When Zach Parise is forced to watch the Wild play from his couch, he doesn’t scream, “Shoooot,” and doesn’t throw his arms up when a pass doesn’t get through.
The NHL vet knows how much different the game looks on TV and from the stands than on the ice.
“It’s not as easy as it looks on TV,” Parise said. “It’s a lot slower. It’s not as easy as it looks from the press box. There’s angles on the ice, there’s sticks in the way that you don’t see from the TV or up top. The game is about 100 times faster when you’re on the ice, and the decisions that you have to make are so much quicker.
“Unfortunately you don’t get that appreciation for the pace and the lack of room that’s really on the ice.”
Parise much prefers being on the ice, and Tuesday night against the Calgary Flames, the Wild’s most dangerous offensive weapon returned to game action for the first time since Oct. 27. Despite only one practice in his recovery from a foot injury, Parise played for the first time in seven games.
“If I didn’t think I could do something or I thought something was holding me back, I wouldn’t play, but I feel good enough that I can go out and play,” he said.
Because the Wild has played only six times since his injury almost three weeks ago, Parise said he got lucky.
“If you fast forward to our schedule in March, I probably would have missed eight to 10 games,” he said. “It’s not fun [sitting out]. You’re so invested in the team and the games, and you get excited watching the game, and you want to be a part of the team after the wins in the locker room and be part of the fun that they’re having.”
One day after General Manager Chuck Fletcher told the Star Tribune that rookie Joel Eriksson Ek would be better off returning to Sweden if he continued getting fourth-line minutes or being scratched, the 19-year-old didn’t play for a second game in a row.
“Things tend to change every day, but at some point, we’ll do what’s right for him in the long-term,” Fletcher said.
Fletcher is expected to meet Wednesday with coach Bruce Boudreau to discuss Eriksson Ek’s future. If the Wild sends Eriksson Ek back to his pro club in Sweden, Boudreau will have to be comfortable recalling players like Jordan Schroeder, Teemu Pulkkinen and Christoph Bertschy if there are injuries. Zack Mitchell played for the third time in four games Tuesday.
“I’m comfortable with the guys that we’ve seen in the last five games,” Boudreau said. “They’ve come up and done a real good job, and sometimes on the road in trying roles against good teams.’’
• After getting beat on the first overtime shift in New Jersey last month by using Mikko Koivu, Mikael Granlund and Ryan Suter, Boudreau switched it up during Sunday’s OT victory over Ottawa, the Wild’s second win in 12 overtimes since 3-on-3 was introduced last season.
He started with Eric Staal, Charlie Coyle and Jonas Brodin and used many fast players, like Jason Zucker, Erik Haula, Matt Dumba and Jared Spurgeon.
“It would have been the same strategy [in New Jersey]. We just did it right,” Boudreau said, referring to using many players who skated short shifts.
Boudreau used seven forwards and four defensemen in the overtime against Ottawa.
• Defenseman Marco Scandella (high ankle sprain), who isn’t eligible to come off long-term injured reserve until Nov. 23, continues to skate daily.