After his first practice session of training camp, Wild forward Zach Parise isn’t predicting when he might be able to play a game. He was happy just to finally get on the ice with his teammates Friday at Xcel Energy Center, one week after camp began.
Parise, who reportedly injured his back before camp started, was vague about the nature of his injury. Though it wasn’t a particularly fast-paced practice, he skated full-bore during a couple of drills. He also scored a nice goal on goalie Alex Stalock while showing his good hands and quickness around the net.
He still doesn’t feel he’s at 100 percent—“I think I’m getting there,’’ he said--and he won’t play a game until he is. Parise said he would love to be in the lineup for the season opener Oct. 5 at Detroit, but he can’t put a timetable on his progress.
“It’s frustrating,’’ Parise said, after a practice that lasted a little less than an hour. “But at the same time, there’s still a good chunk of time before the season starts. Right now, it’s about being smart.
“I’m hoping to get in some good practices up until when I am ready and go from there. Ideally, I’d love to be with the team full time and playing in the games, but that’s just not the case right now. At this time of the season, you want to go in feeling good. You want to go in without nursing something or at 80 percent. You want to go in and not have that stuff be on the top of your mind. Just go in, relax and play. And that’s what I’m shooting toward.’’
Asked whether he would have to monitor the injury throughout the season, Parise answered, “Probably. It’s one of those things, you always want to stay ahead of it and make sure you’re taking care of your body, regardless of what part it is.’’
Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said he isn’t concerned about Parise’s readiness, and he knows he must be patient regarding Parise’s return. “We’ll make sure it’s done right,’’ he said.
Other news from camp Friday:
The team made several player moves Friday to reduce the training camp roster to 40. Assigned to the Wild's AHL affiliate in Iowa were defensemen Gustav Bouramman, Dylan Labbe and Hunter Warner; forwards Adam Gilmour, Pavel Jenys, Chase Lang, Mario Lucia, Gerald Mayhew and Dante Salituro; and goaltender Adam Vey. Defenseman Zach Palmquist was put on waivers and will be assigned to Iowa on Saturday if he clears waivers.
Joel Eriksson Ek, who hasn’t played in the first two preseason games, will play the last four beginning Sunday at Colorado. “I think he’s looking great,’’ Boudreau said of the young forward, who could become the Wild’s third-line center. “He was happy to be here last year. This year, he’s taking it a lot more serious.’’
Forwards Mikko Koivu, Mikael Granlund and Eric Staal, as well as goaltender Devan Dubnyk, are expected to make their preseason debuts Saturday against Colorado at Xcel.
Here's the Wild lineup for Saturday's game: