NHL Sunday Insider: Plans for Wild's Yeo kept hush-hush

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 8, 2013 - 9:32 PM

Upstairs, no one wants contract talks to be a distraction.

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Wild head coach Mike Yeo spoke to the team during a timeout in the third period. ] CARLOS GONZALEZ cgonzalez@startribune.com - November 27, St. Paul, Minn., Xcel Energy Center, NHL, Minnesota Wild vs. Phoenix Coyotes

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, DML - Star Tribune

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Without further ado, here’s another blogbag from questions asked on Russo’s Rants:

JJcote21: Are owner Craig Leipold and GM Chuck Fletcher working on an extension for coach Mike Yeo or are they just waiting for the season to play out?

Russo: One source says there are discussions going on, another says there have been no recent discussions. Yeo and his assistants are all in the last year of their contracts, so everyone prefers to keep this hush-hush as to avoid a potential distraction. Upstairs, every indication is the plan is to eventually extend Yeo.

Quiltrb: What is Zach Parise referring to when he stated the team was “cheating” during their recent struggles?

Russo: Instead of getting pucks deep behind opposing defensemen, the Wild was forcing passes, turning pucks over at both blue lines and not supporting each other on the ice. If you’ve noticed lately, Parise and others will sacrifice offense if it means being the “third guy” high in the offensive zone. That has led to fewer odd-man rushes. Also, Parise felt Wild players were turning away from checks and not forechecking hard enough.

Wildgopher27: Chances of Erik Haula staying when Mikael Granlund comes back?

Russo: Depends on the team’s injury situation at the time and lineup decisions. If Haula is seeing limited minutes or is in and out of the lineup, the Wild would be likely to send him back to Iowa.

Nickinny: How concerned is the team about Josh Harding’s history of sustaining little injuries on a regular basis?

Russo: Very. He has had several over the years, which is why it’s important Niklas Backstrom finds his game so the team doesn’t have to run Harding into the ground.

Pihlstb: Are we going to see any of Iowa Wild defensemen with the big club?

Russo: With Matt Dumba heading to world juniors and it being up in the air if he returns to the big club or Red Deer afterward, Jonathon Blum, who has played 91 NHL games for Nashville, is next on the depth chart. Steve Kampfer also is having a good season.

April24: Are there any plans for the Wild to have its own practice facility?

Russo: The Wild is working toward having a quasi-practice facility at Braemar Ice Arena in Edina, but only for days Xcel Energy Center is booked.

Trevor89: How has Brett Bulmer been looking this year down in Iowa?

Russo: He has six goals and two assists in 18 games and by all accounts is developing defensively and, most importantly, has been healthy.

Tom In Section 219: Can Ryan Suter win the Norris by averaging 30 minutes per game but only collecting 50 points?

Russo: Depends on his value to the Wild and where the Wild ends up. As of now, my 1-2 are Phoenix’s Oliver Ekman-Larson and St. Louis’ Alex Pietrangelo, and they’re barely top-10 in defensemen scoring. Too many writers vote based on points.

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  • Wild defenseman Ryan Suter (20) congratulated goalie Josh Harding (37) after the Wild beat the Blackhawks 4-3 at home Thursday.

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