It’s been a surprising first month for winger Zach Parise and the New Jersey Devils.
Instead of assuming their typical perch atop the Atlantic Division, the Devils are making themselves comfortable in the league’s cellar. Rather than worrying about re-signing Parise to a contract extension after benefiting from his bargain $3.1 million annual salary cap hits for years, they now must wonder about their young star’s health.
In case you haven’t been following the proceedings, Parise re-aggravated a knee injury he apparently suffered while training during the summer in a game against the Los Angeles Kings. Richard Chere of the Newark Star-Ledger reports that Parise will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery to find out exactly what is wrong with the sniper’s knee.
Doctors say MRIs showed it is not related to cartilage or ligaments. Surgery will be performed as quickly as possible and there is no timetable on his return.
Obviously, this is wretched news for a Devils team that is simply reeling during a horrible 3-8-1 start. Parise began the season a bit slow (three goals and three assists for six points in 12 games after scoring 38 goals and 44 assists for 82 points in 81 games last season), but he’s clearly a vital cog in the Devils’ top-heavy machine.
Perhaps this bit of injury-related adversity might actually help New Jersey, though. The team needs a cause to rally around, so maybe doing without their best player will force the guy who’s supposed to be their best player – Ilya Kovalchuk – into taking the reins.
If not, this season could continue its current trajectory of being long and painful. Which, sadly, might be the same way you could describe Parise’s recovery from whatever ails his knees.