Forwards Zach Parise and Thomas Vanek both did not play during the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and both talked about their injuries on Wednesday when the Minnesota Wild had its breakdown day.
Parise missed the final game of the regular season and all six playoff games with a back injury he said he’s been dealing with since late January.
"It's been really scary, some of the things that I was feeling," Parise said. "There was a lot of pain and just some of the things that were happening, it was a little eye-opening."
Parise was able to manage the injury from that point on, but it flared up after he was hit in a game against the San Jose Sharks.
"I was able to do things to make it manageable to be able to play," Parise said. "That one play, it just didn't recover after that."
Parise, who led the Wild in goals in the regular season, was forced to watch from the press box and wonder the kind of impact he could have had on a first round series in which three of Minnesota’s four losses came by one goal.
"I like to think that I would have helped," he said. "I don’t want to speculate anything but I like to think that I would have helped the team.
"It was brutal watching it, you want to be a part of it, you want to go play with the guys on the road and be a part of playing here in front of the fans and the excitement of playoffs. That's why you play the whole year is to play in playoffs. When you play the whole year and miss it, it's disappointing."
Likewise, his teammates said his addition to the lineup would have been a welcome one.
"It's so tough," Ryan Suter said. "You lose two of your top guys right before the playoffs, and it definitely put us behind a little bit. Other guys did step up though, but maybe it's a different series if we have those two guys."
Parise said his rehab is going well, and that he's optimistic, if things continue to progress the way they have, he won’t require offseason back surgery.
"I feel like everything is going really well and ahead of where they thought I’d be," Parise said. "To me, standing here today, I don’t think I’ll have to (have surgery)."
Vanek sustained broken and displaced ribs when he was checked during a March 29 game against the Chicago Blackhawks.
He missed one game, then played in the following game against the Detroit Red Wings, but sat out the final three of the regular season, and all six against the Dallas Stars in the first round.
"When it first happened, I figured something was wrong, but they just assumed it was a strain or a bruise," Vanek said. "I played a couple days later and it didn't feel like a bruise or a strain. So I took four or five days off and went on the ice for about two minutes and I said I think something is wrong."
Vanek said his injury would not require surgery and, like Parise, expected to be ready for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, where Vanek is supposed to represent Team Europe, and Parise, the United States.
"I'll be ready to play for that for sure," Parise said. "I don’t think, or at least I hope, but I just feel like the way it's progressing, that won’t be an issue at all. I feel like I'll be able to train normally like I always do. I don’t think it will be a problem."
The other injury that was revealed on Wednesday was that goaltender Devan Dubnyk was playing with a broken finger.
"It was tough," he said. "It happened in pregame skate of Game 1. It was hard to hold my stick. There were better days, and worse days, and probably a few times it got hit pretty good, and can’t imagine that it helped things."
Dubnyk said the offseason will allow him to rest the injury, which will not require surgery.