Nov . 27, 12:47 p.m EST – After getting all of our hopes up, Wild head coach Mike Yeo said that Parise will not play tonight. Parise thought that he would be able to play, but the pain just got worse as the skate went on. Parise said that his foot feels better skating than walking and that he does not want to put a timeline on his return, just take it day-by-day. Regardless, this has to be encouraging news for the Wild, as it appears that 2-3 weeks might be on the high-side – consider him questionable for Friday’s contest vs. Colorado. – Sources – Michael Russo and Chad Graff
Nov. 27, 11:41 a.m EST – In a shocking development, Parise is taking part in the Wild’s morning skate and is taking line rushes on the top-line with Mikko Koivu and Charlie Coyle. He tested his foot prior to the morning skate and then returned to join his teammates. Taking line rushes would indicate that Parise will play tonight, after reportedly being our for 2-3 weeks last night. It would nothing short of amazing if he plays… Stay tuned we will have an update after they get off of the ice.
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Minnesota Wild wild forward Zach Parise is expected to miss two-to-three weeks with a left foot contusion.
Parise was injured after blocking an Alex Steen slap shot in the Wild’s 3-0 loss to the Blues on Monday night. Parise returned to the game briefly and drew a penalty, before retiring to the dressing room for the night. He was re-evaluated today, where it was revealed he would miss multiple weeks.
“I think we did dodge a little bit of a bullet with not having it broken or fractured or needing to get a surgery or anything on it,” said Parise, who said he is wearing a walking boot. “If there’s any somewhat good news, that would be it.”
Two-to-three weeks would have him returning to the lineup between December 10-17, that would keep Parise out of eight to 11 games. The Wild have played great as of late going 7-2-1 in their last 10. They are about to enter a very difficult stretch in their schedule, so losing Parise at any time would be devastating, but right now even more so.
In their next 10 games, they face only two teams with losing records.The combined record of their next 10 opponents is 148-60-25 as they face difficult Western Conference opponents Phoenix, Colorado (x3), Chicago, San Jose (x2) and Anaheim. It will be a tough stretch to play without their leading scorer, Parise had 11 goals and 11 assists (22 points) in the first 25 games.
“[I am] really frustrated, especially looking at the schedule that we’ve got coming up,” Parise said. “We have some important games, some tough games, so the timing is not ideal, so hopefully it won’t be that long and I’ll be able to come back sooner than we’re saying.”
With Parise out, the Wild will need wingers Dany Heatley and Jason Zucker to step up. Heatley is a former 50 goal scorer and has had six 39-plus goal seasons. He is 32-years-old and has regressed to the point where he has been playing on the fourth line for most of the season. His average of 14:51 TOI will certainly increase, so his production is expected to increase as well. Zucker, 21, had 24 goals and 50 points in 55 games with the Wild’s American Hockey League affiliate last season.
“There’s not another Zach Parise in your minor-league system,” Wild GM Chuck Fletcher said. “We’ll have to rely on some other players to step up and take advantage of a bigger role and hopefully we find a way to score enough goals.”
There is no structural damage to Parise’s foot, so there is a chance he could return earlier than expected, but for now consider him out until early-to-mid December. The Wild are expected to make a call-up tomorrow and release their new lines in the morning skate. We will update their new lines on Wednesday.