Bouchard scratched; Wild continues roster moves

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 12, 2013 - 11:28 PM
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Minnesota Wild's Pierre-Marc Bouchard passes the puck as Phoenix Coyotes' Kyle Chipchura defends.

Photo: Matt York, Associated Press

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VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - Besides the big goaltending news with Darcy Kuemper starting in place of Josh Harding on Tuesday night in Vancouver, the Wild made a series of other roster and lineup moves.

The most noteworthy was coach Mike Yeo scratching struggling veteran forward Pierre-Marc Bouchard, a playmaker who has two goals and one assist in 12 games this season.

Yeo said one factor was his desire to get Torrey Mitchell back into the lineup. With the Wild playing the second game of a back-to-back, Yeo felt Mitchell's penalty killing, fresh legs and energy could be helpful.

But Yeo said Bouchard, "is not playing at the level that we know that he can. In fairness to Butch, he's missed an awful lot of time [because of a concussion]. We don't want to sit here and make a habit of throwing him up in the press box. We're still committed to get him and his game going."

The Wild also decided to place left winger Matt Kassian on waivers Wednesday. That allowed defenseman Jared Spurgeon to be activated off injured reserve in time for Tuesday's game. The Wild reassigned defenseman Marco Scandella in order to recall Kuemper.

Spurgeon missed nine games because of a bone bruise after being struck by a Kevin Klein shot last month against Nashville.

"I got hit off the wrong spot," Spurgeon said. "It's been a long time, a lot longer than we expected, but I'm just excited to get back."

Kassian, 26, a 2005 second-round pick, scored two goals and accumulated 67 penalty minutes in 28 games over parts of two seasons. He has been scratched in every game this season and General Manager Chuck Fletcher indicated last week that at some point the Wild owed it to Kassian to get him playing elsewhere.

He became expendable with last summer's free-agent pickup of Zenon Konopka and the recent trade for Mike Rupp.

Kassian was told Tuesday morning not to attend the optional morning skate. He was on pins and needles while awaiting word if he'd be traded.

If Kassian is claimed off waivers at 11 a.m. Thursday, he goes to that team. If he clears, he must be assigned to Houston and earn his prorated NHL salary of $575,000.

"As a player you want to play, and obviously as a player you want to be in the NHL," Kassian said. "One way or another, it will be good to be playing again."

Scandella was a healthy scratch for two games and because he's 22, Fletcher said it made no sense to keep him in Minnesota when he could be sent to play in Houston without waivers.

"In fairness to Marco," Fletcher said, "he was hurt four or five weeks [because of a groin injury], played one game and we called him up. I don't think we gave Marco a chance to get his game going before we called him up."

Brodziak breaks out

After scoring a career-high 22 goals last season and earning a three-year contract extension, Kyle Brodziak scored his first goal in Monday's shootout victory at Calgary. It stopped a 10-game pointless streak.

As the Wild's checking-line center, Brodziak's primary role is not to score goals, especially with no power-play time.

But, he said, "hopefully they'll come more often. It's tough to explain sometimes when it's not going in. It's not something you can dwell on. You just have to focus playing a consistently strong game and trust that it'll eventually turn around. For me, hopefully that can be a bit of a spark and our line can keep going."

Etc.

• Before Tuesday's games, the Wild's Zach Parise and Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk were tied for the most career shootout goals (31) and captain Mikko Koivu was tied for sixth with 28. Koivu was also tied for third with 11 game-deciding shootout goals.

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