Minnesota Wild Zach Parise has had mixed emotions about learning that on Tuesday that he would be out for two to three weeks while his bruised left foot heals. Parise was injured in the first period on Monday but tried to return in the second period he said after a couple of shifts he could tell he didn’t have “a lot of strength to push off.”
He sat out the rest of the game.
“Right now,” he said, “it’s just about getting the treatment and trying to get better.”
The Wild winger is one of the NHL’s most durable players, and he always wants to be on the ice. But he realizes the shot he blocked off his skate in Monday’s 3-0 loss in St. Louis could have resulted in a broken a bone and surgery.
“You never want to miss time, but I think I’m kind of lucky that it wasn’t anything more serious or something I would need to get surgery on,” Parise said. “It could be worse, but you still never to sit on the sideline.”
And the timing for Parise being out couldn’t be any worse for the Wild.
He is the Wild’s leading scorer. He has a team-high 22 points in 25 games. The Wild (15-6-4) are going to be playing several of the Western Conference’s top teams for the first time in a stretch that will go a long way toward determining where they rank heading into the holiday break.
“It’s frustrating, especially with the schedule we’ve got coming up and some games that I want to play in,” Parise said. “The timing isn’t good.”
But the Wild are dealing with a handful of other injuries, but none is expected to be as serious as Parise’s.
Goalie Josh Harding’s status is unknown following his departure during warm-ups for Saturday’s game in Winnipeg. Out with an upper-body injury, second-line center Mikael Granlund hasn’t skated with the Wild since their game in Ottawa last Wednesday. Winger Torrey Mitchell is on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. And defenseman Keith Ballard is out with an upper-body injury, though he is expected to return soon.
“I’m sure coaches will have to mix and match a bit to find the right combinations,” General Manager Chuck Fletcher said. “You never want to lose one of your best players for any length of time. But given the situation and the circumstance after the game (Monday), I think we were pretty gravely concerned it might be four to six weeks.
“His foot is injured, but it’s not quite as bad as we maybe had feared. There’s a sense relief more than anything.”
Coach Mike Yeo said he would comment on the injury Wednesday morning.
“When a guy like Zach gets hurt, it’s always concerning because he’s a top-notch player and brings an awful lot more than just scoring goals,” Yeo said after Monday’s game. “I do think that we’re a deep enough team and we have enough character that we should be able to battle through it. But certainly it’ll be a challenge.”
Six of Parise’s 11 goals have been on the power play, and two were game-winners. His 107 shots on goal are 32 more than any other player on the team; Jason Pominville is second with 75.
“We like our depth, and we think it’s better. But having said that, we don’t have a replica of Zach Parise in Iowa,” Fletcher said. “But now is an opportunity for maybe Jason Zucker to step up and play a bigger role and show what he can do. Maybe a chance for Dany Heatley or Justin Fontaine, too. We do have players that I’m certain would welcome a bigger role or bigger opportunity.”
Parise has suffered only one serious injury in his career, needing surgery in 2010 to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. Aside from that, he has missed only three games in his nine seasons in the NHL.