Souhan: Wild lives up to Yeo's promise to be more aggressive

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 4, 2013 - 1:03 AM

Promising early, the Wild showed some familiar flaws late.

hide

Zach Parise had his shot blocked by Kings goalie Jonathan Quick in the shootout.

Photo: Marlin Levison, DML - Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The Minnesota Wild has not been paying enough attention to the University of Minnesota athletic department. Otherwise, it would have found a way to schedule the hockey equivalent of New Mexico State for its season opener.

Instead, the Wild accepted the league-mandated schedule and faced the excellent Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night at the Xcel Energy Center, and paid for the privilege of starting with an elite opponent.

The Kings won in a shootout 3-2, leaving the Wild, like much of last season, with a lot of optimistic indicators and pessimistic results.

The Wild dominated play for two periods … but was badly outplayed in the third.

The Wild created plenty of scoring chances … but wound up with just two goals, one of which was a redirection into the net off Matt Cooke’s skate, a dubious if legal score.

The Wild debuted its new, highly paid first line of Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu and Jason Pominville … and it produced zero points.

The Wild got away from its lazy dump-and-chase style … and had its new approach choked off by the Kings later in the game.

The Wild’s second line of Nino Niederreiter, Charlie Coyle and Dany Heatley dominated much of the game … but grew passive in the second and third periods, perhaps costing their team the game.

“We were playing pretty strong,” Wild coach Mike Yeo said. “When you’re playing like that, you should have the confidence you can bring it home.”

The conjunction of sports and marketing leads to a lot of comfortable lies. How many times have you heard that the next wave of prospects is going to turn the franchise around? That the new coach/manager has implemented a new, winning philosophy?

When the Wild replaced Jacques Lemaire with Todd Richards, he promised a “more aggressive style.” It wouldn’t have sounded as good had he been more accurate and said, “We’re going to allow more goals.”

Leading up to the Wild’s 2013 opener, Yeo had promised a new version of this more aggressive style, with less dumping-and-chasing and more offensive activity from the defensemen.

Yeo mostly turned out to be as good as his word. The Wild flew through the neutral zone and created chances. Brodin scored the Wild’s second goal by crashing toward the crease and taking a beautiful feed from Niederreiter.

For two periods, the Wild looked like a new team, and in the third period, the Wild looked like the same old team that can’t finish enough games or scoring opportunities.

I love the way Yeo has loaded his first-line power play with his best veteran playmakers. I love the way his best young players, Jonas Brodin and Charlie Coyle, seem to make only the most intelligent play available to them. I liked the way Niederreiter played in his Wild debut.

Niederreiter might be what the Wild thought it was getting when it traded for Guillaume Latendresse. Only Niederreiter looks sleeker and more active.

Thursday morning, the Wild announced the signing of Pominville to a five-year, $28 million deal. This means the team has signed three accomplished veterans in the last year. These signings place pressure directly on Yeo, who must justify his owner’s spending while developing his best young players.

During the offseason, the Wild rid itself of its middle-class forwards — Cal Clutterbuck, Matt Cullen, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Devin Seto­guchi. The team is left with the high-class Parise, Koivu and Pominville, and such entry-class players as Niederreiter, Coyle and Granlund.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 8 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: E. Volquez 0
Minnesota 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 1 FINAL
Buffalo 6
Carolina 3 FINAL
Columbus 6
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL
Detroit 0
Montreal 3 FINAL
Chicago 1
Arizona 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 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
Hamilton 10/10/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Ottawa 10/11/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings do Thursday in Green Bay?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

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

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close