On Monday night, Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise suffered a foot contusion after blocking an Alex Steen one-timer late in the first period against the St. Louis Blues. Parise was late to start the second period, and after only three shifts, he lefts for the night. It has now been announced that Parise suffered a foot contusion and is expected to miss 2-3 weeks. While this is bad news for the Wild, it could have been a lot worse. GM Chuck Fletcher said that he believed the team “dodged a bullet”, and he’s right because if Parise’s foot had been broken or even fractured, his timetable for return would have stretched out to 4-6 weeks, which is a significant amount of time to miss for any player, even one as skilled as Zach Parise.
Parise is the Wild’s leading scorer with 22 points in 25 games. When he has scored a goal, the team has gone 8-0-1 and when he has registered a point, their record is 11-2-2. His stats say a lot for him, but it’s what he does off the scoresheet that makes him one of the elites in this league. The Minneapolis native is always finding ways to create time and space for his teammates, and always seems to be in the right place at the right time to score a goal. His defensive play is also nothing to scoff at, as he is on the penalty kill, which is what he was doing when he sacrificed his body and injured himself on Monday.
The Wild are obviously going to need their whole team to step up and try to compensate for Parise being out of the lineup, but the offense he brings shouldn’t be too hard for them to compensate for. With an offense that boasts Mikko Koivu, Jason Pominville, Mikael Granlund and others, the team is in perfect position to pick up Parise’s slack. This is also a great opportunity for Dany Heatley to try and prove he can still contribute to the offense. Zach Parise’s absence will hurt the team, but he’s a tough player and won’t be missing too much time, so I think the team shouldn’t worry, even though they are in the stingy western conference. Team USA fans shouldn’t be worried either, as Parise will have enough time to regain his form before the Olympics begin in Sochi.