Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

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Zach Parise tried, but he won't play tonight; Ballard, Harding back; Granlund, Mitchell maybes

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild pregame skate Updated: November 27, 2013 - 3:59 PM


Maybe Zach Parise was inspired by Parise the horse coming off a year away and winning Woodbine's first race Saturday.

Parise arrived at Xcel Energy Center this morning in a walking boot and was expected to miss two to three weeks with a bruised foot. Now it would be shocking if that window holds up.

Parise got the media all into a tweeting lather this morning when around 10 a.m., the winger went on the ice in a track suit and tested the foot. He looked tentative as he pushed off. He left the ice after five minutes. I thought that was it.

Twenty minutes later, he emerged for the morning skate much to the delight of his teammates. During line rushes, he took his spot on the Parise-Mikko Koivu-Charlie Coyle line. Finally, the last line rush, Jason Zucker took Parise's spot. Coach Mike Yeo jokingly asked reporters if we even watched the skate because every he looked up, we were punching things in our phones.

Parise won't play tonight.

"I was stunned to be honest with you," Yeo said when he saw Parise come out for the skate. "I shouldn’t say that because that’s the way he is talking to him even yesterday. It’s very encouraging. It’s a great example to everybody just how bad he wants to compete and help the team."

Parise said when he limped into the arena in a walking boot this morning, he had no clue he would skate. But "I tried putting my skate on. I just wanted to see what it felt like."

He then decided to do the preskate twirl and "thought it felt good enough to at least try for a pregame skate."

At the start of the skate, Parise thought he was playing as he took regular line rushes: "I was hoping I could give it a shot, but as it went on and as I tried to do different things that are more game-like and reactionary, it hurt too much to try to be ale to play. I know that I wouldn’t be effective or comfortable out there."

In Parise's mind, that two-to-three week window means nothing: "I’m more so taking it day by day and seeing how I feel and getting some treatment. Hopefully I’ll be more comfortable [Thursday] and see what happens. I understand you have to, but I don’t like to put a timeframe on things. I’ll try to play when I can."

Parise said his foot feels better in a skate than barefoot or in sandals, which is why he decided to try to skate today.

He said when he stops and starts and quick starts at the beginning of drills, he just didn't have the power. Same with cross-overs to the one side. So he just knows he wouldn't have stability battling on the wall and protecting the puck.

Parise said of the important stretch of games coming up, "It wouldn’t matter to me who we were playing. I don’t like to miss games. I don’t want to sit out, so it doesn’t matter what the schedule looks like."

Keith Ballard will return tonight from two broken ribs and be paired with Clayton Stoner. Matt Dumba and Nate Prosser are scratched. Josh Harding will back up Niklas Backstrom and Darcy Kuemper will be reassigned.

The forwards are up in the air. In the skate, the second line was the reunited Nino Niederreiter-Mikael Granlund-Jason Pominville line. The third line was Matt Cooke-Kyle Brodziak-Dany Heatley, while the fourth line was Justin Fontaine-Zenon Konopka-Torrey Mitchell.

I think Granlund returns and Mitchell doesn't play. Mitchell is on injured reserve, so if he stays there, Zucker would be able to slot into the Koivu-Coyle line.

Mitchell has been taken off IR and Zucker has been reassigned. 

Coyotes backup Thomas Greiss, who is 2-1 in five games with a 2.37 goals-against average and .928 save percentage, will start.

That's it for now. Wild actually didn't return to town until 2 p.m. yesterday as opposed to after the St. Louis game.

There was a sensor on their charter that a smoke detector wasn't working. But it wouldn't pinpoint which smoke detector, so they had to replace all nine. After staying on the plane for an hour after the game, the team filed off and returned to their downtown hotel before flying home Tuesday afternoon. That's why the Parise update came so late.

By the way, if you want to watch video of Parise winning the Woodbine race, here it is. Give the article a read above. It was a fun one.


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