That two-to-three-week window that Zach Parise was supposed to be sidelined was always just an unscientific guesstimate.
But the Wild forward still stunned everybody from coach Mike Yeo to teammates to manically tweeting reporters by lacing up his skates and taking normal line rushes with Mikko Koivu and Charlie Coyle during Wednesday’s morning skate.
Parise, 16 hours after the team announced he would miss two or three weeks with a left foot contusion, thought there was a chance he could play Wednesday night against the Phoenix Coyotes after testing his bum foot briefly before the morning skate.
“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 able to play,” Parise said. “I know that I wouldn’t be effective or comfortable out there.”
Still, teammates such as Nate Prosser called Parise a “beast.” Even though he ended up not playing against Phoenix, it’s clear Parise will try to accelerate his return.
“Knowing him and what kind of competitor he is, I don’t want to say that we’re expecting it to be less than that, but we would all not be surprised if it was less than that,” Yeo said.
Parise, who is wearing a walking boot, said in his mind, he is day to day. He tried to give it a go Wednesday morning because his foot feels better in a skate than barefoot or in sandals. But he found when he did starts and stops and crossovers, he just didn’t have the power he needed. Still, he continues to be relieved it’s just a bruise because the Blues team doctor felt Monday night that X-rays might have shown a break.
“I understand you have to, but I don’t like to put a time frame on things,” Parise said. “I’ll try to play when I can. … I don’t like to miss games. I don’t want to sit out.”
Yeo said seeing Parise on the ice was “very encouraging. It’s a great example to everybody just how bad he wants to compete and help the team.”
Granlund hurt again
Center Mikael Granlund’s return from an upper-body injury that was believed to be to his head lasted 29 seconds Wednesday. Granlund, who missed two games, was hurt on his first shift of the 3-1 loss to Phoenix when he took a high hit from defenseman Connor Murphy as Granlund tried to deliver a check.
Granlund, who has a history of concussions, fell looking dazed, struggled to the bench and didn’t play another shift.
That put the Wild’s lines into absolute havoc because left wing Jason Zucker was sent back to Iowa earlier in the day so the team could activate Keith Ballard and Torrey Mitchell off injured reserve.
Zucker, whom General Manager Chuck Fletcher originally said needed to “step up” with Parise hurt, might need to come back unless Parise can play Friday against Colorado.
The other player Fletcher said must step up is veteran Dany Heatley, who entered Wednesday with four goals and seven points in 25 games. He was a minus-7 in the previous six games.
He began Wednesday’s game by taking Parise’s spot with Koivu and Coyle. Once Granlund left, Koivu mostly skated with Nino Niederreiter and Jason Pominville.