Parise status still unknown for Wednesday
|Parise confident he'll play this week. GETTY IMAGES|
He planned on discussing it with team staff Tuesday afternoon, and said he would know sometime before Wednesday morning. He expects to play this week, when the Devils play three home games in four nights.
Philadelphia visits on Friday, followed by Montreal on Saturday.
“One of these next three I think I’ll be able to play,” Parise said after Tuesday's practice. He underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in November and has missed 63 games.
He reported feeling good after his third full team practice, and skated with Travis Zajac and Nick Palmieri.
“It was OK,” Parise said. “It was definitely nice to get another practice in. It felt good. I felt good out there. Again, the pace, I think I’m adjusting a little better to it. We’ll see.”
Even though the Devils trail the eighth-place Sabres by 12 points with seven games to go, Parise's counting on getting back in the lineup when he can.
“I would like to, just for your own state of mind, peace of mind, it would definitely be nice to play,” he said. “That’s what I want to get out of the last few games, just to feel good about it going into the summer.”
Still, Parise doesn’t want the injury to be in the back of his mind when takes the ice for his next game.
“My biggest thing is wanting to be able to play a game and only concentrating on the game and not worrying about my knee, not worrying about my timing,” he said. “I understand that the pace is going to be tough to start with, of course. But I want injury to be the last thing on my mind because you can leave yourself pretty vulnerable when you’re concerned with things like that. So I don’t want that to be a worry.”
As every player will attest, practices are different than games, when they have to be ready for anything.
“I guess what it comes down to is, when you’re playing a game, not so much in practice, but when you’re playing a game, you put your body in positions that you normally don’t do and you don’t do in practice. Everything is so much reaction, you have to make sure you’re comfortable and your body’s OK with if you get knocked down funny. You have to make sure it’s not going to hurt like that. That’s my biggest concern right now.”
He sounded certain of at least one thing: that the decision wouldn’t wait until morning.
“For my own sake, I would know today,” he said. “Whether that means you guys know today, I don’t know. But I would know, personally, today. I like to know the day before, I don’t see myself ever waking up, ‘Well, let’s go and see how it feels in pre-game skate,' because pre-game skate’s nothing really. I think I’ll know today, how it feels a few hours after we skate, how my body reacts to skating.”
Jacques Lemaire doesn’t have to see any more of Parise to make up his mind, and thought his left winger has looked sharp. That’s not to say Parise wouldn’t take the chance to practice again Thursday and push back his return to Friday.
“He’s getting better and better,” said Lemaire. “I don’t know if he’s going to play [Wednesday].”
If he had to guess?
“If I had to guess, I think it’d be his guess,” said the coach. “I would have to talk to him and see what his guess is, and I would take the same guess.”
For Parise, there’s nothing at stake except the opportunity to see game action without having to wait until October.
“I don’t think if I don’t play the rest of the year it’s going to hurt anything,” he said. “If I do play, I don’t think it’s going to help anything either way. I guess right now it’s just to get myself feeling good about playing again.”
As for whether or not this experience has given him a better appreciation for what’s involved with long-term injury, Parise responded, “Yeah, and I don’t want to appreciate it anymore. That’s enough. I prefer not to do that again.”