First things first, on Tuesday, the persistent question I understandably expect to get from all Wild fans is, “Any update on Zach Parise yet?”
The answer will probably be, “No.”
The Wild has the day off Tuesday, so typically when that happens, injury updates aren’t revealed until the next availability, which will occur Wednesday morning. So you may have to hold your breath for 24+ hours or so.
Try not to turn blue.
If there’s an update, we’ll get it out to you ASAP. But right now, Parise was nailed on the instep of his left foot when he blocked Alex Steen’s one-timer on a first-period penalty kill.
Parise struggled to the bench and was late arriving to the game in the second period. He returned and it was clear his first hop of the boards that he wasn’t feeling the greatest. Still, he battled through three shifts, drew a penalty and played almost every second of a power play before leaving the game for good.
Parise emerged in the locker room after the game in just a dress sock. He was limping, but he said he didn’t know how bad it was and that he’ll wait to find out after seeing doctors and getting x-rays, an MRI, etc., on Tuesday.
“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," coach Mike Yeo said. "But I do think we’re a deep enough team and have enough character that we should be able to battle through it. But certainly it’ll be a challenge.”
Yeo then interrupted himself to say, “who knows with Zach,” and that the Wild must wait for results before it’ll know the prognosis and whether he can even play Wednesday against Phoenix.
If the Wild is without Parise for awhile, look out because the team just began its toughest stretch so far this season Monday with a 3-0 loss to St. Louis. In now eight of the next 10 games, it faces Phoenix, Colorado, San Jose, Chicago and Anaheim.
In order, Chicago, St. Louis, San Jose, Phoenix, Colorado and Anaheim are the top-6 scoring teams in the league. Minnesota ranks 23rd and could be entering this stretch without its leading scorer either out or hurting.
Tonight, not a good game. Read all the coverage in the paper for most the details, but the Cliff’s Notes version: Disputable disallowed goal by the ref on Parise’s tally 30 seconds in (ruled a high-stick, and because of that, when there was no conclusive video evidence, the call stood up), and then 50 seconds later, Vladimir Sobotka scored.
Frustration engulfed the Wild and whether it was that, what St. Louis was doing or both, the Wild was schooled during a first period where virtually every waking moment was spent in the Wild end.
“I thought it’s in,” Mikko Koivu said of the Parise no-goal. “You want to have a good start on the road and I thought we did. And then they get their first right after, so that makes it even more frustrating. It’s a tough way to start the game when you think you score and it’s not a goal and they score right after. That’s an excuse. But the difference is we didn’t create enough.”
That’s for sure. The Wild created nothing in the first and barely anything in the second. The third was all Minnesota (12-1 shot count, the 1 being Steen’s empty-netter), but by then, Jaroslav Halak was there to make all the saves.
Yeo: “We were prepared, engaged right from the start, we come out and do what we’re supposed to do. To me, it’s clear, it’s a good goal.”
On Blues working the puck deep and going to work, Yeo said, “They were very strong on their gameplan. They were just getting everything in deep and forecheck and forecheck and forecheck. That’s how they got the lead and they committed to that.”
Yeo said the Wild wasn’t strong enough with its exits and when it had a chance to be first on pucks, players weren’t and that’s how St. Louis scored its first two goals.
Parise’s quotes on his disallowed goal in the new game notebook on www.startribune.com/wild, so please read that. He had some strong quotes.
Niklas Backstrom forked over a bunch of rebounds in the first, and then when the Wild’s D were routinely beaten to the net by Blues forwards, it turned into disaster.
Backstrom said, “That’s their strength. They’ve had a lot of success with that the last couple years. It’s always a challenge for the goalie against them. I don’t know if you want to call it playoff style hockey, but that’s how it is. In the playoffs, you get the bodies in front of the net and get the puck there.
Jason Pominville said once St. Louis got that early lead, it made life difficult, saying that’s what Ken Hitchcock teams thrive on. Also, the Wild’s just not drawing a lot of power plays lately. Pominville (and Yeo this morning) basically said when you’re backchecking all game, you’re not going to draw penalties.
“We’re not playing enough in the O zone,” Pominville said.
There is rarely a good time to play the powerhouse St. Louis Blues, but the Blues are churning like a buzz saw right now.
The Blues are arguably the deepest team in the NHL and have run through almost every opponent it has faced (three regulation losses in 23 games), blowing out many recently.
Early tonight, the Cup contenders played keep-away with the puck and barely gave up scoring chances to the Wild. In fact, the Wild’s best chance in the first two periods may have come on Zenon Konopka’s goalmouth backhander. When your best chance comes from an enforcer with one goal since Dec. 2011, it typically doesn’t bode well.
The Blues have racked up an 11-game home point streak against Minnesota, not losing in regulation to the Wild in St. Louis since Oct. 20, 2007.
Talk to you Tuesday if there’s Parise news. Otherwise, Wednesday morning.