Heatley's line running on all cylinders

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 6, 2012 - 6:39 AM

For five games now, it seems every single time the Dany Heatley-Kyle Brodziak-Nick Johnson line hops the boards, the puck enters the offensive zone, the opponent is hemmed in for long stretches and the trio generates oodles of scoring chances.


Dany Heatley’s line includes Nick Johnson and Kyle Brodziak. What happens when Mikko Koivu returns?

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

COLUMBUS, OHIO - For five games now, it seems every single time the Dany Heatley-Kyle Brodziak-Nick Johnson line hops the boards, the puck enters the offensive zone, the opponent is hemmed in for long stretches and the trio generates oodles of scoring chances.

Heatley, in particular, has been jumpstarted in a way Wild fans have waited for since he was traded to Minnesota last July.

Well, captain Mikko Koivu, Heatley's linemate from Day 1, is close to returning from a shoulder injury, maybe as early as Tuesday in Columbus.

What to do? What to do?

Thursday morning in Denver, when asked if he would keep the Heatley-Brodziak-Johnson line intact, coach Mike Yeo was noncommittal. After Saturday's 2-1 shootout loss in Dallas, a game in which Brodziak scored a breakaway goal and the three combined for 15 of the Wild's 34 shots, Yeo indicated it would be hard to break up what's clicking so well.

"Certainly, this is something that we would have to look into if Mikko were to come back on Tuesday," Yeo said. "That line is playing really well. ... No. 1, we have to find a way to make sure that Brodzy and Johnny keep playing at the level that they're at, and Heater as well.

"But we have to make sure that when we're making these decisions that we give Mikko a good chance to come in and have the type of impact that he's capable of."

Maybe Yeo will initially skate Koivu with his former linemate, Devin Setoguchi. Talk about somebody in dire need of a jumpstart. Setoguchi's barely getting scoring chances anymore, has two goals in 11 games since returning from a knee injury Jan. 4 and has scored 10 goals and is minus-10 in 39 games.

Heatley, who has worked relentlessly since the All-Star break, has scored four goals and eight points in the past five games, and even though he was held off the scoresheet in Dallas, he was all over the puck and had eight shots. He leads the Wild with 17 goals, 38 points and a plus-10.

"It's one of those things where you find chemistry with guys," Heatley said of playing with Johnson and Brodziak. "I hadn't really played with either of them all year, but I think those two guys really hound the puck, they're really good on the forecheck and they really get on the D and create turnovers.

"They look for me all the time, so it's a lot of fun to play with them."

Yeo's been delighted with how the three have been committed to creating turnovers, getting pucks deep and playing behind the defensemen. The three were pests against the Stars, wreaking havoc by constantly getting sticks on pucks and pressuring.

That's how Johnson and Heatley created Brodziak's two breakaways -- the second of which he finished to force overtime in a one-sided Wild third period.

"Johnny is great on the forecheck, holding the puck down low and creating turnovers," said Brodziak, who is riding a career-long six-game point streak. "Heater controls the puck a lot, and he's very good at turning the puck over."

Heatley was diplomatic when asked if he would prefer to stay with Brodziak.

"That's up to Yeosie. Obviously, Mikko's a great player, so we'll see what he does there," Heatley said.

Yeo said it's just important "we're surrounding Mikko with the right pieces. We were a pretty good team with Mikko playing with Heater, too."

Prosser to sign

According to multiple sources, the Wild will avoid restricted free agency with Nate Prosser this summer by signing the reliable defenseman to a two-year, one-way contract extension on Monday.

The 25-year-old Elk River native was signed as a free agent out of Colorado College in 2010. He has been one of the Wild's most consistent defenseman this season, shuttling back and forth between Minnesota and Houston because he doesn't require waivers.

The Wild is 14-7-2 with Prosser in the lineup. He has six assists in 23 games and is an even plus-minus while averaging 20 minutes, 37 seconds a game.


    Up next: 6 p.m. Tuesday at Columbus • TV: FSN Plus. (100.3-FM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Oakland - LP: D. Otero 8 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Frasor 9
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
NY Islanders 5 FINAL
Boston 3
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Ottawa 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Tampa Bay 5 FINAL
Dallas 1
Colorado 0 FINAL
Calgary 2
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
San Jose 1
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question