Any Islanders fans worth their salt knows the significance of J.P. Parise’s goal 11 seconds into overtime against the New York Rangers during the best-of-three series in the 1975 playoffs. One person who has never forgotten the importance of that goal is J.P. Parise’s son and now a current Islander, Zach Parise.
That goal 46 years ago helped set the stage for the Islanders’ run to four Stanley Cups five years later. And it’s something that the team’s illustrious alumni never forgot.
“When Denis Potvin was calling our games, you’d chat with them after the game as well, and they always spoke very highly of my dad,” Zach Parise said. “For the longest time, we had some pictures of him scoring that goal and him shaking hands after the game. I’ve always said, he loved his time out there.”
The Parise legacy is why so many fans were angered when the Islanders, led by Mike Milbury, drafted Robert Nilsson with the 15th overall pick when Zach Parise was still available. Nilsson only appeared in 53 games with the Islanders and was eventually traded as part of the deal that sent Ryan Smyth to Long Island in 2007.
Nearly 20 years later Parise will finally get to follow in his father’s footsteps and put on the Islanders jersey.
“He talked about it a lot, believe it or not, that was a big part of his career,” Parise said of his father’s time with the Islanders. “For the Islanders knocking off the Rangers at that time, the success they ended up having after that. For a while he had the quickest OT goal in the playoffs and he loved to brag about that. That was a proud moment for him being part of that team and those teams out there.”
Now the younger Parise has the chance to make his mark on the Islanders franchise in a similar fashion his dad did all those years ago. The Islanders have already established themselves as a team to be reckoned with after two consecutive trips to the conference finals, but they still need to get over the hump to make their first Stanley Cup Final appearance since 1984.
Zach Parise could play a large part in that for New York.
The Islanders need help on their power play and his presence on the third line would give them the ability to roll four lines comfortably. The 37-year-old may have had a down year in Minnesota last season, but with two 20-plus goal seasons prior to that, he could be a valuable asset for the Islanders’ quest for a fifth Stanley Cup.
Does that mean picking up the Parise legacy where his dad left off?
“He was able to make an impact and hopefully I’m looking forward to doing the same type of thing,” Parise said.
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