Charlie Coyle apparently hates the nickname, but Devan Dubnyk says there's a reason Wild teammates call the hulking New Englander "Gronk," an ode to Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.
"You watch Gronk play football, he's just this massive human that is unstoppable. And when Charlie wants to be, he's a massive human that's unstoppable," Dubnyk said after shutting out the St. Louis Blues 2-0 in Game 4 on Wednesday night.
The key words: "When Charlie wants to be."
Right now, Coyle wants to be.
One of the Wild's best forwards so far in the Western Conference quarterfinals, Coyle, 25, was at his absolute best in Game 4. Besides scoring the game-winning goal, he was a two-way physical force, constantly going to the net, getting shots, banging bodies and blocking shots.
Maybe his best play was swiping the puck from Vladimir Tarasenko on a hustling backcheck 42 seconds before Martin Hanzal gave the Wild a 2-0 lead.
Unfortunately, the thing that aggravates many Wild fans and even management and coaches at this point in Coyle's five-year career is he doesn't play like that every night. Coyle has a full toolbox, but he sometimes goes into long spells in which he doesn't put everything together every night.
Coyle is well aware of the rap he has at this juncture of his career.
"I have to bring it every night. If I can play like I just did one night, why not every night?" Coyle said after Wednesday's game. "Yeah, it's a grind and you have time to get the adrenaline in the playoffs and give it your all toward the end of year here, but this is the type of player I have to be for my team."
Coyle, a 2010 first-round pick by San Jose, had an interesting first year under Bruce Boudreau.
Through mid-December, Coyle led the Wild with 12 goals. But he then went into a huge drought where he not only wasn't scoring, he wasn't going to the hard areas and wasn't getting shots.
In January, Boudreau stopped cajoling him and turned into the bad cop.
After one game against Nashville, Boudreau snapped, "He's not looking to shoot … ever."
A few days later, talking about a 20-game spell in which Coyle was averaging 1.4 shots per game, Boudreau said: "I hope if he's gone through these things before that he realizes how [bad] he feels when he's going through them and how it's not working. So if I were him, I would change the way I'm doing things during these times."
Then after the All-Star break, Boudreau not only demoted Coyle to the fourth line in Vancouver, the Wild sent a clear message by recalling Alex Tuch for his NHL debut.
Boudreau said of Coyle: "I'm at a loss. I'm told he's gone through this every year. I'll have to talk to him and see if we can't get him straightened out."
The good news?
After scoring two goals and 13 assists during one 32-game stretch this season, the winger entered the postseason with seven points in his final six games and has continued the quality play through the first four games.
Coyle, whose confidence sometimes either soars or wanes, has scored in each of the past two games.
"It's a tough league," Dubnyk said. "The game's not going to go perfect every game. You can't go out there and do what he just did every single night, but I think you'll see as his career goes on he'll understand how big and fast he really is."
Coyle prides himself as a gamer.
He has played 313 consecutive regular-season games, a Wild record. Add in another 33 consecutive playoff games, that's 346 games in a row, including playing in the 2014 playoffs despite two separated shoulders.
Coyle says the Wild set out to do one thing Wednesday, and that was avoid a sweep and live another day.
"That's all it was," he said. "I was just trying to do my part. It's playoff time. You've got to ramp it up. That's got to be your mentality."
If the Wild plans to become the fifth NHL team to rally from a 3-0 series deficit, he'll need to do the same in Games 5, 6 and 7.
"You'd like to get it every night [from Coyle]," Boudreau said. "Right now I just would like to get it for the next three games."