NASHVILLE – Zach Parise remembers getting strep throat often as a child, so he asked his mom the other day why he never got his tonsils taken out.
She didn’t really know why, but it’s at the point where the Wild veteran would give anything for team doctors to slice them out now.
Parise says he has had strep throat four times since right before the World Cup, three times in the past month. His last bout caused him to miss back-to-back games last week.
“It honestly felt like I was swallowing knives,” Parise said. “I told the doctors, ‘Do something. Take my tonsils out.”
But at 32 years old, Parise was told a tonsillectomy as an adult would be a “brutal” post-op that would sideline him for some time, so if Parise is to get his tonsils removed, it’ll wait until after the season.
“Kids recover like this,” Parise, snapping his fingers, said doctors told him.
Parise, who returned Tuesday night against the Nashville Predators, just hopes the bacterial infection is finally out of his system after five days of rest.
“Selfishly for me, [the holiday break] was probably the best thing,” Parise said. “I hope that it’s gone, and I continue to feel better and better.”
Parise, coming off a season-ending back injury, has spent the first 2½ months of the season sick or banged up. He missed six games because of a knee injury, has been battered from blocking shots and has missed three games from strep.
He has scored six goals and has 14 points in 25 games. He hopes now to get into a rhythm of staying in the lineup and being healthy.
“It’d be nice. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been the hand I’ve been dealt from the start of the year, but I’m hoping that’ll be the case for the next little while,” Parise said before scoring the Wild’s first goal in a 3-2 overtime victory over the Predators. “But you know what? It’s been awesome. We’re winning, we’re playing great, we’re having fun, so that’s kind of made everything a lot easier.
“Hopefully, I start fresh today, and I hope it doesn’t come back.”
Parise returned to the top line with Eric Staal and Jason Pominville, and center Erik Haula also returned after missing three games because of a lower-body injury. That significantly deepened the Wild’s lineup; Haula centered Nino Niederreiter and Charlie Coyle, and Tyler Graovac and Chris Stewart moved back to the fourth line with Jordan Schroeder.
John Wolf, who worked for the Los Angeles Kings for 35 years in various positions, died from cancer on Christmas Day.
Wolf was the Kings staffer who changed the flight of Bruce Boudreau, then coach of AHL Manchester, from United 175 on Sept. 11, 2001. That was the hijacked plane that was flown into the World Trade Center’s South Tower. Boudreau’s friend Ace Bailey died in the crash.
“If it wasn’t for him changing the flight, I wouldn’t be here today,” said Boudreau, now the Wild coach. “It was that simple.
“I owe him everything for the rest of my life. If my kids needed things, if my wife needed things, he was always right there. He was a really good man.”
• General Manager Chuck Fletcher said the Wild, Vikings, Twins and Timberwolves are working on getting all their analytics departments together.
“We’re just trying to find areas of common interest and applications and find out what everybody’s doing,” Fletcher said. “Maybe somebody’s doing something that can be applicable in our sport, and vice versa. We’re looking for common ground and to help each other out.”
• Defenseman Nate Prosser and right wing Kurtis Gabriel were scratched for the Wild. Injured Predators defenseman P.K. Subban missed his fifth game in a row.