Brodziak gets a chance to fill Koivu's skates

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 21, 2011 - 7:05 AM

If Sunday's game against Detroit was an indication of things to come, Kyle Brodziak will be getting injured Mikko Koivu's shifts between Andrew Brunette and Antti Miettinen.

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Wild forward Kyle Brodziak (right)

Photo: Shari L. Gross, Star Tribune

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If Sunday's game against Detroit was an indication of things to come, Kyle Brodziak will be getting injured Mikko Koivu's shifts between Andrew Brunette and Antti Miettinen.

Brodziak played a career-high 23 1/2 minutes, eclipsing his previous ice-time high of 20 minutes, 17 seconds.

"I thought he played another strong game today and contributed and defended well and created opportunities," Wild coach Todd Richards said after a 2-1 shootout loss to Detroit.

Brodziak has been one of the Wild's most consistent players all season. He's been strong defensively, especially on the penalty kill, has fit well with Martin Havlat and has scored 12 goals and 27 points.

In fact, he's complemented Havlat so well, it was surprising Richards moved Brodziak to Koivu's spot instead of Matt Cullen. But Richards moved up Pierre-Marc Bouchard to the left wing of Cullen and Havlat to help create offense.

Brodziak said he'll need more of an adjustment period to get used to playing with Brunette and Miettinen.

"I'm just trying to play my game and make sure I get pucks out of our end and into their end," Brodziak said. "I know where Bruno's going to be, that's for sure. He's one of the best guys down low, behind the net, battling for pucks. It makes it easy if I ever get in trouble to know where he is."

With the lines scrambled because of Koivu's injury, the third line was Eric Nystrom-John Madden-Cal Clutterbuck. Center Cody Almond played only nine shifts totaling 4:18 with winger Chuck Kobasew, who logged 7:36.

Raising bar for Zidlicky

For the second consecutive game, Richards dressed seven defensemen, advancing Marek Zidlicky's ice time from 11:55 to 17:17, in his second game back after missing 21 because of a shoulder injury. Whether that continues depends on how Zidlicky's shoulder feels and how his conditioning is in the coming days.

Playing seven defensemen allows Richards to double-shift wingers such as Havlat and Clutterbuck, but he fears it takes some defensemen, who are used to playing regularly in a rotation of six, out of their rhythm.

But Richards said the Wild is trying to protect Zidlicky until he's comfortable with his condition level.

Etc.

• Left winger Guillaume Latendresse, who hasn't played since Oct. 25, will see orthopedic surgeon Chris Larson on Monday with the hope of getting cleared to practice. That first opportunity would come during Tuesday's morning skate before the Wild hosts Edmonton.

• Defenseman Marco Scandella, cleared to play after missing 14 games because of a concussion, was reassigned to AHL Houston.

• With Koivu out, Brunette was given a third 'A' with alternate captains Cullen and Madden.

• Shootout goals don't count in goals against, so the Wild allowed one goal against Detroit for the first time in 26 games since a 1-1 tie Nov. 25, 2003. It marked the second time in 39 all-time meetings that the Wild allowed one goal or fewer against the Red Wings.

• The Wild is 2-1-4 in the past seven home games against Detroit.

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