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Report: Zach Parise won’t start skating again until March; is his season over?

Considering the fact that the New Jersey Devils find themselves deep in the NHL and Eastern Conference basement, you have to wonder if it’s best for them to pull the plug on Zach Parise’s season altogether.

After all, the team’s best player (sorry Ilya Kovalchuk and Marin Brodeur) won’t be able to skate again until March at the earliest, according to Tom Gulitti.

Parise was originally slated to return around February or so, but the talented left winger’s doctor recommended that he wait until at least their next meeting in March to get back on the ice in general.

It’s a disappointment for the Devils and Parise, but the two sides need to be realistic about his prospects. The news must hurt Parise in particular, as this year was supposed to be a contract year in which he really built his earning power. While $3.1 million sounds like a lot of money (OK, it still is), it was quite the bargain for a player of his caliber. You don’t often get a four-time 30+ goal scorer (as well as someone who already hit the 90-plus point mark) for that kind of price beyond their entry-level deals, but the Devils received such value with Parise.

Gulitti shared the team’s and player’s reaction to the bad news today.

Parise is recovering from Nov. 2 surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee and has begun physical therapy. But, though a follow-up examination at the Cleveland Clinic earlier this month showed the knee is healing properly, Dr. Anthony Miniaci, who performed his surgery, recommended that Parise not begin skating until after he examines him again in March.

The original prognosis was that Parise would miss three months and that he would be back in early February.

“I was really disappointed to find out that I won’t be able to start skating until after I see him again in March,” Parise told me via e-mail. “I didn’t expect it to be this long, especially after he said how happy he was with it all so far. It’s a long time to go without playing.”

Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello is hopeful that Parise will be back in time to play some games this season, saying. “You can’t look at the total negative.” But it is possible that we won’t see Parise play in a game again until next season.

It’s hard to argue with the logic that comes with keeping him out the rest of the 2010-11 season, much like it makes sense that the Dallas Cowboys decided to keep Tony Romo on the shelf. We’ll keep you updated about Parise’s status, but it might be best if he does what most Devils fans are already doing: waiting ’til next year.

WATCH LIVE: Dallas Stars at Minnesota Wild

Dallas Stars center Jason Spezza (90) and Minnesota Wild right wing Justin Fontaine (14) chase the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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The Minnesota Wild hope to turn things around, yet facing the Dallas Stars certainly ratchets up the degree of difficulty.

On the other hand, sometimes that’s the best way to regain confidence: overcome an especially formidable obstacle.

Whether the Wild flounder or rebound, you can watch the action on NBCSN and stream it via the link below.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

After 8-1 loss to Isles, Oilers send Reinhart to AHL, make Schultz healthy scratch

Edmonton Oilers' Justin Schultz (19) and New York Rangers' Dominic Moore (28) fight for control of the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
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Not surprisingly, Edmonton’s 8-1 loss to the Islanders on Sunday didn’t pass without consequences.

The Oilers announced this morning that defenseman Griffin Reinhart had been sent down to the AHL. Additionally, defenseman Justin Schultz is expected to be a healthy scratch tonight in New Jersey.

Reinhart was a team-worst minus-4 versus the Isles.

Schultz, whose name has been coming up in trade rumors…

…was a minus-2.

“He needs to watch a game and reflect on his play and what his impact is offensively and defensively,” coach Todd McLellan told reporters of the decision to sit Schultz against the Devils.

Darnell Nurse and Adam Clendening, scratches in Brooklyn, will replace Reinhart and Schultz in the lineup.

Turris understands Drouin’s situation, says requesting trade out of Phoenix ‘saved’ him

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Kyle Turris was far from an accomplished NHLer when he requested a trade out of the Coyotes organization. In fact, when he was dealt to the Senators in 2011, the third overall pick in the 2007 draft had just 46 points in 137 NHL games.

Since then, Turris has emerged as Ottawa’s top center, with the promise of a big payday in the summer of 2018 when his current $17.5 million deal expires and he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

It’s for that very reason that he can understand Jonathan Drouin‘s position with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“It’s tough,” Turris told the Tampa Bay Times. “Everyone has mixed feelings, and especially not being an established player. Then people are doubting that you’re doing the right thing, you really have to have confidence in yourself and your ability to do it.”

Though Turris, now 26, took a “lot of heat from the media…and people within the organization” and recalls the time after his trade request was made public as a “tough, tough go,” he believes the opportunity he received with the Sens “saved” him.

As we’ve written in the past, you don’t have to agree with how Drouin is handling things — maybe it ends up hurting him; he still has a lot to prove — but there have been young players who have chosen similar paths, and it’s worked out well for them.

Drouin, by the way, has 40 points in 89 NHL games.

Simmonds tells AV ‘I’m not a dirty player,’ says he had ‘no intention of hurting’ McDonagh with punch

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Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds has taken exception to criticisms from Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault, in the wake of Simmonds concussing Blueshirts captain Ryan McDonagh with a punch over the weekend.

“Vigneault can say whatever he wants. He’s the coach, that’s his opinion,” Simmonds said, per CSN Philly. “I don’t really care. I’m protecting myself; guy comes to cross check you in the head. I didn’t know what he expected. I had no intention of hurting him and I feel bad about that. That’s not what I want.

“I may play physical and I like to take the body. I fight occasionally. But by no means am I a dirty player, trying to run around and injure guys.”

Simmonds was tossed from Saturday’s game after punching McDonagh, but wasn’t suspended by the league. McDonagh missed New York’s next game — Monday’s 2-1 win over the Devils — and the lack of supplemental discipline incident irked Vigneault, who had words for both the officials and Simmonds.

“An All-Star player gets sucker-punched, goes down,” Vigneault said following the Flyers game, per The Record. “I wonder if that’s (Sidney) Crosby, what happens? What are the consequences?”

At this point, it’s probably worth noting the Flyers and Rangers play each other on Sunday night (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

Worth circling that one on the ol’ calendar, methinks.