Zach Parise announced he was no longer contagious in the Wild locker room, after practice Friday at TRIA Rink.
At least, he thinks so. He’s not quite sure of the science behind that statement.
But based on feeling, he’s good to go for Saturday evening’s game against the Buffalo Sabres at Xcel Energy Center.
“It was a tough day [Thursday], but I feel better,” Parise said of missing the most recent game, a 6-2 beating of Vancouver. “Unfortunately the last couple years, I think I’ve gotten kind of used to [watching from home while injured]. But it’s always a weird feeling at home watching the guys. You’re looking at the clock, you kind of know what you should be doing at that time in getting ready for the game. So yeah, it’s never fun.”
Parise said he felt OK at practice Friday and anticipated feeling even closer to full health for the game Saturday. Therefore, playing in the second of the back-to-back Sunday in Chicago should not be unrealistic.
Unless his kids bring home any more germs.
“Each one of them were sick last week, so I figured it was just a matter of time,” Parise said. “With my immune system, I was kind of anticipating being sick.”
Hendricks brings a can’t miss presence
With Parise unavailable, Matt Hendricks played his first game since Nov. 6 and seventh this season on Thursday. The veteran forward endured a leg injury early on that sidelined his season, but Parise said Hendricks is a good penalty killer who also performs well on draws.
“He struggled in some parts of the game, but he’s such an emotional guy for us on the bench,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. “His puck-handling probably wasn’t as smooth as you’d like it to be, but that comes with continuing playing.”
What Hendricks brings to the team off the ice might be more important than what he provides on it, though, as he took up a leadership role in the game Parise missed.
“He’s just a good presence to have around because he’s a good person. He’s a good guy in the locker room. He’s active. He’s vocal on the bench, which helps at different times throughout the game,” Parise said.
“You can tell he’s engaged in the game, whether he’s playing a lot or not. … You can tell he cares about his teammates, and he wants to see everyone succeed. And I think he feels like his part is to be vocal and be positive, supportive. So he does a really good job of that.”