Players and coaches speak seriously about the importance of limiting distractions during the playoffs. Zach Parise’s father, J.P. Parise, may have created a major disruption for his son and his son’s team with mere words.
J.P. Parise was quoted in Friday’s edition of Newsday as saying, Zach “likes [John Tortorella] a lot,” and that his son “would fit in right there” with the Rangers. Zach Parise was a member of the 2010 U.S. Olympic Men’s hockey team, which Tortorella was an assistant coach on. Ryan Callahan was also a member of that team.
The elder Parise told reporters Friday night that he was “extremely disappointed in how my comments were portrayed in today’s newspaper article” and that he “would never speak for Zach under any circumstances.”
J.P. Parise did note in the Newsday story that that Zach “loves the Devils, loves [coach] Pete DeBoer and [GM] Lou Lamoriello.”
Along with Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Suter, the 27-year old captain of the Devils will be the pre-eminent unrestricted free agent on the market this summer. Parise played all 82 games in the regular season and finished with 31 goals and 69 points. He entered Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final with four goals and nine points in 14 playoff games.
There was one change to the Rangers’ lineup as Steve Eminger replaced Stu Bickel as one half of the third-pair defensive unit. It was Eminger’s first game action since playing on the wing in Game 1 of the Washington series. It also marked Eminger’s first game on defense, his natural position, since suffering a sprained on March 15 against the Penguins.
Eminger skated eight shifts totaling 6:20 as the sixth defenseman.
“I don’t [want] to put Bick in a bad spot, because it’s certainly not why we lost the last game. We put Emmy in because we just wanted to get to pucks quicker. We thought he may be able to get to pucks quicker,” Tortorella said. “We’ve had a few struggles with our coverage. Bick’s a hell of a story as far as what he’s done for our hockey club this year. We tried it today. We’ll look at the tape and I’m not sure where we go with it for the next game.”
Prust facing discipline?
Brandon Prust may face supplementary discipline for an unpenalized elbow to the back of Devils’ defenseman Anton Volchenkov’s head 2:36 into the second period. Volchenkov stayed down on the ice for a few moments before being helped to the Devils’ bench. He returned and played 14:18.
“I didn’t know I elbowed him until I saw the replay,” Prust said. “[It] definitely wasn’t hard; it wasn’t my intention.
“I’m sure [the league] might [review] it. There was no intent. I didn’t even feel it.”
Devils coach Pete DeBoer had a different view of the hit.
“Head-hunting,” DeBoer said. “Plain and simple.”
Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.