While the Devils continue to fight on and hope that they don’t run out of time or wins in their hunt for the playoffs (they’re 10 points behind Buffalo) the time for Zach Parise to rejoin the lineup is approaching sooner than thought.
The Devils young star winger again practiced with the team today and while the Devils have a game tonight against Buffalo and are off until Wednesday. That Wednesday game is shaping up to be the one that sees Parise rejoin the team in game action.
Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice says that Parise was considering playing tonight, but wanted to play it safe.
“It’s still being smart,” he said. “It might sound like, ‘What’s the difference between today or Wednesday?’ There’s a big difference. Those two practices will be big and a little rest (will help) because we’ve been going pretty hard lately on the conditioning stuff, so I think a little rest will help. Of course, after watching last night, we needed that extra point. Of course, you want to play, but you have to be smart still.”
The downside for Parise and the Devils is that by Wednesday, the possibility of making the playoffs may just be completely impossible. A Devils loss to Buffalo tonight would put them 12 points back of the eighth spot with just seven games left. They wouldn’t be mathematically out, but they’d be virtually toast as they won’t have any room for error the rest of the way.
Parise getting back into game action gives Devils fans a glimpse at what could’ve been had he not suffered a torn meniscus, but it also gives him the chance to show what he can do before becoming a restricted free agent in the offseason. He’ll want to show the Devils he’s worth giving a big contract to no matter what.