OTTAWA – The Wild suffered what Mike Yeo called Thursday morning a “tough blow” when the Wild coach revealed Zach Parise has been diagnosed with a concussion.
Parise, the Wild’s leading scorer, had been dealing with lingering effects from a stick to the face Oct. 27 at New York, sources say. He played four games since the incident, but symptoms, which he didn’t realize were that of a concussion, were exasperated Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Parise was checked a number of times, the biggest coming on his first shift when he was bowled over from behind by Roberto Bortuzzo. The hit, which caught Parise off guard, jarred him forward. In the second period, Parise was knocked off his skates in the defensive zone by Blake Comeau and checked in the offensive zone by Kris Letang. He didn’t play the third period after trainers got involved during the intermission.
There’s no time frame as to when Parise might return. The Wild returns to the Twin Cities after Saturday’s game at Montreal. Asked if there’s a chance Parise plays Tuesday at New Jersey, where he used to captain the Devils, Yeo said the Wild wouldn’t make such a decision until consulting doctors. Parise was still not feeling well Wednesday and Thursday, although he didn’t think the injury would sideline him long-term.
Parise’s disappearance shook up the lineup against Ottawa. Erik Haula centered the third line with Nino Niederreiter and Justin Fontaine. The fourth line was Stephane Veilleux, Kyle Brodziak and Ryan Carter. Thomas Vanek was elevated from the third line to the first with Mikael Granlund and his old Buffalo Sabres linemate, Jason Pominville.
“I feel like I know his game almost better than my own,” Vanek said.
Vanek had seven shots in the 3-0 loss to the Senators. He entered Thursday with one goal and 17 shots in 11 games — four shots in the previous seven games.
“I’m still trying to find my niche here,” Vanek said. “I feel like I’m creating good chances for my teammates, but for myself, I don’t think I’ve shot the puck enough or created enough on my own.”
Former Wild player enjoys radio venture
Todd White, the retired former NHL center who scored 84 points with the Wild from 2005 to ’07, has been doing radio for TSN 1200 in Ottawa the past three seasons.
Twice a week, he co-hosts the 10-2 show and dipped into the world of journalism Thursday when he kinda, sorta broke that Niklas Backstrom would be starting for the Wild against the Senators.
“The dead giveaway was I walked in the room to say hi to some old friends, and he was the only guy in there working on sticks,” White said, laughing. “Usually backups take the bus over with the rest of the team.”
Plus, the affable Backstrom didn’t say hi to his old teammate, which meant he had his game face on nine hours before starting.
“I’m not a big scoops guy,” White said of his venture into radio. “I’m not one to call ex-buddies and try to get information. That’s just not me. I love it though.”
• Brodziak’s wife, Nicole, gave birth to the couple’s second son Wednesday (Leo Dino Brodziak). Brodziak flew commercially and arrived Thursday afternoon to play against the Senators.