Goalie coach seeking solution to Backstrom's shootout woes

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 7, 2012 - 8:31 PM

Bob Mason, Niklas Backstrom's goalie coach since 2006, is at a loss as to why the Wild goaltender can be so poised in games, yet when it comes to shootouts, he's like a fish out of water.


Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom

Photo: LM Otero, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

COLUMBUS, OHIO - Bob Mason, Niklas Backstrom's goalie coach since 2006, is at a loss as to why the Wild goaltender can be so poised in games, yet when it comes to shootouts, he's like a fish out of water.

"We've tried everything," Mason said. "We've done video, verbal scouting reports, watched video of him. Sometimes too much information is just too much. Sometimes you're thinking a guy might do something and he changes the book on you.

"I think it's just reading and reacting, being patient. When he's patient, he's a little bit tighter in the net, doesn't open up. He practices it a fair amount. He rehearses it in his mind. His preparation is always good on everything. I don't know. We really can't put a finger on why his numbers aren't better than they are."

After giving up two goals in as many attempts in Saturday's 2-1 shootout loss at Dallas, Backstrom fell to 15-28 all-time in shootouts with a .563 save percentage. He has given up 12 goals on 22 shots this season and has a 3-4 record. Josh Harding is 7-6 all-time with a .690 save percentage. He has given up three goals on 10 shots this season and is 2-2.

The coaches have debated replacing Backstrom with Harding in shootouts. Asked if that's risky because it might shake Backstrom's confidence, Mason said: "If we ever try that, they're going to know before the game happens. It's not like he would look at the bench and Hards is getting his gear on."

But Mason said the Wild is not at that point.

"We're trying to get him better through practice work, video work and technique," Mason said of Backstrom. "He gets impatient in shootouts. Let the shooter make the first move and react to that. We'll just keep working on it because we need to get some wins in those things."

Koivu back Thursday?

Wild captain Mikko Koivu is getting close to a return from a shoulder injury, but he missed his eighth game in a row in Tuesday's 3-1 loss at Columbus.

"He wants to play, but he needs a couple more days," coach Mike Yeo said. "We're fairly confident that Thursday [against Vancouver] could be a good target date for us, so we'll keep our fingers crossed."

Setoguchi on third line

With two goals in 11 games since returning from a knee injury Jan. 4, Devin Setoguchi was knocked to the third line with Darroll Powe and Erik Christensen Tuesday. That line went minus-2.

Yeo said Setoguchi is pressing.

"You end up circling, you start to anticipate a little bit too much, and next thing you know you find yourself behind the play a lot," Yeo said. "You start moving out into the high slot hoping that somebody's going to find you open for that one-time opportunity instead of getting to the net where those goals are going to come from."

Gillies thankful

Colton Gillies was relegated to fourth-line duty this season with the Wild. Claimed off waivers by Columbus on Jan. 18, the 2007 first-round draft pick faced the Wild on a line with scorers Jeff Carter and Vaclav Prospal.

"I'm so thankful for this opportunity to get ice time and play," said Gillies, who assisted on Carter's third-period goal. "It's just so much more fun when you get to play and get in a rhythm."

Former Wild coach Todd Richards, now the Blue Jackets interim coach, coached Gillies for only seven games in Minnesota. But in summer camps, "you get a good read on their character, and to me, Colton is just that," Richards said. "Character kid. He's not perfect, but he works extremely hard, and usually the work ethic will make up for a lot of the deficiencies."


• Wild winger Brad Staubitz and defenseman Mike Lundin were scratched. Enforcer Matt Kassian re-entered the lineup. Defenseman Clayton Stoner (lower body) didn't travel.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Kansas City - WP: J. Guthrie 3 FINAL
San Francisco - LP: T. Hudson 2
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
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
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
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
Boise State 55
(6) Oregon 59 FINAL
California 41
North Texas 11:00 AM
UAB 11:00 AM
Rutgers 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 11:00 AM
Texas 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 11:00 AM
Memphis 11:00 AM
North Carolina 11:30 AM
San Jose St 12:00 PM
Northern Ill 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 1:00 PM
Akron 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 1:00 PM
Ohio U 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 1:30 PM
Oregon State 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech 2:30 PM
(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
Vanderbilt 3:00 PM
Old Dominion 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 4:00 PM
(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
(3) Ole Miss 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 6:30 PM
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
Nevada 10:59 PM
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
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
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
Brt Columbia 6:00 PM
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite Wild player?

Weekly Question