For the first time in over four months, the New Jersey Devils had Zach Parise on the ice.
But don't expect the left winger to be playing anytime soon.
Parise, cleared yesterday by doctors, skated for an hour today at the Prudential Center. And while he can't think about playing for another two to three weeks, the left-winger was excited to get back on the ice.
"It just felt good to get back out there," Parise told Tom Gulitti of The Bergen Record. "I was definitely a little hesitant at first getting back on the ice, but I think I did a lot better than I expected to. I think I was moving a lot better than I expected to. I was happy with the way it went. It was good."
Parise underwent surgery November 2 to repair a torn meniscus. Dr. Anthony Miniaci, who performed the surgery, said the Devils' left-winger will need between two to three weeks to strengthen both legs.
That timetable casts doubt into Parise's return this season.
"I think it's definitely too early to tell," he told Gulitti. "But, at the same time, the goal is the same. We're just trying to safely and comfortably get back, get back to getting used to skating and if after how ever many weeks I feel I can do that and I can play, then I'll play. If I don't think I can, than I'm not going to. It's as simple as that."
Parise skated with a stick, but didn't complete any shooting drills. His main focus was getting comfortable on his skates.
"A lot of it was just technique," Parise said to Gulitti. "Like Lou said yesterday, there was no stopping and starting. It was technique and getting comfortable doing a stride and getting comfortable doing some turning and crossing over and things like that."
Parise has no medical restrictions and will continue to do physical therapy. About three weeks ago, he began doing light cardio. But to get in game shape, Parise realized he has to practice with the team.
"We've definitely been doing a lot of intense bike rides and different types of machines that simulate running - not an elliptical, but a machine that simulates running without having that impact," he told Gulitti. "So, obviously, it's not where I want it to be right now and nothing can get you into shape other than skating and playing games, but right now I think (my conditioning) is as good as I was going to get it and it's only going to get better from here. I was comfortable on the bike and I feel like my cardiovascular is definitely getting better."
The Devils recent surge - 18-2-2 in their last 22 games - is more motivation for Parise to play this season.
"Of course that's the goal and what I want to do," the Devils' left-winger told Gulitti. "I'd love to try to get in there and play in some games and, hopefully, not disrupt any of the chemistry they've got going on right now because they've been pretty good."
#9 / Left Wing / New Jersey Devils
Jul 28, 1984