Mike Yeo knows Kris Fredheim's game like the back of his hand. The Wild coach learned this morning though that he doesn't know how to pronounce his name.
I asked Yeo, the former Houston coach, to tell us about FRED-HAYM. Yeo corrected me, saying, "Fred-Hyme." We told Yeo Fredheim just told us it's, "HAYM,"
"Well, ok, he’s wrong," Yeo said laughing. "Obviously I can't tell you very much about him because I've been calling him Fred-hyme for almost two years now and he never corrected me."
This is a reminder of the old, "Is it Zidlicky or Zidlitzky or Zhidlitzky?" Finally, at the Olympics in 2010, Zidlicky told me it's the latter, although now Zidlicky says it's Zhudlitzky.
Fredheim will make his NHL debut tonight against the struggling Colorado Avalanche, the team he watched a lot of during his college years because he played four years at Colorado College with Nate Prosser. This is a dream for both Prosser and Fredheim to be in the same NHL lineup tonight. These are two guys who used to flip and play Friday or Saturday nights at CC as freshmen.
Fredheim's parents, Mark and Trish, are coming in for the game from Vancouver Island and Fredheim said he'll keep it simple and do his best to get rid of the pregame jitters.
Yeo says Fredheim is "sneaky in his game. "He’s not going to go out and knock anybody out, but he’ll go into the corners, he’ll compete, he’ll win his battles, he thinks the game well, reads the play well, keeps the play in front of him and can execute. He's not going to go out and dazzle everybody with his skill level, but he'll execute the way we want it executed."
Fredheim said Yeo reminded him this is just another "ice hockey game," and Fredheim went over a couple systematic things with assistant Darryl Sydor because they've been tinkering a bit this year in Houston.
Tonight is Nick Schultz's 700th game. The other five blue-liners will have combined for 202 at the end of the night. Yeo called Schultz the "old man" on the back end and raved about Schultz's game of late after a slow start to the season. Schultz was good this morning talking about his time in Minnesota and you can read about that and his receding hairline in tomorrow's paper.
The Avs are 1-5-1 in their past seven and are desperate. Yeo talked about that this morning and addressed his team about the first-game-after-a-long-road-trip blues that affect many pro teams.
"We're well aware of what happened to Dallas the other night," Yeo said. "This is a good challenge for us. Winners find a way to elevate their game and rise to this challenge and make sure your focus and execution is there. I’m confident the work ethic is going to be there, but at the same time we have to address that. You have to come back home and remember what it is you need to do to be successful."
Casey Wellman has been recalled again and is a gametime decision. Clearly somebody on the top two lines has been a question mark the past few games -- perhaps Cal Clutterbuck, who missed the Calgary game with an upper body injury.
Marek Zidlicky has been diagnosed with a concussion, and he and Guillaume Latendresse are not working out. Yeo said Marco Scandella is the best of the concussed trio and worked out yesterday. Also, Greg Zanon skated before practice and Mike Lundin again skated with the players today.