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Parise To Face Old Mates Tomorrow

by Mike Doyle / Minnesota Wild

Tomorrow, we turn back the clocks an hour for daylight savings. That means an extra hour of sleep for everyone. For one Minnesota Wild player, the extra hour of shuteye might be needed.

Zach Parise will face his former team, the New Jersey Devils, tomorrow at Xcel Energy Center. Of course, Parise signed with the Wild as a free agent two summers ago.

“I’ll still definitely be nervous for it,” Parise said. “But I think since we didn’t play them last year and one year past, it will be a little different.

“Still it will be the first time playing them, it will be pretty nerve wracking.”

The forward said that he’s excited to play his old mates, but also excited to get it over with. Fortunately, the game will be at home so the crowd will be on his side. With Ryan Suter in Nashville we’ve seen how hostile the former faithful can be.

Parise had nothing but good things to say about his former team adding they have a deep tradition of winning.

“They didn’t need any individual player to come in try to create a culture,” Parise spoke candidly about the culture in the Devils’ locker room. “They have a pretty unique culture that no other team in the NHL has.”

“I was pretty fortunate to play with some really good players there, some hall of famers there. You learn things about the way they compete, the way they play the game and the way they handle themselves away from the rink. There you learn it’s a team game. That would be the first organization to take all the names and numbers off the jerseys and just play. It’s team first all the way.”

Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo said that he’ll talk to Parise before the game, but he isn’t too concerned about the veteran’s game.

“I don’t think you want to make into too big of a thing,” Yeo said. “It’s not like he’s a young kid. He’s played the game enough to know what he needs to do.”

The Wild went through a crisp practice today, with Yeo very vocal about the team making every drill and rep count. During those drills, Minnesota used the same lines that ended yesterday’s 4-3 win against the Montreal Canadiens.

So, it looks like Charlie Coyle will be back on the wing with Parise and Mikko Koivu at center. Here’s how the rest of the forwards shook up:


Yeo was coy when asked if those lines will stay intact tomorrow. Moving Coyle to the wing has the advantage of another big body on the wall, something that has been crucial to the Wild’s success in its own end. If a team is not winning board battles, it will find itself in the D-zone a lot. However, the disadvantage is losing Coyle’s speed up the middle.

If Yeo knows which defensemen will be in against New Jersey, he didn’t show his cards. Here is how the pairing looked:


For the starting goaltender against the Devils, we’ll have to wait till tomorrow’s morning skate.

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