If you thought we would get clarity on Zach Parise's situation during GM Lou Lamoriello's media availability on Monday morning you would be wrong - at least sort of.
Lamoriello told the media that while Parise hasn't notified the team that he is retiring, he won't be joining the Islanders at training camp and remains home with his family in Minnesota.
"The door is always open," Lamoriello said of Parise's situation. That has remained the consistent position of the organization toward the 39-year-old since the team was eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Carolina Hurricanes in six games last April.
Back in May at clean-out day, Parise indicated that it would likely be the Islanders are nowhere if he decided to come back for a 19th NHL season. “Of course, it’s going through my mind, but I haven’t decided anything,” said Parise. “I’ll take a couple weeks and get away from stuff for a little bit and just see where it’s at. But I haven’t decided anything yet.”
It appears that after several months, not weeks, he still hasn't decided.
While this news doesn't rule out a return of Parise at some point during the regular season, Lane Lambert and his coaching staff will need to proceed with filling his 20+ goal void from last season on the third line, along with all intangibles he brought to the lineup each and every night.
Parise played all 82 regular season games each of his two seasons on Long Island and won the Bob Nystrom Award, given to the player "best exemplifies leadership, hustle, and dedication" in consecutive seasons.