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

NY Mets 0 Top 2nd Inning
Washington 0
Baltimore 0 Bottom 1st Inning
NY Yankees 0
Kansas City 0 Top 2nd Inning
Cleveland 0
Seattle 0 Bottom 2nd Inning
Toronto 1
Chicago WSox 0 Top 2nd Inning
Detroit 0
Philadelphia 0 Top 2nd Inning
Miami 0
Pittsburgh 0 Bottom 1st Inning
Atlanta 0
Milwaukee 0 Bottom 1st Inning
Cincinnati 1
Tampa Bay 0 Top 2nd Inning
Boston 0
Houston - B. Oberholtzer 7:05 PM
Texas - N. Martinez
St. Louis - S. Miller 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - K. Hendricks
Arizona - A. Chafin 7:10 PM
Minnesota - K. Gibson
LA Angels - W. LeBlanc 9:05 PM
Oakland - S. Gray
San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke
Colorado - J. De La Rosa 9:10 PM
San Diego - R. Erlin
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Buffalo 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Green Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Tennessee 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Carolina 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Detroit 9/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Tampa Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Miami 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Oakland
Jacksonville 9/28/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Atlanta 9/28/14 3:25 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 9/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
New Orleans 9/28/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New England 9/29/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Carolina 0 1st Prd 7:01
Buffalo 0
Pittsburgh 0 1st Prd 4:07
Columbus 0
Boston 6:30 PM
Montreal
Nashville 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Philadelphia 6:30 PM
Toronto
Detroit 7:30 PM
Chicago
San Jose 8:00 PM
Vancouver
Arizona 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Vancouver 9:30 PM
San Jose
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
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: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close