The day after a hard-fought overtime victory over Nashville, the Wild held an optional skate before packing up and heading to the airport. About half the team participated, including some notables like Dany Heatley, Tom Gilbert, Cal Clutterbuck, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Mikael Granlund.
Coach Mike Yeo said he would go with the same lineup in Calgary that won Saturday, which means Charlie Coyle will skate in the first line with Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise, Heatley will be on the second line and Bouchard will again start on the fourth line with Zenon Konopka and Mike Rupp.
I’ll be doing a story on Bouchard for tomorrow. He talked about the tough stretch he’s going through and how he’s struggling to regain his confidence. Yeo said Bouchard had a good game against Nashville, but said he still sees Bouchard gripping the stick a bit.
In other items:
--Yeo was encouraged by the game Granlund had Saturday. “Actually, I think he’s played two really good games in a row for me,” Yeo said. “There are going to be moments. He’s still learning the game. So there will be moments when he has to learn how to defend or how to battle in certain situations. But he is learning, he is improving. And the kid makes plays every game.”
--Yeo praised the play of the defensemen Saturday, but said there is room for improvement when it comes to getting the first key pass out of the defensive zone.
--Defenseman Jared Spurgeon, who hasn’t played since Jan. 22, is close to returning from a sore foot. Spurgeon skated Sunday, and is on the trip. Yeo said there was a remote possibility Spurgeon could play in Calgary, a better chance that he makes his return in Vancouver.
That’s about all for now. Russo will cover the Calgary game.