Some people famously (or infamously) don’t like practice.
Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo is not one of those people. He admittedly loves to practice. That’s what has made this shortened compacted season so strange for the Wild bench boss. Today, the team held its first full practice in an eon.
“It’s weird,” Yeo said about getting a chance to skate at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. After a much-needed day off for travel day on Friday, the team had a much-needed day for practice today.
Yeo spoke with the media for a good stretch after the skate, while most of the players stayed on the ice for extra skill work. Yeo talked about the team’s need to work on the details in its game. With yesterday’s day off and upcoming schedule that eases up (kind of) he believes the team will be refreshed and rejuvenated coming down the home stretch. Yeo’s availability can be seen on WildTV.
After a pair of losses in California, the team was in good spirits today with whoops and cheers continually billowing from the ice.
The club worked on a number of things including line rushes, transition play, breakouts and special teams. The first unit got its first chance to move the puck around with Jason Pominville stationed in front of the net and moving into the high slot. Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise were in their usual spots, overloaded at the right side, with Ryan Suter and Jared Spurgeon lined up on the point.
The second unit was filled with youth, and was using a different formation (I’ve been sworn to secrecy, but you’ll probably see it in tomorrow night’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets). Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle and Devin Setoguchi were the forwards, while Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Jonas Brodin ran the blue line.
As for the rest of practice, the Wild lines looked slightly different than the game against the Kings:
Pominville – Koivu – Parise
Coyle – Brodziak – Clutterbuck
Bouchard – Granlund – Setoguchi
Rupp – Konopka – Mitchell
The D-pairs were as follows:
Brodin – Suter
Spurgeon – Stoner
Clark – Gilbert
Falk – Prosser
Dany Heatley traveled with the team to Columbus, but won’t be available for tomorrow’s game. Yeo said the team is considering sending him back to Minnesota for reevaluation. Matt Cullen will not join the team and will be out tomorrow night.
The Wild closes out its three game road trip tomorrow against the Blue Jackets at 5 p.m. State of Hockey Time. The game will be broadcast on FOX Sports North and KFAN 100.3FM.