Just as soon as Charlie Coyle got back into the Wild lineup, he dropped out again. The forward was scratched for Sunday’s game against New Jersey after reaggravating the knee injury that kept him on the sidelines for 11 games, though coach Mike Yeo does not expect him to be out for long.
Coyle played in Friday’s 4-3 victory over Montreal and practiced Saturday. Yeo described his status as day-to-day. Forward Carson McMillan was recalled from the Wild’s AHL affiliate in Iowa and skated on the fourth line Sunday.
When McMillan got the call, he hopped in his truck and drove up Interstate Hwy. 35 to Minnesota. Though he isn’t expected to be a scorer, he is tied for the scoring lead in Iowa with two goals and four assists in seven games. He is plus-4 and has one game-winning goal.
“I’ve had a good start to the season, which is always nice,’’ said McMillan, who has been playing on a line with Jason Zucker and Chad Rau in Iowa. “I’m here to just play a checking role, to be solid on the fourth line and try to bring some energy.”
Yeo said he wants McMillan to fill a tightly defined role, as a player who makes things difficult for opponents. “He had a very strong training camp, and he deserves this opportunity,’’ the coach said.
Marek Zidlicky’s tenure in Minnesota did not end well. The defenseman, who played for the Wild from 2008 to 2012, was traded to New Jersey after complaining publicly about Yeo’s style of play and his lack of ice time.
That didn’t seem to sully his memories of his years in St. Paul.
“Four years was a long time for me,’’ said Zidlicky, who played the Wild for the first time since the February 2012 trade. “For my family and for myself, we had a great four years, a lot of nice memories. It’s nice to be back. The first time, honestly, it’s like I’m home again.’’
The Wild continues to consider its options regarding rookie defenseman Matt Dumba. He has played nine games, and his three-year contract will kick in once he plays in his 10th. He has been scratched for the past two games.
Yeo said he doesn’t want Dumba to spend extended time as a healthy scratch. But even when Dumba sits out, Yeo said, his development is better served in Minnesota than in Western Hockey League.
“It’s got to be good for a young kid to be out there against some of best athletes in the world, day in and day out,’’ Yeo said.
‘Mo’ is less …
Center Zenon Konopka is the Wild’s “Movember” captain, the annual tradition Nick Schultz started on the Wild where players grow mustaches to raise awareness and research funds for cancers that affect men.
The Wild’s a young team though. As Konopka scanned the boyish faces in the Wild’s locker room, he joked: “We really struggle, now that I think of it. We’re definitely in the bottom three teams in the league for Movember.”