Watching itself in top gear, Wild sees a blur

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 10, 2011 - 12:20 PM

Coach Mike Yeo praised his team's speed, along with its commitment to pushing full tilt ahead.

hide

Wild forward Matt Cullen watched his goal off Blue Jackets goalie Steve Mason in the first period Saturday night.

UNIONDALE, N.Y. - Mike Yeo talks all the time about playing fast hockey.

So in an attempt to impart his wish one final time before the Wild's season opener Saturday night against Columbus, the Wild rookie coach added a little wrinkle to his pre-scout video session.

"I saw glimpses of it in the preseason. We saw it in parts, so we put together a video collection of a lot of the good stuff we did," Yeo said. "When you see it all together, the one thing I said to the boys is, 'Look how fast we look.'

"When we're going bang, bang, bang, and we're going right at them, if we're playing the game the right way, if we're executing the right way, then we should look fast."

The Wild looked fast -- very fast -- in a 4-2 victory over the Blue Jackets.

And when the word "fast," is used, it's not only to describe how fast the Wild was skating. It's to describe how quickly it pounced on Columbus in all three zones. The Wild was in the face of Blue Jackets players immediately, giving them little time and space.

The Wild hopes to continue this pace on its first road trip Monday afternoon and Tuesday night against the New York Islanders and Ottawa Senators.

"Now what we need is it to become instinct, where it becomes repetition and habit," Yeo said. "When we take the half-second of thinking out of it, we'll be even faster."

Yeo often uses Dany Heatley as an example of a hockey player who plays a fast game. Throughout the preseason, Yeo made note of it, and he did so again Sunday.

Against the Blue Jackets, Heatley scored the winning goal and an assist, but he was always driving forward, always skating north.

"You can take the fastest guy in the world, but if he wants to go east-west all the time, anybody can catch him," Yeo said. "When we talk about that north mentality, we do it to build our speed into our game, like how quickly can we get from our end down to their end.

"When everybody has that mindset, then you just play faster as a team."

Wild captain Mikko Koivu said the pregame video montage exhilarated the Wild and hit home perfectly.

"It didn't matter if it was the defensive zone or the neutral zone or the offensive zone, we did the things we're supposed to do," Koivu said. "The challenge we have when you do a system like that is to do it not just one game, not just one period. You're going to have ups and downs, but if we can learn to keep it steady, then we can be satisfied."

Yeo was particularly impressed with the Wild's first line, not only because Heatley and Devin Setoguchi scored, but because of how good they were defensively. They were aggressive, physical and not "high-risk."

It means Yeo won't have to chase matchups in games. He's comfortable going top line vs. top line.

"I had a really good idea of how good Mikko was without the puck and how good he was defensively and his battle level, but as a line, the three of them, it just grows my confidence in their ability to play against anybody," Yeo said.

The pace Saturday was impressive. But it was one win.

There are 81 games to go.

Koivu, never one to get too high or too low, said: "I still think we'll do a better job of it. I think overall after training camp, our game is where it should be right now. That's a good sign. The win gives us confidence that we can play like that, but it's one game and now we have a big challenge on the road."

  • related content

  • Bouchard suspended two games

    Monday October 10, 2011

    Pierre-Marc Bouchard's high stick to Columbus' Matt Calvert drew a swift penalty from new NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan.

  • Gameday: Wild at N.Y. Islanders

    Sunday October 9, 2011

    Preview: After a 4-2 season-opening win Saturday over Columbus, the Wild hits the road for back-to-back games on Long Island...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Atlanta 6 FINAL
Detroit 4
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
Houston 6
St. Louis 4 FINAL
Miami 1
Baltimore 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
NY Yankees 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Chicago Cubs 6 Top 9th Inning
San Francisco 8
Los Angeles 6 FINAL
Chicago WSox 1
San Diego 3 Bottom 8th Inning
Seattle 8
Cleveland 9 Bottom 9th Inning
Cincinnati 3
Milwaukee 2 Bottom 8th Inning
LA Angels 3
Oakland 2 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 2
Texas 4 FINAL
Kansas City 5
Colorado 3 FINAL
Arizona 4
NY Mets 4 Bottom 3rd Inning
Washington 0
Boston 6:05 PM
Minnesota
Toronto 6:05 PM
Baltimore
Oklahoma City 7:00 PM
Chicago
Dallas 9:30 PM
Portland
Calgary 6:00 PM
Boston
St. Louis 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Minnesota 6:00 PM
Washington
Toronto 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Dallas 6:30 PM
Florida
NY Islanders 7:00 PM
Nashville
Vancouver 8:00 PM
Arizona
Montreal 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Morgan State 69 2nd Half 3:02
MD-Eastern Shore 83
Niagara 22 2nd Half 19:07
Siena 37
Holy Cross 6:00 PM
Bucknell
Western Ky 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Navy 6:00 PM
Colgate
Temple 6:00 PM
East Carolina
UAB 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
Boston Univ 6:00 PM
Lafayette
American Univ 6:00 PM
Lehigh
Wisconsin 6:00 PM
Minnesota
Fairfield 6:00 PM
Saint Peters
Arkansas 6:00 PM
South Carolina
Morehead State 6:00 PM
UT Martin
USC Upstate 6:00 PM
Fla Gulf Coast
Lipscomb 6:00 PM
North Florida
Southern Ill 6:05 PM
Missouri State
Texas State 6:30 PM
Appalachian St
SC State 6:30 PM
Bethune-Cookman
Delaware State 6:30 PM
Coppin State
Middle Tennessee 6:30 PM
FIU
Texas-Arlington 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Norfolk State 6:30 PM
Hampton
NC A&T 6:30 PM
NC Central
Savannah State 7:00 PM
Florida A&M
Southern Miss 7:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Georgia State 7:00 PM
ULM
Marshall 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Rice 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Ark-Little Rock 7:15 PM
Louisiana
South Alabama 7:30 PM
Arkansas State
Alabama State 7:30 PM
Grambling St
Alabama A&M 7:30 PM
Jackson State
Sam Houston St 7:30 PM
Lamar
Central Arkansas 7:30 PM
Nicholls
Portland State 7:30 PM
Northern Ariz
Southern U 7:30 PM
Prairie View
Alcorn State 7:30 PM
Texas Southern
Houston Baptist 7:30 PM
TX A&M-CC
SE Louisiana 7:45 PM
New Orleans
California 8:00 PM
Arizona
Eastern Ill 8:00 PM
Belmont
Memphis 8:00 PM
Connecticut
VA Commonwealth 8:00 PM
Davidson
Ark-Pine Bluff 0 Postponed
Miss Valley St 0
Marist 8:00 PM
Quinnipiac
Sacramento St 8:00 PM
Southern Utah
Northwestern St 8:00 PM
Stephen F Austin
North Texas 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 8:00 PM
Washington
Idaho 8:00 PM
Weber State
Abilene Christian 8:00 PM
Incarnate Word
Eastern Wash 8:05 PM
Idaho State
Bradley 8:35 PM
Drake
Cal State Fullerton 9:00 PM
UC Irvine
CS-Northridge 9:00 PM
Long Beach State
UC Riverside 9:00 PM
UC Davis
Stanford 10:00 PM
Arizona State
Utah 10:00 PM
Washington St
Monmouth 68 FINAL
Canisius 56
Wake Forest 85 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 79
Saint Louis 65 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 58
Saint Peters 62 FINAL
Rider 54
UNC-Asheville 51 FINAL
Liberty 59
UNC Greensboro 44 FINAL
(17) Chattanooga 78
Michigan State 69 FINAL
Michigan 49
Arkansas 72 FINAL
Ole Miss 61
Manhattan 51 FINAL
Niagara 57
Massachusetts 63 FINAL
Richmond 67
Virginia 52 FINAL
Miami-Florida 62
Jacksonville St 45 FINAL
Belmont 55
Morgan State 65 FINAL
MD-Eastern Shore 50
Campbell 65 FINAL
Winthrop 52
Furman 65 FINAL
Samford 54
Oregon 64 FINAL
Washington St 66
Indiana 52 FINAL
(23) Rutgers 63
Pepperdine 67 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 68
Auburn 47 FINAL
(18) Texas A&M 57
Morehead St 66 FINAL
Tennessee St 81
George Mason 36 2nd Half 8:44
Saint Josephs 52
Western Carolina 38 2nd Half 11:20
East Tenn St 40
Arizona 24 2nd Half
UCLA 37
Texas State 34 2nd Half
Appalachian St 34
TX-Arlington 32 2nd Half
Georgia Southern 12
SC State 10 1st Half 11:30
Bethune-Cookman 9
Delaware State 26 1st Half 5:22
Coppin State 14
Portland 12 1st Half 7:47
Santa Clara 27
Norfolk State 8 1st Half 7:50
Hampton 18
NC A&T 33 1st Half 4:55
NC Central 11
Savannah State 5:00 PM
Florida A&M
Virginia Tech 5:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Central Arkansas 5:00 PM
Nicholls
Houston Baptist 5:00 PM
TX A&M-CC
Gardner-Webb 5:00 PM
Radford
Georgia 5:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 5:00 PM
Marshall
Ark-Little Rock 5:00 PM
Louisiana
South Alabama 5:05 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 5:15 PM
ULM
Sam Houston St 5:30 PM
Lamar
SE Louisiana 5:30 PM
New Orleans
Northwestern St 5:30 PM
Stephen F Austin
Alabama A&M 5:30 PM
Jackson State
Alabama State 5:30 PM
Grambling
Southern U 5:30 PM
Prairie View
Alcorn State 5:30 PM
Texas Southern
Ark-Pine Bluff 0 Postponed
Miss Valley St 0
Wofford 5:45 PM
Mercer
Abilene Christian 6:00 PM
Incarnate Word
La Salle 6:00 PM
Rhode Island
Illinois 6:00 PM
Nebraska
TX-San Antonio 6:00 PM
Rice
Valparaiso 6:00 PM
Oakland
Missouri State 6:05 PM
Indiana State
Georgia Tech 7:00 PM
(15) North Carolina
Presbyterian 7:00 PM
High Point
Charlotte 7:00 PM
Western Ky
Florida Atlantic 7:00 PM
UAB
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
North Texas
Wichita State 7:00 PM
Evansville
Loyola-Chicago 7:00 PM
Northern Iowa
Bradley 7:05 PM
Drake
Vanderbilt 7:30 PM
(12) Kentucky
Colorado 8:00 PM
USC
San Francisco 8:00 PM
Pacific
FIU 8:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Idaho State 8:00 PM
Eastern Washington
Weber State 8:00 PM
Idaho
Purdue 8:25 PM
Minnesota
Cal-Irvine 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Long Beach St 9:00 PM
CS-Northridge
Hawaii 9:00 PM
UC Santa Barbara
UC Davis 9:00 PM
UC-Riverside
Northern Ariz 9:00 PM
Portland State
Southern Utah 9:00 PM
Sacramento St
Utah 10:30 PM
Washington
BYU 10:30 PM
St Marys-CA
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is doing the best job coaching a Minnesota pro sports team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close