Yeo changes Wild lineup to try and solve team's scoring woes

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 14, 2013 - 12:31 AM

Several moves made with hopes to end a five-game road skid.

 

– One day after saying he didn’t want to remove Jason Pominville from the first line in an attempt to solve the scoring woes of the second line, Mike Yeo did just that.

“Things change,” the Wild coach said Friday.

What changed was one more loss in a five-game road skid the Wild is trying hard to snap.

Stemming from its 3-1 defeat Thursday in San Jose, center Erik Haula and left wing Jason Zucker switched locations again. Haula was recalled from American Hockey League Iowa after a two-goal performance in a victory over Abbotsford on Thursday. Zucker was reassigned after a poor game in Anaheim and a healthy scratch in San Jose.

The move was made so the Wild can spread out the scoring on a team that ranks 29th on the road in goals per game (1.75) and has just four in the past five road games.

With Mikael Granlund about to miss his ninth game because of a concussion, the Wild needed a center so it could move Coyle back to first-line right wing next to Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu on Saturday against the Colorado Avalanche. That’s where Coyle has been most productive in his short NHL career.

Haula will center Nino Niederreiter and Pominville, who leads the Wild with 15 goals. Pominville’s early-season success came on the second line, albeit with Granlund as his center.

Considering that Granlund was lost his first shift after missing two games because of a concussion, the Wild is essentially 4-6-1 without Granlund with 17 goals scored (1.5 per game).

“We need to find a way to create a little more offense here, and Haula, we liked his game when he was here, especially when he played center,” Yeo said. “He showed speed, he showed he had a good stick, [was a] smart player and we’ll give him a chance.”

With Haula back up and Yeo saying that 21-year-old Brett Bulmer earned a second consecutive game Saturday, one other forward will have to join veteran Mike Rupp as a healthy scratch against the Avs.

The candidates are Justin Fontaine, Torrey Mitchell, Zenon Konopka and veteran goal scorer Dany Heatley. Yeo wouldn’t divulge which one would sit, although he said he liked Heatley’s game in San Jose — an eight-minute night that included no shots but no glaring turnovers, which has been his issue lately. The Wild probably needs Konopka to play center and Mitchell has played well on the third line, especially Nov. 30 in Denver, so Fontaine could be the odd-man out.

Most important is figuring out how to score. Obviously Parise, Koivu and Pominville shoulder much of the responsibility, but the Wild desperately needs players such as Matt Cooke and Kyle Brodziak (no goals in the past 22 games) to contribute and especially youngsters Niederreiter and Coyle.

Niederreiter has no goals and two assists in the past 10 games. Coyle has one goal and three assists in the past 14 games and three goals this season.

The 21-year-olds — understandably — have not yet shown the ability to produce on a consistent basis. He also said that often young players “go with the flow,” and he met with Niederreiter and Coyle about being forces even when Parise, Koivu or Pominville are having off nights.

“I’m not trying to make excuses because I think it’s one of the strengths of our team is the youth that we have and the room for growth,” Yeo said. “As these guys get better and as they grow, then our team is going to get better and grow and they’ve already proven that they’re very capable NHL players.

“The amount of players that we have below the age of 23 that we have playing in a significant forward role, the amount of players we have below the age of 23 in our top-four defense, we definitely have a very young group that we’re asking a lot of and I think that we’ve seen that a lot of the times with the [lack of] scoring and I think that we’ve seen that sometimes with the road woes that we’ve had, too.

“Younger players have to learn to win on the road.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Kansas City - WP: J. Guthrie 3 FINAL
San Francisco - LP: T. Hudson 2
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Carolina
Dallas 117 FINAL
Orlando 92
New York 80 FINAL
Toronto 83
San Antonio 87 FINAL
Houston 96
Miami 104 FINAL
Memphis 98
Minnesota 113 FINAL
Chicago 112
Phoenix 105 FINAL
Utah 100
Sacramento 93 FINAL
LA Lakers 92
Denver 112 FINAL
Golden State 119
Portland 99 FINAL
LA Clippers 89
Dallas 3 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Tampa Bay 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Vancouver 3 FINAL
Colorado 7
Carolina 3 FINAL
Edmonton 6
Columbus 1 FINAL
Anaheim 4
Connecticut 21 FINAL
(18) East Carolina 31
Miami-Florida 30 FINAL
Virginia Tech 6
So Florida 17 FINAL
Cincinnati 34
Troy 13 FINAL
South Alabama 27
BYU 30 FINAL
Boise State 55
(6) Oregon 59 FINAL
California 41
North Texas 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10:59 PM
Hawaii
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Memphis
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Houston 1 FINAL
Chicago 2
Montreal 23 FINAL
Ottawa 17
Saskatchewan 27 FINAL
Calgary 40
Hamilton 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who wins and loses in football this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

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

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close