Zach Parise will be a healthy scratch for the first time in his nine seasons with the Minnesota Wild when they visit the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday (10 p.m. ET; ATTSN-RM, FS-WI, FS-N, NHL.TV).
“It was disappointing. And I don’t agree with the decision,” Parise said. “I’m not sure I’m going to look back on it and say it was a wake-up call but maybe I can use the rest to my advantage and be ready when we come back.”
Parise was on the ice when the Wild allowed the tying goal to the Vegas Golden Knights with 42 seconds left in the third period of 5-4 overtime loss on Monday. His final shift lasted 1:33 and he said he was trying to help teammate Marcus Foligno, who scored two goals, get his first NHL hat trick.
“They end up getting the puck, and I saw [Foligno] change on the backcheck and I didn’t think it would be a good idea for me to change too, so I stayed out there,” Parise said. “Unfortunately it was, I guess, the ultimate backfire that they end up tying the game. I know in my heart I had the best of intentions to help Marcus try and get the hat trick and it unfortunately ended the way it did, and here we are.”
Wild coach Dean Evason told Parise on Tuesday that he would be scratched as a result of that shift.
“We watched every scoring chance. We watched every goal against,” Evason said. “We have a scoring chance chart in the room, and we designate responsibility, positively and negatively in those chances, and we provide a clip to the player and teach. That goal was no different. You have to teach off of it the same as we do every other one.”
Parise has scored nine points (three goals, six assists) in 19 games this season and one goal in his past 13 games. He signed a 13-year, $98 million contract with the Wild on July 4, 2012, and has an NHL salary cap hit of $7.54 million this season, tied with defenseman Ryan Suter for the second highest on the team behind defenseman Jared Spurgeon ($7.56 million).
“It’s hard. I don’t care who the player is; it’s a hard decision,” Evason said. “We’re taking the livelihood away from someone who loves what they do. I can speak from experience, your head is going in a million different directions. If you can step back and say, ‘It’s happened, I’m going to use this going forward,’ … then you’ll allow yourself to have a better opportunity to have success. It’s very difficult each and every time you tell a player he’s not going to play.”
Parise scored 25 goals last season and has scored at least that many in five of his previous eight seasons with Minnesota. He ranks third in goals (195) and points (391), and seventh in games played (532) in Wild history. His 14 goals, 20 assists and 34 points in the Stanley Cup Playoffs each is a Wild record.
It is the second time Parise has been scratched in his NHL career; the first came in his rookie season with the New Jersey Devils (Nov. 30, 2005).
“There’s a couple ways you can go about it,” Parise said. “I think the best way is to just show up today, got some good work done in practice and be ready for Arizona (on Friday). Stay sharp, work on some things out there, and try to get better. Keep it light and it’s not easy but I mean I feel like trying to stay positive about it is a little easier mentally.”
Selected by New Jersey in the first round (No. 17) in the 2003 NHL Draft, Parise has scored 801 points (389 goals, 412 assists) in 1,034 regular-season games and 77 points (35 goals, 42 assists) in 101 playoff games.
“You don’t score as many goals as Zach Parise has if you don’t know where to go and how to get there,” Evason said. “Sometimes, you need a tweak to get going, and we hope this is the tweak. Right or wrong, we’ve made the decision, and we’ll live it. We’re looking forward to that return.”
NHL.com independent correspondents Jessi Pierce and Danny Webster contributed to this report