Zach Parise of the Minnesota Wild is off to one of the best starts in the NHL, with seven goals in 11 games. But an awkward collision with James Neal of the Nashville Predators on Thursday night ended his game early, and hopefully doesn’t have further repercussions for the Wild.
While Parise was playing the puck in the Predators zone near the boards, and engaged with another Nashville player, Neal came barreling in with a big hit. Parise’s back was turned, and their knees collided. It was a bad scene, and Neal hasn't exactly earned himself the benefit of the doubt on these types of hits.
That hit occurred 30 seconds into his first shift of the game. Parise would play five more shifts until the pain was substantial enough where Parise needed help to leave the bench and walk down the tunnel to the Wild medical room. He did not return.
The Wild is calling it a lower-body injury, but it could be serious.
The Wild, which has limited salary-cap space, also has no healthy forwards on the roster with Tyler Graovac, Justin Fontaine hurt. Zac Dalpe and Michael Keranen are hurt with American Hockey League Iowa, which has scored 17 goals in 12 games. The Wild’s two most skilled forwards left down there are Christoph Bertschy and Zack Mitchell. Ruslan Fedotenko is also there, but he has no goals in nine games.
If Russo is willing to speculate on this being a “serious” injury, best pay attention.
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Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.