Zach Parise will be a healthy scratch for the second time in his NHL career when the Wild takes on the Golden Knights Wednesday night.
“[I’m] not going to get into details, but we as an organization and staff make a decision each night and we’ve made the decision to go with the lineup that we’re going with,” Wild head coach Dean Evason said after Wednesday’s skate. “It’s a group decision, and Zach’s out here tonight.”
An extended shift during Monday’s game against Vegas saw the 36-year-old Parise stuck on the ice for Alex Tuch‘s tying goal with 41.9 seconds left in the third period. A Max Pacioretty centering pass deflected off Parise’s stick and right to Mark Stone, who then found an open Tuch in front.
Pacioretty would net the winner two minutes into overtime to give Vegas a 5-4 victory.
The issue would “be addressed” Evason said after the game. “Obviously, we weren’t happy with that goal at that time of a game.”
The decision means Parise will be a healthy scratch for the first time since joining the franchise. He previously sat for non-injury reasons in Nov. 2005 during his rookie season in New Jersey.
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Parise has three goals and nine points in 19 games this season while averaging 16:38 of ice time. Monday’s TOI of 13:44 was his second-lowest of the season, which came last week against the Kings when he played only 12:42. After beginning the season with the Wild’s top line, he’s been dropped down the last two months.
“Sometimes you need a little tweak to get it going,” Evason said. “We’re hoping clearly that this is the tweak. Right or wrong, we’ve made the decision and we’re going to live with it. But do we expect Zach Parise to be a huge part of our hockey club? Of course. And there’s no question that our organization believes that, and I can take it a step further: there’s no question our team believes that. So, we’re looking forward to that return.”
As Tony Abbott of Zone Coverage pointed out this week, Evason is still early in his NHL coaching career and finding out who he can count on in crunch time. Monday was an educational experience and Wednesday’s decision shows he’s learning.
Parise has four more seasons of the 13-year, $98M contract he signed in 2012. That deal carries a full no-movement clause and a $7,538,461 cap hit through 2024-25, per Cap Friendly.
Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.