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

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 7:07 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
Washington 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Carolina 6:00 PM
Columbus
Pittsburgh 6:30 PM
Detroit
Montreal 7:30 PM
Chicago
Arizona 8:00 PM
Edmonton
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Is Paul Molitor the best choice to manage Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

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

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close