ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise will likely miss the next three games with bruising and swelling around his eye from a high stick to the face that led to blows to the head as he fell.
Parise was struck Tuesday by Washington’s Tom Wilson before he crashed into the knee of another opponent, Jay Beagle, and then slammed onto the ice. Parise needed assistance getting to the locker room and didn’t return, causing plenty of concern for the team.
Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said Parise came away from the scary collision with his vision intact and perhaps on track to return next week.
“A little sore in his upper body, but I don’t think he’s going to be out for a long period of time,” Boudreau said.
Parise probably won’t play Thursday against Ottawa, but Boudreau said he wouldn’t be surprised if Parise were ready to return after the weekend following games against Nashville and Colorado. While the blow to the eye was initially frightening, the contact with Beagle and the ice was more responsible for his absence.
“You just pray that it’s not a serious injury,” Boudreau said. “We’ve seen it in all sports, and it becomes a little more personal when you know the person and he’s on your team, but that’s what we were thinking, and when he was struggling to get to his feet we were a little worried.”
Parise has only 17 goals and 20 assists in 64 games, and his minus-5 rating is the second-worst on the team. He missed six games with a lower body injury and six games because of illness, including three for the mumps virus, earlier in the season.
Playing both wing spots, Parise has been bumped at times from his usual spot on the first line, but Boudreau has consistently expressed confidence in his game despite the substandard production. Parise is second on the team with 181 shots on goal, playing 12 fewer games than Wild leader Eric Staal (196).
“That’s why we have depth. That’s why you have players coming in,” captain Mikko Koivu said. “I believe he’ll be back soon.”
The Wild had a busy day Wednesday, signing former University of Minnesota forward Justin Kloos to a two-year entry-level contract before recalling goalie Alex Stalock from their AHL affiliate in Iowa.
Kloos, who will play for Iowa on an amateur tryout agreement for the remainder of the season, is a native of Lakeville who played in all 155 games of his four-year career with the Gophers. The two-time captain had 63 goals and 87 assists.
With starter Devan Dubnyk and backup Darcy Kuemper both struggling, Stalock could take the net Thursday. The 29-year-old has a 2.31 goals against average and a .924 save percentage in 45 games for Iowa in the AHL this season. Dubnyk has given up 26 goals over his last eight games, and the Wild are 3-10-2 in March.