NHL Team Report – Minnesota Wild – INSIDE SHOTS
Wild coach Mike Yeo has tried to stay the course as his team has struggled. He has remained calm throughout. After Thursday’s 5-2 loss in Chicago he decided to change things up a little bit. Yeo came out for the post-game interview testy, maybe even incensed, his eyes a fiery red. “Everything we needed to do to win this game we didn’t do,” he said of a team that started well, gained a 1-0 lead, then descended into a succession of turnovers. “(Thursday) we didn’t come close to playing the right way.”
Yeo has clearly decided to take a different tack after his team has lost 12 times in 14 games. The Wild played shoddy after a strong start for the first seven minutes. Goaltender Josh Harding was pulled for Matt Hackett after giving up three goals on eight shots in the second period and four in 21 shots for the game.
The bedrock of the Wild’s fast start has fallen apart. That bedrock? Strong play by the defensemen and good goaltending. On Thursday, the Wild’s defensive pairing of Greg Zanon and Clayton Stoner was on the ice for three goals. The forwards? “First 10 minutes we got pucks deep and did good things,” said Devin Setoguchi. “Then we kind of sat back and we weren’t urgent.”
And Yeo is clearly tired of that. The Wild is 0-7-1 in its last eight road games. The next three games and seven of the next nine are on the road.
“Let’s decide right now,” Yeo said. “We all talk about the playoffs, and that’s nice. But you don’t talk your way into the playoffs. This is when playoff teams are made — right now, when it’s hard. If we hope it’s going to be easy, it’s not going to happen. It’s time we decide, ‘Do we want to make this happen?’ and start doing it.”
NHL Team Report – Minnesota Wild – NOTES, QUOTES
–In his seventh season, Wild center Mikko Koivu is an All-Star. “About time,” said Andrew Brunette. Brunette plays for Chicago now, the Wild’s opponent Thursday. But he spent a lot of time skating with Koivu when he was with theWild. “People undervalue him because they always concentrate on the numbers. Mikko, he’s a complete player. He does everything at both ends. And people don’t recognize that. They do now. Koivu has led the Wild in scoring the past three seasons, and he’s doing it again this season with 33 points in 39 games heading into Thursday’s game with Chicago. He is the Wild’s second-leading scorer all-time with 350 points in 472 games. You hope this type of recognition on a national level will increase the league-wide awareness of how good he is,” Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher said. “It’s going to be great when the rest of the world knows what we know.” Koivu called it a great honor. But he’s not going to dwell on it yet. “We’re in the middle of a road trip and it’s a game day and a tough stretch coming up for us,” he said. “When the time comes, you’re able to enjoy it and probably even more realize what’s happening.”
–Pierre-Marc Bouchard believes he will be back, sooner rather than later. But when a player has already missed more than a season and has had to wait 20 months to let a concussion heal, a second concussion can be a scary thing. And all it took was one hit from behind and one elbow to the chin to render Bouchard with another concussion. He will be sidelined indefinitely. “We’re trying to be positive here,” Bouchard said. “There’s symptoms that I had in my previous one that I don’t have right now. I guess it could be a good thing. But I still have headaches.” Bouchard’s previous concussion limited him to one game from March 2009 to December 2010. But during that concussion and subsequent bout with post-concussion syndrome, Bouchard said just about everything used to bother him. Even something as simple as watching TV or driving. “I’m able to do those things now,” he said. Bouchard was driven face-first into the boards by Winnipeg’s defenseman Zach Bogosian Dec. 13. Bouchard has felt “pressure” since then — the same pressure he complained of during his long stint away two years ago. He missed two games before returning because he felt good enough to play. And he played very well until Bouchard took an accidental, harmless-looking elbow from Chris Higgins in Vancouver last week. Since then? Headaches, tired eyes and fatigue. “I wish I could give you a timetable,” he said of his possible return. “I’m positive I can come back. The only bad thing about concussions is you don’t know how much time it’s going to take.”
–Devin Setoguchi returned to his spot on the top line after missing a game after being scratched Wednesday by coach Mike Yeo after missing a Tuesday morning practice. “There is no excuse,” Setoguchi said. “We have one job, and that’s to come to the rink.” After missing the meeting, Setoguchi was called into a meeting with an angry Yeo and general manager Chuck Fletcher. He was told before Wednesday’s game he would not be playing against his former team, San Jose. “You feel bad all day,” he said. “You never want it to happen. You’ve got to be accountable, especially when things aren’t going right (for the team). It was unacceptable and inexcusable and thankfully enough, I got bailed out by the team (with a win).” Setoguchi returned to the lineup Thursday and scored the game’s first goal.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “Big step back from last game, that’s for sure. Not happy with that one. It was there for the first seven minutes, and then we started to turn pucks over like crazy.” — Wild coach Mike Yeo.
NHL Team Report – Minnesota Wild – ROSTER REPORT
–G Josh Harding arrived in Chicago late on Wednesday because of illness. Still, he started against the Blackhawks because Niklas Backstrom was down Thursday with the same sickness. Matt Hackett backed Harding up.
–D Mike Lundin was scratched for the ninth time in 10 games.
–LW Devin Setoguchi returned to the lineup after being scratched from Wednesday’s game against San Jose for missing a Tuesday morning team meeting. He scored the game’s first goal, 6:28 in to the first period.
–C Kyle Brodziak scored his 12th goal of the season.
–LW Guillaume Latendresse (concussion) missed his 12th straight game and his 27th in his last 29 games. He continues to skate on his own, but is not close to returning.
–RW Pierre-Marc Bouchard misses his third games with concussion-like symptoms after taking an elbow to his head in Vancouver Jan. 4.
–RW Jarod Palmer (concussion) missed his third straight game.
–LW Colton Gillies (lower body) missed Thursday game.
–Justin Falk, Jared Spurgeon
–Clayton Stoner, Greg Zanon
–Nick Schultz, Marek Zidlicky
–LW Dany Heatley, C Mikko Koivu, RW Devin Setoguchi
–LW Cal Clutterbuck, C Matt Cullen, RW Nick Johnson
–LW Darroll Powe, C Kyle Brodziak, RW Casey Wellman
–LW Brad Staubitz, C Warren Peters, RW David McIntyre