Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

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Posts about Wild practice

After Wednesday's additions, Wild coach Mike Yeo unveils his new lines

Posted by: Michael Russo Updated: March 6, 2014 - 4:45 PM

Wild newcomers Matt Moulson, Cody McCormick and Ilya Bryzgalov, wearing his old Oilers gear, practiced for the first time with their new teammates and met with the media in person for the first time this afternoon.

The mood was tremendous around the Wild today, Zach Parise said.

“You could tell in the locker room before, and definitely on the ice,” he said.

Moulson and McCormick provided some good color on their day yesterday. Coincidentally, they were sitting side by side eating lunch outside at Jacksons, which is the restaurant attached to the Westin in Tampa, on Wednesday watching TSN’s TradeCentre on NHL Network when McCormick got a text from the Wild’s Jason Pominville asking if it’s true they were traded to Minnesota.

McCormick said it caught both off guard, so after doing “some digging” with their agents, they found out it was true.

Moulson knew he was all but guaranteed to be traded during the Sabres’ road trip, so he said he tried to pack as much of his life and clothes as possible into two bags. His wife will ship the rest from Buffalo.

Moulson and McCormick were both very complimentary about their time in Buffalo but are “real happy to be a part of this,” said McCormick.

Today was about meeting new teammates, learning the details of the Wild’s systems and getting to know the area. Moulson and McCormick landed at 10:30 a.m. and practiced by 12:30 p.m. Bryzgalov got in last night.

Moulson and McCormick will make their Wild debuts Saturday in Dallas (coincidentally, their second straight games in Dallas because that’s where the Sabres last played) and Bryzgalov will likely start his first game in a Minnesota sweater Sunday night at home against the St. Louis Blues.

I’ve made you wait long enough. The much-anticipated lines:

Zach Parise-Mikael Granlund-Jason Pominville

Matt Moulson-Mikko Koivu-Charlie Coyle

Matt Cooke-Kyle Brodziak-Nino Niederreiter

Dany Heatley-Erik Haula-Cody McCormick/Justin Fontaine

If you assume Haula will continue to center the fourth line and consider the fact that coach Mike Yeo indicated that McCormick will play Saturday, it appears as if Fontaine will be the odd man out at least for Saturday.

It'll be interesting to see Yeo's shootout lineup. Moulson is 7 for 12 this year (4th in the NHL) and 13 for 25 in his career. Yeo's 1-2-3 when they're in the lineup together is usually Parise, Koivu and Pominville. Parise and Koivu are each 3 for 9 this season and Pominville is 3 for 8. Parise has the second-most shootout goals than anybody in the NHL (35 for 78). Koivu is sixth n the NHL at 33 for 79. Pominville is tied for 21st at 21 for 55.

As GM Chuck Fletcher said Wednesday, the Wild’s goal is to have four deep lines and 1A and 1B power-play units.

We saw that today:

The units had interchangeable pointmen with Ryan Suter-Jason Pominville and Jonas Brodin-Jared Spurgeon. The three forwards were: Parise-Granlund-Heatley and Moulson-Koivu-Coyle.

“If you have two strong units, then you’re a much more dangerous team to play against, and that’s what we’re looking for,” Yeo said.

As Cooke and Parise told me today, what they love about the Wild’s depth now is that Yeo will have options. If there are injuries, if lines aren’t going, Cooke said Yeo can mix and match and “it kind of guarantees us two scoring threat lines.”

Yeo on his lines: “I liked the look of them before we went out on the ice and I liked the look of them after we came off the ice, too. I thought there was real good energy in our practice today. Obviously guys are excited. We felt really good about our team and where we were at going into this trade deadline and we feel that we’re a strong team now, we’re a deeper team. So we’re excited to put it to work now.”

And that’s what Yeo told the players before practice. He welcomed the trio of newcomers but told the group, “now the work starts.”

Parise and every player echoed the coach, saying it’s time to deliver these next 20 games in 37 days that begin Saturday.

“This is a tough conference that we play in,” Yeo said. “We feel that we’ve been getting better and have been narrowing the gap. This is another strong move to put us to another level, we believe. This is a great opportunity for us, but the work has to be put in. We’ve got to work now to build chemistry, we’ve got to work to make sure that we got everybody in the right roles and we’ve got to make sure that we’re working to continue to build as a team.”

Yeo, who used to be an assistant with Pittsburgh, said of Moulson, “Always a guy that you notice every game, finds a way to get chances, finds a way to be a factor in and around the net. And obviously he has the ability to put the puck in the net. But there’s more to his game than that. He’s a hard-working guy, he fits the identity that we have here, he’s going to complement the players that he’s going to play with very well. So it’s a guy we were excited to grab, that’s for sure.”

On McCormick: “I’m expecting that he’ll play in Dallas, give him a real good opportunity to get in and get comfortable with our game. And I would like to not just put him in for one game and take him out. I want to see what he can do here. I want to give him a chance to get comfortable with his game. He’ll get that opportunity this weekend. :

On Bryzgalov: “[Darcy] Kuemper has been playing great, but at the same time we need to protect him a little bit. And obviously Backy isn’t at 100 percent and he’s battled and we give him an unbelievable amount of credit for the way he’s handled things. It’s been in a real difficult situation. Kuemper has really stepped up when we needed him to. But you need some protection there and to get a guy of that caliber and not only give you minutes but win hockey games for you – we’re very excited about that.”

On his lines: “You look at the top two lines and certainly they’re put together with the idea that No. 1 they can go out and create, but they’re also going to be difficult to play against. They are lines that are going to pressure, they’re lines that are going to work, they’re lines that are going to be strong and should be good two-way lines for us. And with that our third and fourth lines are deeper as well and we feel they can go out and contribute any night for us too. Obviously we need those guys to have an identity and an important role as well. We like the depth that we have, we like the way that this looks right now, but when you have a deep team like this it also gives you more opportunity to try different things whether it’s mixing up the lines from night to night or game to game you have that opportunity. Certainly if all things are going well you’re probably going to keep things the same, but if they’re not there’s certainly more opportunity to make some switches too.”

On whether he talked to Heatley about being on the fourth line, Yeo said, “Yeah, Heatley was awesome. That’s the way he’s been all year. He just wants to be here and help the team. I know that we’re going to count on him down the stretch. This is a guy who’s elevated his play lately. He’s been scoring a lot of big goals for us and he wants to be a part of this group. What’s great about having a guy like Heater there is he can be effective on that line, but he’s going to push guys. If somebody is not getting it done above him then he can push them in a hurry. He’s got the ability to go out and score goals for us anytime.”

A lot of folks were tweeting me upset that Niederreiter wasn’t on the power play and Heatley is. Heatley has scored more power-play goals since 2001 than any player and has probably screened the goalie on 10 power-play goals the past two months. He’s the best net-front guy the Wild’s had on the power play – by far – so to me he should stick there.

McCormick is familiar with the Wild from his days with the Avalanche, and he said, “They come to play every night. It’s a high compete level in that dressing room and they bring it on the ice.”

On his game, “My game is a lot of grit, a lot of body contact. I like to play an in-your-face kind of style.”

Bryzgalov’s not the easiest guy to interview. He almost seems to intentionally try to make things feel uncomfortable with one or two word answers or making reporters squirm like one today who asked, “How were the last 24 hours for you?”

Bryz: “You want to know minute by minute.”

Reporter: “Excited for the opportunity?”

Bryz: “Oh yes.”

It’ll be an interesting contrast with Kuemper, who’s one of the most affable goalies I’ve ever covered.

Hopefully he doesn’t become a distraction like he reportedly was during his tenure in Philly.

Bryzgalov on potentially being the No. 2: “It’s not my call. I came here to work and work hard and bring the best of me to help the team to have the best success.”

On Kuemper, whom Bryzgalov got to watch shut out the Oilers last week, “He’s a good young kid with a promising big future. I saw a couple games he played. He played very calm, relaxed and good.”

He also took a subtle shot at the Oilers by saying practice was tough because it was a "higher pace" than he was used to in Edmonton. Ladislav Smid said something almost verbatim after his first practice after being traded from Edmonton to Calgary. After Bryzgalov's presser, I checked with Bryzgalov to make sure I heard his quote correctly and he repeated "way faster pace."

I'm also no goalie expert, but Bryzgalov did have a difficult practice. Just wasn't sharp, uh, stopping pucks.

I’ll be on KFAN at 5:55 p.m. I’ve also rescheduled my live startribune.com chat for Tuesday at 2 p.m.

Talk to you Friday. I’ll have to hustle for my flight after practice, so I’ll likely blog from the air. So please be patient for it.

All signs point toward Mikko Koivu's return Monday

Posted by: Michael Russo Updated: March 2, 2014 - 1:49 PM

All signs point toward Mikko Koivu returning Monday night against the Calgary Flames.

Koivu, who has missed 17 games since undergoing ankle surgery Jan. 6, skated on a line with Dany Heatley and Charlie Coyle throughout Sunday’s practice at Braemar and retained his spot on the top power-play unit.

Coach Mike Yeo said he had a great practice and said a few times, “we’re excited to get him back.”

Officially though, the Wild will take the decision into Monday morning to make sure Koivu’s ankle feels good after he wakes up and after one last morning skate.

In practice today, the Zach Parise-Mikael Granlund-Jason Pominville line stayed intact.

“It’s the coaches who make the decisions and players, it’s our job to create chemistry with different players,” Koivu said. “Injuries are a part of the game and you’re going to have different guys and different lines. I think with Heater, it would be easy because we’ve played a lot of games together and with Charlie, [I’ve played with him]. I think it’s a matter of time more for myself to get on their speed of the game so I can help them out.

“I don’t think it really matters right now who you’re playing with. I think every guy is playing great and we’ve had to adjust the lines all season long and every single night it’s been some combination or some individual who steps up and makes the play to get us points. It’s huge, but like I said, it’s more about me getting to the level I want to help them and it helps that I’ve played with those two guys in the past.”

Yeo likes the makeup of the line.

“It’s a big line,” Yeo said. “First off, three guys that can control the puck, three guys that are really tough to defend. Mikko’s had chemistry with both Heater and Charlie in the past, too. Hopefully there’s not too much of a feeling out process. But I just think that it gives us an opportunity to have a line that’s out there with the ability to create offense every night that’s hard to play against.”

Matt Cooke skated with Kyle Brodziak and Nino Niederreiter and Erik Haula centered Torrey Mitchell and Justin Fontaine. Stephane Veilleux looks like he’d be the extra if Koivu returns.

So, basically, the trickle down effect of Koivu’s return initially would have Coyle move from center to right wing, Niederreiter to go from second line to third, Fontaine from third to fourth. Or, basically exactly what we predicted on the blog last week.

This is a good thing. Basically, as Parise said today, every team has its opening night roster every year and it never quite works out to what you want it to be all year long because of injuries.

But since the second period of the second game of the season when Coyle sprained his knee, the Wild has never had its full roster together. Against Calgary, if Koivu and defenseman Marco Scandella return, it will.

Koivu’s return makes the Wild deeper and could potentially give the Wild four deep lines.

The Wild also suddenly has two formidable power-play units. Koivu, the all-time Wild leader in power-play points, took his spot again with Parise. Coyle, to give the Wild a needed righty down low, moves to the top unit with Pominville and Ryan Suter at the points. The second unit consisted of Heatley-Granlund-Niederreiter with Jonas Brodin and Jared Spurgeon up top. That’s three lefties down low, which could make things tricky, so it wouldn’t be shocking if Fontaine gets some time or they move Spurgeon down to that left circle position to attempt one-timers.

Suter and Spurgeon were a pair today, while Scandella was with Brodin. The third pair, if Scandella returns, will be two of Keith Ballard, Clayton Stoner and Nate Prosser. I don’t know how you take Prosser out the way he’s been playing, so if Scandella returns, Ballard or Stoner will likely be taken out.

Darcy Kuemper will make his 15th consecutive start.

Scandella says he’s ready, but like with Koivu, Yeo said they’ll take the final decision into Monday morning.

Monday will be the first-ever Mikael Granlund vs. Markus Granlund game. The younger Granlund will play his third NHL game. He was drafted in 2011 in St. Paul.

As for the game, Mikael Granlund said, “I feel really proud for my parents. It’s very special.”

Jason Zucker, by the way, skated on his own today.

That’s it for now. Nothing new on the goalie front. Here's my column on the goalie trade front today. I think it goes to Wednesday. If the Wild’s the only team out there really searching for a goalie, if I’m Chuck Fletcher, I use that as leverage to let acquisition prices for Jaroslav Halak or Marty Brodeur or whoever drop.

Again, Wednesday at 12:01 a.m., you can go over the 23-man roster as long as you don’t go over the cap ceiling. So the Wild could very well carry three goalies the rest of the season. If the Wild has three goalies, that means one won’t dress every game. That could create an interesting dynamic, but the Wild doesn’t seen too concerned. As Fletcher always says, “I just want to win,” so he’s not going to worry about feelings.

And as we learned in the playoffs last year when suddenly Kuemper was playing games because Backstrom and Josh Harding got hurt, you can never have too much depth. It’s better having more players than too little.

Speaking of depth, remember when the Wild was always a Mikko Koivu injury away from disaster every year? Pretty impressive that the team, which is 13-4-2 in 2014, is 11-4-2 without him. Says so much about the improved depth of the team and the job the Wild’s youngsters have done to this point.

As Parise said, maybe all the long-term injuries the Wild has had this year, from Koivu to Parise to Harding to Spurgeon to Coyle to Granlund, has made the Wild a better team for these final 21 games.

Wild acquires Brad Winchester; Lineup updates vs. Oilers

Posted by: Michael Russo Updated: February 26, 2014 - 5:30 PM

Good afternoon from the Rexall Place, a building that has housed some of the greats -- Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Mike Greenlay.

The Wild practiced this afternoon and plays an actal game against the Oilers on Thursday night -- the first of back-to-back games. The Wild plays in Vancouver on Friday. The Wild has won 12 of its past 14 in this arena and has won 18 times here -- its most in any arena.

These are no longer division foes crying.

John Curry was called up as goalie insurance in case Niklas Backstrom didn't handle today's practice well. He looked good on the ice, and coach Mike Yeo planned to talk with Backstrom afterward to see how healthy he is. If he's healthy, Yeo indicated that Backstrom could start Thursday's game against the Oilers.

He's 25-4-1 all-time against Edmonton with a 1.91 goals-against average and .928 save percentage and at Rexall Place, he's 8-3-1 with a 2.51 goals-against average and .910 save percentage.

The rationale behind maybe starting Backstrom over Darcy Kuemper is his success in this arena (although he's been pulled here three or four times, I believe) and mostly that Friday's game in Vancouver is huge. A win over the Canucks, who had lost seven in a row before the break, could put a whole world of hurt on their playoff chances. So maybe you save Kuemper for that game.

The Canucks are 10th in the West and a point out of a wildcard spot.

The other option is start Kuemper, who had started 12 in a row before the break and is 8-2-2 in his past 13, back-to-back, which he's done in his pro and junior career. We shall see Thursday.

Captain Mikko Koivu rotated in and out of lines during today's practice. Yeo didn't rule him out for the game vs. Edmonton, but he did say back-to-back games may be tough after ankle surgery Jan. 6. So that made it sounds like Thursday is doubtful but Friday is possible.

"I thought he looked good," Yeo said. "He continues to progress. I don’t want to say that he’s in or he’s out for tomorrow. Obviously back to back games might be tough for him. So that said, I don’t want to say that he’s in, I don’t want to say that he’s out. But those are the things that we’d have to consider along with making sure that he’s 100 percent. I know speaking to him today, he’s not quite there yet so we’ll see after today."

Marco Scandella won't play because of his sprained knee. Two practices is too quick. Jason Zucker isn't on the trip because of his leg injury, so he was placed on injured reserve with Scandella and Stephane Veilleux was called up.

The lines today:

Zach Parise-Mikael Granlund-Jason Pominville

Dany Heatley-Charlie Coyle-Justin Fontaine

Matt Cooke-Kyle Brodziak-Nino Niederreiter

Stephane Veilleux-Erik Haula-Torrey Mitchell

Mike Rupp, the extra

Defensemen

Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin-Nate Prosser

Clayton Stoner-Keith Ballard

Steven Kampfer, the extra

In a trade today, the Wild sent Iowa defenseman Brian Connelly to the Chicago Blackhawks for former Badger Brad Winchester. Winchester will report to Iowa initially, but this was definitely a trade made for depth moves and Winchester will likely see games with the Wild.

Remember, after next Wednesday's trade deadline, the roster is unlimited as long as you don't go over the cap. Winchester, a former college teammate of Heatley and pro teammate of Brodziak, is a tough customer and adds some ruggedness (6-5, 230) to a smaller Wild lineup. He's got 390 games of NHL experience in seven seasons with Edmonton, Dallas, St. Louis, Anaheim and San Jose. He's also played 24 NHL playoff games, including scoring an overtime winner for the Oilers in 2006 against Detroit in the first round when they went to the Cup Finals.

He has 68 career points and 552 penalty minutes in NHL regular seasons.

"I think it’s great, and depth of a different type of player for us," Yeo said. "He’s a hard-nosed guy, he’s a guy that’s not fun to play against and he’s got that experience, so definitely a good move for us."

Backstrom misses practice, Scandella returns to practice

Posted by: Michael Russo Updated: February 25, 2014 - 1:32 PM

As veteran goalie Niklas Backstrom indicated last week, the Wild figured out what's going on with his abdominal issues and it's something he'll have to deal with for the rest of the season.

Backstrom saw the surgeon who repaired his sports hernia last offseason during the Olympic break and was given some new treatment plans. However, Backstrom reported soreness this morning, so the Wild gave him a maintenance day off. The hope, coach Mike Yeo said, is Backstrom can practice Wednesday in Edmonton and start one of the next two games (almost certainly Friday in Vancouver).

"It’s not lower body and it’s not upper body. It’s somewhere in the mid part of the body," Yeo joked when asked if it's more of the abdominal stiffness. "Yeah, he was a little sore today. I expect him on [Wednesday]. We kept him off today, just precautionary."

Yeo said hopefully the soreness just has to do with being on the ice a lot after such a long time off for the Olympic break.

"We probably won’t know for a couple more days [if it's just general soreness], but hopefully he can get on the ice [Wednesday] and be fine," Yeo said. "We’ve pushed the goalies hard, doing a lot of extra drills with those guys and hopefully this is just something where he’s a little bit sore and just needed a day today."

Asked how the Wild continues to deal with this (remember, the trade deadline is March 5, and while the Wild as of now looks like it'll continue to ride Darcy Kuemper, the pressure may be on GM Chuck Fletcher to get further insurance before the deadline in case Backstrom continues to be labored or Kuemper gets hurt), Yeo said, "Day by day, the same way we’ve been doing it all along. I think we’ll have a better idea [Wednesday] how he comes out of this. Obviously two games coming up here, it would be real nice to have him 100 percent and healthy and ready to go."

There's been no change with Josh Harding's status.

How do the Wild continue to keep Kuemper grounded? Yeo said, "Just make sure we stay on him a little bit to make sure he stays sharp, stays sharp on his game. We’re working him hard in practice to make sure he’s got the right habits. It says a lot about him and the attitude that he has that he hasn’t gotten complacent and comfortable. But at the same time, we’ve got to make sure that we’re on him with that. On the flip side, when things aren’t going too well, we’ve got to help him through that. Certainly he’s getting a lot of attention from us right now and I think that’s going to be important the rest of the way."

Defenseman Marco Scandella, who sprained an MCL on Feb. 4, practiced for the first time today. He took part in most drills, although he left the ice a little early.

Scandella was asked if he could maybe play Thursday in Edmonton.

"I haven’t thought of any options," he said. "I just know it’s getting a lot better. Today was a big step and I just want to continue on that road."

He said his conditioning isn't 100 percent after two weeks off. He's been skating on his own for about six days now, he said.

Yeo said of Scandella, "I was actually a little bit surprised with how much Marco participated in our practice and what he was able to do out there. Very good sign."

He said Thursday is a "possibility" for Scandella, but "I wouldn’t say it’s a probability, so we’ll see. This was one practice that he’s had and obviously he’s been off for a considerable amount of time given the break, which was obviously good for the healing of the leg. But at the same time, we’ve got to make sure we get his timing back and get him up to speed and conditioning, where that needs to be too. So we’ll see."

Mikko Koivu, working his way back from ankle surgery, said today was another good day. "Hopefully another [Wednesday], and then we'll see" for Thursday.

Yeo said, "Mikko continues to get better. He’s getting closer. I don’t think we can make a decision here until we get probably to Thursday, but all we can do right now is keep pushing Mikko as hard as we can and keep seeing how he responds to that."

If Koivu returns, I'd think the lines go:

Parise-Granlund-Pominville

Heatley-Koivu-Coyle

Cooke-Brodziak-Niederreiter

Mitchell-Haula-Fontaine

Total shot in the dark guess. Maybe Brodziak and Haula flip. Or maybe the Wild start Koivu on the third line and Haula on the second in order to ease Koivu back in. We'll see.

If Koivu isn't going to play Thursday, the Wild either will have to play Mike Rupp on the trip or call up another forward with Jason Zucker hurt.

Parise, Granlund and Ryan Suter will return to practice Wednesday in Edmonton.

Talk to you after practice in Edmonton on Wednesday.

Parise stands up for Bylsma; Koivu continues to progress

Posted by: Michael Russo Updated: February 24, 2014 - 3:56 PM

Zach Parise, along with fellow Olympians Ryan Suter and Mikael Granlund, was given the day off today by the Wild, but the veteran winger and United States captain wanted to clarify comments he made after the Americans' loss to Finland in the bronze-medal game.

Parise was quoted as saying the Americans were "passive" and sent one guy in on the forecheck and allowed the Canadians (in the semifinals) and Finns to break out of the zone easily because of that.

It was construed by some in the media and by fans as Parise taking potshots at coach Dan Bylsma and his system.

Via email today, Parise said that wasn't the case.

“I liked his system, along with each of the other players. His system didn’t have anything to do with why we didn’t win a medal,” Parise said. "I wasn't even misquoted, someone just took a response to a different question and made it sound like I was referring to him. I was asked about how we played in a particular game and I said we were passive as a team, not playing a passive system. We seemed slow as a group that particular game. Dan did a great job coaching us and preparing us for all of the games, along with the other coaches. They put in a lot of work and it's unfortunate someone would say different."

Parise, who was pursued by the Penguins before he chose Minnesota two summers ago, said he had a good relationship with Bylsma throughout the Olympics and the months leading up to it. That included phone calls and meetings.

"He always asked for the opinion of the players on different things," Parise said in the email. "And on the ice he let us play and demanded us to work. He was always detailed in his approach and his meetings and like I said earlier we were more than prepared from a scouting standpoint for each game."

Parise spoke Sunday with Penguins GM Ray Shero, also the associate GM for the U.S. during the Olympics (became acting GM when David Poile was struck by the puck in Minnesota on Feb. 6), to clarify his comments and to assure Shero that they were not meant to take aim at Bylsma.

I think I mentioned on the previous blog, but Parise also told me in an email that his hand is fine from the Olympics, that he's actually not quite sure what happened, but it just started to hurt during the bronze-medal game.

As for the Wild, the team practiced for an hour this morning and captain Mikko Koivu continues to progress from his return from ankle surgery Jan. 6.

If the Wild had a game today, coach Mike Yeo said Koivu would be unable to play. The hope though is that he continues to progress during practices Tuesday and Wednesday and can maybe play in Edmonton and/or Vancouver Thursday and Friday.

"Individually you know when you’re ready," Koivu said. "When you know that you don’t think about it in the back of your mind, then you know for sure you’re ready to go. It’s a lot better right now than what it was last week, so that’s a good sign. Still have a couple days here before the first game. We’ll see tomorrow morning [how it feels]."

Yeo said the Wild has a bunch of meetings here to figure out what the lineup will look like if Koivu can return. He indicated the centers would be Koivu, Granlund, Kyle Brodziak and Erik Haula (recalled back from Iowa), so that seems to indicate that Charlie Coyle will move back to wing.

Yeo said that potentially Parise, Granlund and Jason Pominville, a line the last four-plus games before the Olympic break, would remain intact. However, after some terrific shifts together in a win at Anaheim and an offensive explosion during a loss in Colorado, the Parise-Granlund-Pominville line combined for one goal and two assists the last three games (and the Parise goal was a power-play goal). All three players were minus-3 those three games.

But with Granlund coming back from Sochi on a high and probably the need to ease Koivu back into things, my guess is Yeo separates Parise and Koivu for the first extended stretch in their Wild career together.

I'll be on KFAN at 5:15 p.m.

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