The Minnesota Wild picked up a massively important win in Game three of their first round match up against the Winnipeg Jets in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but that victory may have come at a cost that the Wild are not prepared to pay in this NHL postseason.
According to a breaking news report from Minnesota Wild insider Mike Russo of The Athletic, the Wild's star forward has suffered a fractured sternum, a major injury that may effectively end his season. It's true that Parise could play again if the Wild make a deep run into the playoffs, but with this injury as well as the injury to star defenseman Ryan Suter it's hard to imagine how they could recover in this series.
Russo is reporting that Parise is expected to miss anywhere between six to eight weeks as a result of this injury, and that time frame could potentially allow him to return as early as the second round if both the first round and second round series ran through all seven games. Even then though there is no guarantee that Parise, a player with a massive history of long-term injuries, will be ready to return in time for anything before the start of the 2018-2019 National Hockey League regular season.
Parise is believed to have suffered the injury in the final minutes of the third period when he was attempting to catch a puck out of mid air with his left hand. As Parise reached for the falling puck he was crushed between Winnipeg Jets forward Mark Scheifele and Jets defenseman Ben Chiarot, who came at him from opposite sides. The end result was Parise being pancaked between the two men and that is believed to be the moment at which he suffered a fractured sternum.
Here's a brief replay of that incident near the blue line:
Parise had already missed a significant portion of the 2017-2018 NHL regular season due to another injury and at the time of that first injury you could already feel frustration at his inability to remain healthy growing among the Wild's fan base. Parise would go on to appear in just 42 games all season and his 15 goals and 9 assists over that stretch where nowhere near enough to make up for the fact that he counts for $7,538,462 against the cap despite the fact that he played roughly just half the season.
This latest news will likely ramp up the frustration for Wild fans even further, but there's likely going to be no end to that particular source of frustration. Parise remains under contract through the 2024-2025 season and it seems near-impossible to think that the Wild will ever find a way to unload that contract to another team given his inability to remain health for any length of time.
It's especially frustrating for the Wild to lose Parise at this time of year due to the fact that he remains their all-time playoff leader in several significant categories. His 14 playoffs goals, 31 playoff points, 110 playoff shots on goal are all Wild records and he also shares a piece of the Wild's playoff record for assists with 17.
A massive and incredibly frustrating loss for the Wild.