Bouchard impresses Yeo with scrimmage showing

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 14, 2013 - 11:10 PM

Wild forward Pierre-Marc Bouchard

Photo: Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune file

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Pierre-Marc Bouchard continues to leap over the hurdles needed to clear the finish line.

Sidelined for more than a year because of a concussion, the Wild forward is aiming to be cleared for the Opening Night lineup Saturday against the Colorado Avalanche. Bouchard assisted on power-play goals by Mikael Granlund and Dany Heatley in Monday night's scrimmage, but most importantly, Bouchard absorbed contact.

"I'm just real encouraged every day that he continues to feel good," coach Mike Yeo said. "This is a guy that hasn't played a lot of hockey in the last couple years. This guy is a very, very good hockey player.

"This is a big step. You get contact in practice, but there was some real contact out there [in the scrimmage]. There were some big hits in that game. Guys were competing hard. If he continues to come out of these, not only does it help put him in a position to get cleared, but I think it helps his confidence, too. We're all very hopeful that he can stay healthy."

Bouchard's final test could come in Wednesday night's scrimmage in front of an anticipated jam-packed Xcel Energy Center. Final rosters must be submitted to the league Friday.

Bouchard originally was hit from behind in Winnipeg in the final minute Dec. 14, 2011. That loss ended a seven-game winning streak and began the Wild's unraveling. Bouchard returned a few games later but never felt completely right until getting dinged for the final time late in a game at Vancouver on Jan. 4, 2012.

Yeo reminded that with Bouchard in the lineup last year, "we're a playoff team."

Tapping the power

Monday provided a sneak peek at the Wild's likely two power-play units. The No. 1 unit is the anticipated No. 1 line of Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu and Heatley with Ryan Suter and Bouchard manning the points. The No. 2 unit consisted of the anticipated No. 2 line of Matt Cullen, Granlund and Devin Setoguchi with Tom Gilbert and Jared Spurgeon at the points.

"We basically added a full unit, Mikko, Butch, Ryan, Granny and Zach," said Yeo, referring to second-half injuries to Koivu and Bouchard last season and the arrivals of Suter, Granlund and Parise. "That's five new guys to your power play, and those are pretty good ones."

Heatley was encouraged by the first day.

"It was an area last year we could have improved on and wanted to improve on," Heatley said of the Wild's 27th-ranked power play. "It looks good early. Both units moved the puck around, created offense. You need production from both units."

In fine form

Speaking of Heatley, he is skating well and in tip-top shape after having knee surgery after last season.

"He looks great, doesn't he?" Yeo said.

"My only focus is to play well," said Heatley, who led the team with 24 goals last season, but it was the lowest full-season output of his career.

Help from the farm

Monday's scrimmage featured Houston Aeros players littered through both teams. It was their fourth game in four days after chartering to Minnesota on Monday.

Essentially, they are guinea pigs as the Wild prepares for the season opener.

Yeo met with the Aeros before the game. Certain players, such as Jason Zucker, Charlie Coyle and Johan Larsson, probably deserve a shot to make the team, but in a condensed training camp with every roster spot largely filled, they're not getting a chance.

Yeo explained to the Aeros, "This is not a [fair] training camp. This is not a team evaluation of sorts. This is team preparation and getting ready for Game 1. They're a part of that, and we need them to be part of that."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


San Francisco - J. Peavy 7:07 PM
Kansas City - Y. Ventura
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Houston 6:00 PM
Brooklyn 6:30 PM
Washington 6:30 PM
New York
Cleveland 7:00 PM
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Atlanta 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Portland 9:00 PM
LA Lakers
Phoenix 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Toronto 6:00 PM
Philadelphia 7:00 PM
Washington 8:30 PM
Buffalo 9:30 PM
Arkansas State 40 FINAL
Louisiana 55
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Chivas USA 8:30 PM
Real Salt Lake
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM


question of the day

Poll: Who should get the Twins' managing job?

Weekly Question





Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters