Coyle demoted to Houston so Bouchard can play more

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 14, 2013 - 11:12 PM
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Minnesota Wild's Charlie Coyle (63)

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

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With the Wild wanting Pierre-Marc Bouchard in Thursday's lineup against Colorado, rookie Charlie Coyle was reassigned to the Houston Aeros.

Bouchard, after several non-productive games, was a healthy scratch Tuesday at Vancouver.

"We want to give Butch a chance to respond," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "It's as much timing and numbers as anything else. [Coyle's] done a very good job, but at the same time we've got some guys here that we know what they're capable of. Let's give them a chance to go do it."

Bouchard, who has one goal and no assists in the past 11 games, was held to one shot in the 4-3 shootout loss to the Avalanche.

Adding more intrigue to the Wild's decision on Coyle was the presence of Pittsburgh General Manager Ray Shero at Thursday's game to scout. The Penguins are actively looking for a top-six winger and could have their eyes on Bouchard or Devin Setoguchi.

Bouchard, the Wild's third-leading scorer in history (330 points), is in the final year of a five-year deal. Setoguchi has one year left on his contract.

Coyle played well despite no points in five games.

"I was very pleased with how few [mistakes] he made," Yeo said. "[Coyle] created chances, [was] good defensively, brought what he needed to bring as far as the size and the wall play and the puck control and the net presence. The only thing [that] wasn't there was end results but that'll come."

Coyle now knows he can play at the NHL level and be effective. "I'm pretty much all but certain that we'll see him again at some point," Yeo said.

Top line stays reunited

In an attempt to reignite slumping Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu and Dany Heatley, Yeo played them together against the Avs.

For the first time this season, Kyle Brodziak was moved to second-line center between Mikael Granlund and Setoguchi.

"Granny and Seto have shown the last several games together that there's some chemistry there," Yeo said. "We'll give Granny a chance to get off the center position and maybe ease up his workload that way, but Brodzy looks like he's finding his game, too. ... We've got to find offense. We're trying to find the right solutions."

Fine dining at Konopka's

You can bet Setoguchi will be eating his pregame meals in Minnesota at Zenon Konopka's pad. Before Setoguchi scored the overtime winner Saturday against Nashville, he and Torrey Mitchell scarfed down a feast made by "Scuba Steve" -- aka Steve Finley, the father of Konopka's girlfriend, Michelle.

"Scuba Steve" owns high-end banquet facilities in Philadelphia.

"Chicken parm, veal, spaghetti, rigatoni, penne, salad, broccoli," Konopka said. "He made us an all-you-can-eat buffet. He made 28 chicken cutlets and froze them, so me, Seto and Mitchell will be all good for pregame meals for a while."

Brunette to be diversified

Freshly retired Andrew Brunette watched his first NHL game this season from inside an arena Thursday as the Wild's new hockey ops advisor.

"Who knows where this takes him?" General Manager Chuck Fletcher said. "I think he has unlimited potential to do what he wants to do in this game."

Brunette will scout, work in Houston, be involved in managerial decisions and help the coaches.

"It's a great opportunity to see everything and find what I like and what I don't like," Brunette said.

Etc.

• Left wing Matt Kassian cleared waivers and was assigned to the Aeros.

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