Apr 1, 2011, 2:23 PM EDT
After five months watching the New Jersey Devils flop, flourish and then finally return to reality, Zach Parise seems like he’s finally ready to return to action against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday. That’s the word from various sources, including Tom Gulitti.
The New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres only need one point each to mathematically eliminate the Devils from playoff contention, so this comeback is really about proving that Parise’s injury rehab was successful. He won’t play for the Devils in tonight’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers, so instead he must wait nervously for his first contest since October 30, 2010.
Parise discussed the fact that he would rather play a few games – even if they aren’t relevant to a playoff run – rather than wait through an 11 month absence from NHL action. He told Gulitti that he’s anxious about getting back on the ice but wants the peace of mind that might come with playing some regular shifts.
Parise expects to be nervous.
“I already kind of am,” he said. “I definitely will be. I guess it’s kind off like the first game of the year all over again type of thing. So, yeah, (he’ll be) a little nervous. That’s for sure.”
Parise repeated today that he felt it was better to come back and play now—even if the team has only five games left—than wait until next season..
“Just for my own peace of mind I wanted to come back to play games,” he said. “I’d rather have that first game this year than waiting until next season. Eleven months without playing a game is a long time and whether it’s five games or two games, I’d rather play a couple before the summer started.”
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