Wild were Parise to be out to start the opening round. In 70 games this season, Parise netted 25 goals — the most of any Wild player — and 53 points, and his .76 points per game was the best in Minnesota. And that’s not to mention the impact Parise has had on the Wild power play. He’s averaged 3:23 per game with the man advantage and only Ryan Suter and Mikko Koivu have more points on the power play.
Parise has suited up in 28 playoff games for the Wild over the past three seasons. Parise has nine goals and 25 points and has averaged 20 minutes per contest, which leads all Wild forwards. For his career, Parise has suited up in 89 playoff games, scoring 30 goals and 68 points with four game-winners.
If Parise can’t suit up, though, Torchetti said he will prepare the Parise-less Wild to take on the Stars.
“(We) haven’t even got there,” Torchetti told Russo. “But whatever players are playing, that's who we work with, and that's how we prepare for the playoffs.”