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Two called up to add 'little bit of life' to Wild

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO
  • Star Tribune
  • November 29, 2011 - 12:04 AM

After Friday's 5-2 loss to Edmonton, Wild coach Mike Yeo returned with the same lineup against the Calgary Flames, saying his team, and specifically his young defensemen, deserved a chance to respond.

Well, the Wild responded by getting spanked 5-2 to Calgary. So Monday morning, Yeo and General Manager Chuck Fletcher had a chance to respond with a roster shakeup.

Four players who didn't play the Flames played against the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Wild responded with a 3-1 victory.

Defenseman Nate Prosser and center Warren Peters were demoted to Houston of the AHL, while winger Casey Wellman was promoted to make his season debut and center David McIntyre was promoted to make his NHL debut.

So excited, McIntyre's father, Don, bought a $1,500 plane ticket to fly in from Pefferlaw, Ontario.

"I'll be paying for that," McIntyre said, smiling.

With Prosser gone, defenseman Mike Lundin, out all season because of a back injury, made his Wild debut against the team that drafted him in 2004. Also, with defenseman Justin Falk suffering from chest spasms, defenseman Greg Zanon returned after missing 16 games because of a groin injury.

Yeo said recalling Wellman and McIntyre was all about adding a "little bit of life, a little bit of speed," while Yeo got stability on the back end from Lundin and Zanon after a few tough games from Prosser and Falk.

"Both of them got stronger as the game went on," Yeo said. "Both looked in control, both looked like they had a good grasp of how we want to play the game."

Long time coming

When the Wild signed Lundin as a free agent in July, he never envisioned his debut would come 24 games in against Tampa Bay, where he played the past four seasons.

"What are the chances?" said Lundin, the former Apple Valley High School standout.

Paired with Nick Schultz, Lundin was thrown right into the fire against stars Steven Stamkos, Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis. He played safe, mistake-free hockey, logged 19 1/2 minutes and blocked five shots.

Zanon played for the first time since tearing a groin muscle off the bone Oct. 20 in Edmonton. He logged 14:41 of ice time and blocked five shots.

"I've played through broken ankles, broken feet, broken hands, but I learned quickly that when you can't skate in this game, you're basically useless," Zanon said.

Seeking momentum

The Wild recalled Wellman and McIntyre because Yeo hasn't been happy with the fourth line the past few games. They each top nine minutes.

"It has to be a line that creates momentum," he said.

Houston GM Jim Mill called McIntyre, 24, acquired from New Jersey for Maxim Noreau in June, "one of our most consistent forwards since Day One."

He is tenacious and fast, while the speedy Wellman leads the AHL with seven power-play goals and ranks seventh with 11 goals.

Colton Gillies, who has two assists in 23 games but was tied for second on the team with 42 hits, was scratched. Gillies was one of Yeo's best players in Houston last season, averaging close to 20 minutes a game. He's averaging nine in Minnesota.

"That's a tough adjustment for a young player," said Yeo, who feels Gillies' game has "dropped." "He has to find a way to get himself in the game."

Etc.

• Cal Clutterbuck admitted he was the one who squirted Flames captain Jarome Iginla with a water bottle after he talked smack to the Wild bench after a third-period goal Sunday.

"It was actually Gatorade, not water," Clutterbuck said.

• Wild prospects Brett Bulmer and Zack Phillips have been invited to Canada's world junior championships selection camp.

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