The last thing that embattled Devils' head coach John MacLean needed was for star forward Zach Parise to succumb to injury. Previously, Parise was an "iron man" for New Jersey as he only failed to appear in 3 of a possible 422 games in his career. His lowest total of games played in his 5 NHL seasons was an impressive 81.
It seems that it is a case of "Murphy's Law" for the Devils as "anything that can go wrong, will go wrong" this season. MacLean had shuffled the lines and his team had finally begun to show signs of cohesion. He had reunited the famed "ZZ Pops" line of Parise-Zajac-Langengrunner and the trio were beginning to rekindle their understanding out on the ice.
Parise is now set to undergo exploratory arthroscopic surgery on his on his right knee and faces an indefinite absence. The 26-year old left-winger skated to the bench favoring his knee after a seemingly innocuous collision with Kyle Clifford of the Los Angeles Kings during the Devils' 3-1 loss Saturday.
He later downplayed the incident as the cause of the injury and described it rather as a lingering problem. "It's something I hurt skating this summer and it hasn't gotten better. Every game I feel like I'd hurt it more. It would just keep happening and I feel like I've been ineffective on the ice," he explained.
Lady luck hasn't been smiling on New Jersey as Parise will be joined by rookie center Jacob Josefson who will miss 6-8 weeks after thumb surgery. Their injuries add to a laundry list of Devils' players who have already missed significant time.
Forward Brian Rolston and defenseman Anton Volchenkov have been missing since October 9th and each were players that MacLean was counting on heavily going into the season. Losing Mark Fraser and Matt Corrente has significantly weakened New Jersey's already depleted defensive unit as the Devils' blue-liners continue to leak goals. Fellow defensemen Bryce Salvador and Anssi Salmela are yet to make an appearance this season.
Now MacLean will be faced with the task of turning around a team without their best all-around player in Parise. His absence was clearly felt as the Devils were shutout by the Vancouver Canucks 3-0 on Monday.