The Wild did not have a morning skate in St. Louis on Saturday after arriving in the wee hours, following Friday's 5-4 victory over Chicago at Xcel. Mike Yeo spoke briefly at 5 p.m., so we've got a short pregame edition of the Rants today.
--Devan Dubnyk will start in goal tonight against the Blues. It had been speculated that Darcy Kuemper would get his third start of the season, but Yeo said Dubnyk hasn't had a heavy workload lately and will have plenty of time to recover with the Wild off until Thursday's home game against Nashville.
Yeo made a rather blunt statement in response to a question about whether he was concerned with Kuemper's ability to be ready to step in when he was getting so little time in the net. "I'm not thinking about that, to be honest with you,'' Yeo said. "I'm thinking about this game tonight. We're trying to give ourselves the best chance to win tonight, and that's why we thought we'd start this way.''
--Jordan Schroeder will play on the third line with Charlie Coyle and Thomas Vanek, stepping in for the injured Justin Fontaine. Fontaine was hurt when Chicago's Andrew Desjardins caught him with a knee-on-knee hit Friday. Yeo said Fontaine is "at least a few weeks away'' from rejoining the lineup, "and probably longer than that.''
Schroeder got news of his callup after playing for Iowa in Friday's 4-0 shutout road loss to Rockford. Yeo doesn't want Schroeder to overthink things in his second game of the season with the Wild. The forward played in a 3-2 victory over St. Louis earlier this month.
"We've seen a lot of good games from (Schroeder),'' Yeo said. "We've seen him play with energy and play with speed. He's played one game for us this year. It didn’t feel like that game was as strong for him as some we've seen in the past. But he really earned his way into our lineup on a consistent basis last year, and he did it by being strong defensively, showing he can play our system game, and at the same time making sure he's managing the puck by creating using his speed.
"Obviously, we want that line to create. But you've got to make sure you're not a liability, and you've got to be solid, especially coming in to a building like this and playing against a team like this. It's going to be that type of game where they're going to try to break you. You've got to make sure you're strong with your game.''
Schroeder said he was so excited he couldn't sleep last night. "I want to go out there and play good, solid hockey, be responsible with the puck and use my speed to my advantage,'' he said.
--Nate Prosser will stay in the lineup tonight. Yeo said he isn't down on Christian Folin, and Folin will get back in the lineup soon. "But Prosser deserves to stay in,'' Yeo said.
--Tyler Graovac isn't making very speedy progress in his recovery from a lower-body injury. He won't play Thursday, and Yeo acknowledged his recovery has taken longer than anticipated.
Enjoy the game!