Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

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Desperate times call for desperate measures: Veilleux, Dowell up; Granlund, Zucker down

Posted by: Michael Russo under Rookies, Wild news, Wild player moves Updated: April 22, 2013 - 12:09 PM

It was just a matter of time before the Wild would have to make a roster shakeup after losing five in a row at home.

Rookies Mikael Granlund and Jason Zucker, coming off a couple poor efforts, especially last night against Calgary, have been reassigned. Energy bugs Stephane Veilleux and Jake Dowell have been recalled to play the big, bad defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday.

The Wild has lacked physicality in recent games, focus at proper times, like getting the puck deep and not taking penalties on power plays (see Zucker and Granlund), and also defensive smarts in some key situations.

So Zucker, who was coming off a string of bad games, and Granlund take the hit. Zucker's turnovers have hurt the team since his last recall, and he probably destined himself for this when he bailed out of beating an icing last night. Granlund is just not ready -- plain, simple -- in my opinion.

Veilleux and Dowell are veterans, so they should do their jobs, keep it simple (hit people, get pucks deep and forecheck) and bring some of the elements missing from this team during absences to Mike Rupp and Zenon Konopka.

Desperate move for a desperate team. No matter the way the Wild decides to spin it today, this is a Code Blue move.

Josh Harding and Darcy Kuemper have been flipped, too, as expected, and Harding has been activated off IR.

Here are the numbers on the players involved in the switches.

Dowell, the former Wisconsin Badger who has played in 154 NHL games, had four goals in 37 games with Houston. He's 28.  Veilleux, 31, had three goals in 33 games with the Aeros. He has 460 NHL games under his belt.

Harding was 1-1 on his rehab assignment in Houston, stopping 56 of 61 shots. He played in four games for the Wild this season before symptoms related to multiple sclerosis sidelined him.

Kuemper was 1-2 for the Wild this season after posting a 1.88 goals-against average in 21 games with the Aeros.

Zucker has four goals in 19 games for the Wild, and had 24 in 55 games for the Aeros. Granlund had two goals in 27 games with the Wild and 10 in 29 games with the Aeros.

The Wild's in a crisis. This is a reaction to that. We will see if it works now.

Like I said last night, Wild goes 2-1 in its final three games, there should be a postseason.

More after availability at 11.

 

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