Zach Parise will be a healthy scratch when the Minnesota Wild hit the ice this evening, marking the first time that the veteran forward has been bumped from the lineup during his time in Minnesota. And it's entirely to do with his team's embarrassing loss to the Minnesota Wild earlier this week.
With the Wild desperately holding on to a late lead, Parise extended his shift while his teammates changed and a breakdown on his part ultimately led to the Vegas Golden Knights tying the game. Vegas would go on to win in OT. Wild head coach Dean Evason confirmed to Parise earlier today that he would not be playing and it's directly as a result of his decision against Vegas.
“And I don’t agree with the decision,” Parise said to Wild insider Michael Russo.
More from Russo on the situation:
“In my heart, I felt like I was doing the right thing,” Parise said. “I asked Marcus after the second (period) if he ever had a hat trick. He had two goals up to that point. He said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Let’s go get you one.’ And then when they pulled the goalie, we were on the bench. And I said to him, ‘If I get the puck, get up ice with me, I’m not going to shoot, I’m going to find you.’
“We were out there for a little bit. And Marcus had a little break. And I made the decision to try to join him to help him. They ended up getting the puck. And I saw (Foligno) change on the backcheck. I didn’t think it’d be a good idea for me to change, too. So I stayed out there. And unfortunately, it was, I guess, the ultimate backfire that they ended up tying the game.
“But I know in my heart I had the best of intentions to help Marcus try to get the hat trick, and unfortunately it ended the way it did. And, here we are. But after our meeting, I talked to the team about it (Tuesday). And they are 100 percent behind me and have my back. And that’s what matters.”
Any way you look at it, this has the potential to get ugly. We all know that Wild fans have a complicated relationship with Parise and his $7.5 million cap hit. The 36 year old mega-free agent signing has been good, but never great in his time with the Wild and, frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if today's healthy scratch is the impetus for him finally breaking up with the team. It would be hard to find takers for Parise's contract but even at 36 years old he's still a productive player. Stay tuned.