Having finally made his preseason debut for the Islanders, Zach Parise admits he’s eager for the regular season to start.
"I think everyone is," Parise said after Saturday’s 2-1 overtime loss to the Devils at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut. "You want to get going to the regular season as soon as possible. That being said, the preseason games, I think we all know how valuable they are to get that last bit of summer hockey out of you and get that game pace and really getting comfortable with playing the body."
The Islanders, who open the regular season on Oct. 14 at Carolina, are midway through their six-game preseason schedule and next host the Flyers on Tuesday night in Bridgeport. They did not practice on Sunday.
Parise, signed to a one-year deal with the Islanders after the Wild bought out the final four seasons of his 13-year, $98 million deal, had one shot while playing on Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s left wing along with Oliver Wahlstrom.
Wahlstrom generated three of the line’s five shots and Parise and Pageau were on the ice for both of the Devils’ goals. Parise nearly scored a second-period shorthanded goal, pushing a bouncing puck up ice and getting to the crease before being denied by Scott Wedgewood.
Parise said the transition to playing with Pageau has been smooth.
"One of his strengths is how smart of a hockey player he is and the way he supports the puck in every zone," Parise said. "Today, I think we would have liked to spend a little more time in the offensive zone. But, as far as playing with him, we’re learning a lot about each other and where the other guy likes to go on the ice. I think it’s just going to get better, supporting each other throughout the whole rink."
There is some question of who coach Barry Trotz will use on Pageau’s other wing to complete the line once the regular season starts. Trotz has said Wahlstrom has not had the best training camp and he does not require waivers to be reassigned to the Islanders’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport.
Meanwhile, fellow former first-rounder Kieffer Bellows had the Islanders’ lone goal on Saturday and took a team-high seven shots.
And more training camp cuts are pending.
"Probably in the next few days," Trotz said. "We’ll talk about. We’ll also talk about the next three games, rosters. That would probably be a real good Lou [Lamoriello] question on Monday or Tuesday."
Notes & quotes: Former Islanders goalie Robin Lehner, now with Vegas, accused NHL teams, including some of his former teams, of offering benzodiazepines and Ambien to players without prescriptions via Twitter on Saturday. The Islanders declined to comment. Lehner’s Twitter barrage was in support of former Sabres teammate Jack Eichel, who remains sidelined as he and the organization differ on the appropriate course of medical action to treat his neck injury. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN the league wants to speak with Lehner about his claims. Lehner has also played for the Senators and Chicago.