Wilderness Walk: Game Day Edition

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

The Minnesota Wild play their third game in four days, this time seeing Zach Parise's return to New Jersey.

When they told you that the Wild's post-Olympic schedule would be a doozy, this is what they were referring to.

The Wild are not only taking the ice for the third time in four games days when they face-off against the New Jersey Devils tonight. They are also playing their 8th game in 12 days. And there aren't many more opportunities for rest after that, either.

But rest isn't going to be the big headline in this game, unless the Wild lose. The big story will be another homecoming, this one not for Matt Moulson, but Zach Parise. It seems odd at first glance that this wouldn't have happened already, as Parise signed with the Wild almost two years ago, but the Eastern and Western Conferences did not play at all the previous season due to the lockout.

Zach Parise's departure from the Devils started their fall from their Stanley-Cup runner-up heights, as they never were able to recover from losing one of their two star players, finishing in the bottom third of their conference last season. This season saw the loss of Ilya Kovalchuk to the KHL, and the Devils fighting for their playoff lives, and needing a very strong run to even have a hope of making it.

Unlike the Islanders, the Devils should be playing in desperation mode, and it'll be interesting to see if the return of Zach Parise will light a spark for a team that can trace many of it's misfortunes back to him.

On to the Walk.

Wild News

Wild's Parise isn't expecting a warm Jersey welcome | Star Tribune- I probably wouldn't expect the warm reaction Matt Moulson got.

Minnesota Wild: Zach Parise hoping Devils fans have forgotten - TwinCities.com- As it wasn't even two years ago, my guess is they haven't.

The Team of 18,001: Mikko Koivu Becomes the Wild All-Time Leading Scorer- Did not touch on this yesterday, but congrats to Mikko Koivu on getting this record. It ought to stand for some time, as the next-closest active-Wild player is Kyle Brodziak, with 147 points to Koivu's 438.

The Team of 18,001: Vanek Watch: Load Up On Hats!- Unless, Vanek goes Full Heatley. You never go Full Heatley.

Tending the Fields

Minnesota Wild Finally a College Free Agent Destination- I forgot just how good the Wild were on the College Free Agent front. Justin Fontaine is probably the best case of it working out for the Wild. The Wild have already signed a couple of CFAs already, and will be interested in a few more.

Coyotes sign NCAA standout Greg Carey | ProHockeyTalk- One of the CFA shoes drop.

Off the Trail

Peverley undergoes successful heart surgery | ProHockeyTalk- Good news for Rich Peverly after his health score.

Paul Ranger leaves game on stretcher after hit from behind by Alex Killorn (Video) | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- Ranger is "Stable, conscious, and alert", according to Toronto PR's Twitter.

Cam Fowler expected to miss rest of regular season for Ducks | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- It's entirely possible that he returns for the playoffs, which shouldn't be a total disaster for Anaheim.

Why we need to stop glorifying players who rack up penalty minutes | Backhand Shelf | Blogs | theScore.com- I couldn't get over the fact that Ryan O'Reilly hasn't taken a penalty in almost 70 games.

Insanity in Nashville, Predators Wasting Shea Weber- The Curse of Ryan Suter continues.

NHL -- LeBrun: Tampa Bay Lightning rookie Ondrej Palat a bolt out of the blue - ESPN- Tampa Bay has a few stud rookies to make up for the loss of their Captain.

Rookie Rankings: Nathan MacKinnon tops Calder Trophy rankings - NHL - ESPN- However, the Calder may go out West.

Finnish federation clears Teravainen to join Hawks | ProHockeyTalk- With Teravainen, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, and David Rundblad waiting in the wings, Chicago has some scary depth.

SI.com fan misery rankings Washington Capitals number 4 | Home Ice - SI.com- I don't know how having a Top-10 NHLer is misery, but OK.

Behind Enemy Lines

For more news and analysis on the New Jersey Devils, please check out our friends at In Lou We Trust.

10 Out of 14: Devils Need Wins After Painting Themselves Into A Corner - In Lou We Trust- The Devils will need to win plenty of games to have a prayer in securing a Wild Card spot.

What is the Biggest Problem with the 2013-14 New Jersey Devils? - In Lou We Trust- Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk aren't options, though. Having a 41 year old Jaromir Jagr being your best scorer is a problem, and those guys are kinda responsible.

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