The New York Islanders have not won the Stanley Cup in 40 years. Veteran forward Zach Parise has played nearly half of that time, and he has yet to win the Cup either.
Parise and the Islanders are trying to get into this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. New York holds the first Eastern Conference Wild Card spot on 87 points. They hold a three-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins and are four points safe from being out of the playoffs entirely.
The Islanders have received many big contributions this season, including from Parise. The 38-year-old forward has scored 21 goals and 32 points in 76 games this season. And he looks forward to contributing in the playoffs.
“It’s been great,” Parise said. “You miss it. You miss it when you’re out of it for a year. Playing meaningful hockey at this time of the year, there’s nothing better.”
Parise referenced the team’s failure to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season. That failure to make the playoffs came after two straight years of being one playoff series away from the Stanley Cup Final.
Parise himself has been so close yet so far, as well. He made the Stanley Cup Finals in 2012 with the New Jersey Devils, only to lose to the white-hot Los Angeles Kings that year.
The 38-year-old knows he is in the twilight of his career. However, if he can help the Islanders end their decades-long drought and win it all, it’s an opportunity he won’t take for granted.
“There’s really just nothing like playoff hockey,” he said, “and to get the chance to play meaningful hockey at this time of the year where you’re checking standings and every game is that important. You just don’t know when you’re going to get another chance, so it’s great.”
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