Update (12:18 pm, 4/13):
According to Michael Russo of the Star Tribune, both Zach Parise and Thomas Vanek will not travel with the Wild to Dallas for the first two games of Minnesota’s first round matchup with the Stars.
Parise spent Monday at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester for an exam on his herniated disc. Haula (lower body injury) is out for the first game and is still considered day-to-day.
“Also, I am hearing Alex Tuch is very close to a decision on whether or not to sign with the Wild,” writes Russo. “As I’ve maintained for months, I think he’s turning pro and I think it’s close.”[Star Tribune]
Zach Parise is an alternate captain and considered by some to be the heart and soul of the Minnesota Wild. Erik Haula has been on fire since interim coach John Torchetti took over. Both could miss the Wild’s opening series against the Dallas Stars.
In what some already consider a colossal mismatch favoring the Western Conference leading stars, who have a powerful offense but lack defensively and with goaltending, missing Parise doesn’t help their chances.
Parise, according to the Star Tribune, is day-to-day because of an undisclosed injury, and was diagnosed with a herniated disc that was pressing on a nerve in January. He played through injury while getting treatment and cortisone shots.
He was at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester seeing a specialist on Monday, according to multiple Star Tribune sources, a week after aggravating a his back injury.
“This is an extraordinary loss for us,” goaltender Devan Dubnyk told the Star Tribune. “The only way to look at it is, like any time, it’s going to be an opportunity for somebody else to step up and play a huge role, and play a role in winning the series.
“But you’re just not replacing Zach. Somebody like that, when he’s in the lineup, he’s awesome, and when he’s not, you certainly feel it. It’s sports. That’s the way it is.”
Add Thomas Vanek to that list, who Torchetti said was going to miss the team’s first-round playoff series with an upper-body injury earlier in the week, and that means three of the team’s best forwards will be out in a series where Minnesota has to take advantage of Dallas’ weakness on defense in order to win.
“Those are some pretty good players,” Ryan Suter told the Pioneer Press. “It’s going to hurt not having those guys if they’re not in the lineup, but we’ve got to find a way to win and buy some time until they can get back in.”
Although Haula missed his second straight skate with an undisclosed injury suffered in Saturday’s regular season finale, Torchetti believes he’ll be ready to go for Game 1 on Thursday night at 8:30 pm.
“I like Haula’s chances (to play),” Torchetti told the Pioneer Press, noting that he, Nino Niederreiter and Jason Pominville will be expected to shut down the Stars’ powerful top line of Jamie Benn, Cody Eakin and Patrick Sharp. “And if he does go against that line, I know he takes a lot of pride in that, with Nino and Pommie.”[Star Tribune, Pioneer Press, Associated Press]