For Brodziak, day couldn't get much better

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 20, 2012 - 11:56 AM

The Wild center's three-year contract extension worth $8.49 million was announced soon after a 2-0 victory over Boston. Brodziak could have become a free agent July 1.

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Wild center Kyle Brodziak's three-year contract extension worth $8.49 million was announced soon after a 2-0 victory over Boston.

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

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Kyle Brodziak was all smiles Sunday, and it wasn't only because "we beat the Stanley Cup champs."

The Wild center's three-year contract extension worth $8.49 million was announced soon after a 2-0 victory over Boston. Brodziak could have become a free agent July 1.

"My goal as a player is to keep getting better every year," said Brodziak, 27. "There's definite belief in this organization. I want to be part of building it into a winning team. The culture is changing around here, and I just want to be part of the future and helping to turn this around into a winning club."

Brodziak, the first player Chuck Fletcher traded for as general manager in 2009 (Edmonton), has scored 40 goals and 98 points in 221 games with the Wild. He's missed only two games because of the flu.

His value goes beyond the scoresheet. He's evolved into a leader, takes big draws, logs large minutes, is a key penalty-kill cog, is versatile enough to go from the third line to the first and is as blue-collar as they get.

"I'm trying to work on consistency," Brodziak said. "Just playing a strong, solid game every night. That's something that is growing and I can continue to grow on. I don't expect to score every night, but if I'm playing strong defensively, strong at faceoffs, strong on the penalty kill, aggressive on the forecheck and being strong on the puck, that's when good things happen for me."

One-game suspension

Warren Peters was suspended for Sunday's game after cross-checking the side of St. Louis center David Backes' head Saturday. Peters lost $2,905 of salary.

"My actions probably warranted a game's suspension," Peters said. "I know I'm responsible for my stick. At the end of the day, I hit a kid in the head with my stick. There's no room for that."

Back in good graces?

It turned out all Marek Zidlicky needed to break out of coach Mike Yeo's doghouse was terrible execution from the defensemen Saturday in St. Louis.

"That's what he's here for," Yeo said in explaining why he played Zidlicky against the Bruins after scratching him the two previous games. The benching came after Zidlicky's agent said his client would waive his no-trade clause to go to New Jersey.

Zidlicky had a tough start to Sunday's game but got better as the game moved along.

"There's been a lot of talk, there's been a lot of things written, but the ultimate measure of if a guy wants to be a part of it is how he goes out and plays," Yeo said. "I thought he made a pretty bold statement."

Koivu still out

Captain Mikko Koivu missed his second consecutive game with an undisclosed injury. "We'll just keep calling him day-to-day," Yeo said. Koivu watched Sunday's game from the press box.

With Peters suspended, the Wild called up Chad Rau, who scored the winning goal. Defenseman Mike Lundin (lower body) was placed on injured reserve.

Lundin can become a free agent July 1 and is potential trade bait by the Feb. 27 deadline.

The fight went on and on

Matt Kassian's fight with Shawn Thornton in the third lasted 1 minute, 25 seconds -- the longest, he said, of his career.

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