Zach Parise

Injured Devils star Zach Parise cleared to start skating; Can he play this season?

The Devils’ season has, for the most part, been a huge loss and the bad news began almost instantly upon the start of the season when star winger Zach Parise went down with a torn meniscus in November. The injury put Parise’s season in jeopardy but the news is improving now for both him and the Devils.

Today, Parise was given clearance to begin light skating for the first time since November. For Devils fans who have been delusions of grandeur about making the playoffs after such a brutal start to the season, it’s an added dose of hope for having an extra weapon should the Devils close the gap to the eighth spot a little bit more.

Devils GM Lou Lamoriello says that Parise will skate for at least 2-3 weeks and then they’ll see where he’s at after that. Is it possible we see Parise back on the ice this season?  Lamoriello is thinking it’s possible.

Lamoriello said it is still possible Parise will play this season.

“I would think so, but to what extent I couldn’t answer,” he said. “When you get to this point of any injury, the last 10 percent, 15 percent is the most difficult. Getting up to a certain point, you get there and then it’s getting everything where it should be because you haven’t been active for quite a while. When you shut your leg down and your knee down for this amount of time and you’re doing other exercises, you’re working different parts of your body, you’ve got to be very, very careful when you come back.”

Parise actually has to build up strength in both of his legs because he hasn’t used either to skate for four months. Lamoriello said Parise will continue to do physical therapy on his knee as well to help build strength.

In 2-3 weeks time the season is virtually over with at that point. If the Devils are within striking distance of getting in the playoffs then, is there any way possible you keep Parise off the ice if he’s even 60% ready to play? I know if I were in his shoes I’d be faking doctors notes to get back on the ice to help the team get in the playoffs at that point.

It’s still a bit of a long shot for the Devils to make the playoffs meaning it’s probably as equal of a long shot to get Parise back on the ice this season. Just imagine the dueling comeback stories though if the Devils are able to get back in the playoffs and it’s Parise who helps put them over the top. We’re betting that there’s a guy in Hollywood writing the script for the movie just based on the idea right now.

Stars end Capitals’ winning streak, pass Blackhawks for West lead

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For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”

They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:

  • Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
  • This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
  • By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.

Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).

Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.

Long story short, the Stars are red-hot, yet bigger challenges likely lie ahead.

Blackhawks fall to Ducks in OT, lose Hossa to injury

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The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.

(Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)

Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)

You can see that moment in the video above, while My Regular Face’s GIF also captures that troubling moment:

It’s too early to tell if Hossa will bounce back or miss some time from this. Stay tuned for potential updates.

Update: Joel Quenneville seems optimistic about Hossa, broadly speaking:

Ryan Getzlaf scored the overtime game-winner as the Ducks won 3-2 (OT).

Understatement: Saturday was a rough night for Panthers

Nashville Predators center Colin Wilson (33) checks Florida Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau (11) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
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If it weren’t for Mike Yeo and the Minnesota Wild, you could argue that the Florida Panthers suffered from the worst night so far.

You can see that Saturday was unpleasant merely from looking at the scoreboard: the Nashville Predators pummeled the Panthers by an unkind score of 5-0.

The pain goes beyond that … literally so.

For one thing, Quinton Howden suffered an upper-body injury and did not return. That’s no good, but if you want to feel sick to your stomach, footage of Brandon Pirri‘s likely lower-body injury (ankle maybe?) may do the trick.

(Seriously, you may be happier if you don’t look.)

The Panthers didn’t make an announcement about Pirri one way or another, so we’ll see if he somehow avoided anything significant.

Either way, it was a night this team would like to forget.

Fractured jaw from fight sidelines Chris Stewart for 4-8 weeks

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It’s unlikely that Chris Stewart will generate another 30-goal season in the NHL, but he still might be missed by the Anaheim Ducks.

The team announced that the ornery forward is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks with a fractured jaw. If that’s the recovery window, Stewart may go into the playoffs a little rusty (if he can get in any regular season games at all).

The Ducks didn’t elaborate, but the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline believes that the injury happened during a fight with Dalton Prout of the Columbus Blue Jackets. You can see that brawl in the video above.

One bright side for Anaheim: if they believe that they need to replace what Stewart brings to the table (rugged play with a dash of offense), then at least this injury happened before the the Feb. 29 trade deadline.