The Wild were on the ice today for a short, yet, strategic practice before heading North of the Border to face the Edmonton Oilers tomorrow night.
Working mostly on systems, breakouts and the transition game, the Wild seemed to be dialed-in and focused after last night’s 4-2 loss to Pittsburgh.
Head Coach Mike Yeo said that he wanted the team to be intense and on-point today, and the team responded with an up-tempo, concise practice. He describe the effort as practicing with “snarl.” Although Yeo was disappointed with his team’s performance last night, especially in the first period, today was not the time nor the place for conditioning drills with a quick two-game road swing, capping with a Saturday afternoon game in Vancouver, on the docket.
Mikko Koivu, Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi were reunited on the top line after spending some time apart against the Pens. Yeo said that sometimes a team needs to mix up the lines in an attempt to create a spark. Of note, the wings were playing their strong sides (LW for the left-handed Heatley and RW for Setoguchi), possibly, to help with D-Zone and transition play. Yeo didn’t show his hand in regards to how long any line combination will last or how quickly it will be split.
Defenseman Greg Zanon sat out practice, but not because of the second period blocked shot to the midsection against the Penguins, but to rest a tweaked groin. He is expected to be ready tomorrow night.
Finally, if you think the team would be down in the dumps, they didn’t show it, at least not the young’un, Brett Bulmer. At the end of practice, Bulmer and Yeo dropped their gloves and engaged in a mock-fisticuffs standoff and good-natured phantom punching.
After practice, while talking to the media, Yeo joked that Bulmer made some mistakes in the D-Zone and had to be taught a lesson.
Lesson number one Rookie: Don’t mess with the coach; he determines your ice time.