Parise not frustrated by series deficit
NEWARK, N.J. -- Zach Parise has been accommodating to the media after wins and losses since long before being named captain of the New Jersey Devils prior to this season. So, when Parise doesn't come out to address the press, as was the case following Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday, it becomes a story based solely on the shock value of it.
Parise, though, said after practice Sunday that he didn't talk following the Devils 3-0 loss to the Rangers because, "I probably would have said some things I would have regretted. I was just upset about how the game went."
He further defended being absent following Game 3 by saying, "I feel like I've done a pretty good job of making myself available for almost 100 games this year that if I took one night off, it would be OK."
His teammates and coach stand behind him.
"I've done it. Scott Stevens has done it. Mario Lemieux has done it," Devils goalie Martin Brodeur said. "It's one thing that you can't judge somebody or overthink certain things that happen. He had his reasons. At this time of the year, emotionally and physically it's a grind, and sometimes you're not ready to show it to people. I'm all good with it. If you do what you do all the time you should have a little break once in a while. That's the bottom line."
Added Ilya Kovalchuk: "He's a grown man and that's his decision. He's a great captain and he's our leader. I'm very sure you guys all know him as a great human being, a great leader and sportsman. He decided to do that and we support him 100 percent."
Parise's absence, though, could be seen as a sign of his frustration at the way things are going in this series. He has one assist and is a minus-4 heading into Game 4 Monday at Prudential Center (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS). The Devils trail 2-1 after Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 36 of their shots on goal Saturday.
However, when asked if he's getting frustrated, Parise talked about the team.
"We controlled a lot of the game and a lot of the play (in Game 3); we just didn't execute when we had the chances and that was it," Parise said. "That was really what the game came down to. I think that was the difference. It was the same thing in the first game, too. But, we're playing well, we're playing very well. We just gotta capitalize."
When asked again if he's getting frustrated, Parise responded with one word:
Devils center Travis Zajac said it's not frustration with the captain. It's competitiveness.
"He wants win every game. He wants to score every shift," Zajac told NHL.com. "He's a guy that comes to the rink, prepares, battles hard every game, and is more determined than anyone I've seen. I think it's his competitive nature more than anything. You don't see him get frustrated. He's a guy that is always encouraging his team throughout games, telling us to stay positive, stay focused. He's definitely the leader on this team on and off the ice."
To Devils coach Peter DeBoer, Parise is the least of his concerns heading into Game 4.
"Zach always gives you the same thing, 100 percent effort, 100 percent team play," DeBoer said. "He could easily have two or three goals in this series and we'd be praising him for how well he's playing like he did against Philadelphia. It's going to come with him. I've got no concerns with Zach or his play."
Parise also didn't seem too bent out of shape by it, either.
After sitting down in his locker stall and answering every last question posed to him Sunday, he started joking around with some of the local reporters that cover the Devils on a daily basis. And, just before he left the dressing room, he turned around and said to a few reporters within an earshot, "I'll talk to you after the game tomorrow night."
He usually does.
"As a player, I understand it more than you guys because you guys live on that stuff," Brodeur said, referring to the media. "We understand more about the feeling and frustration that could happen. I'm not saying it's that, I haven't talked to him about it so I don't know, but there is a reason why he didn't want to address it and I think he should have a pass."
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter: @drosennhl