Coyle offers Koivu and Parise a big body that’s willing to go to the dirty areas, battle along the wall and dig out pucks. Coyle’s work ethic and “compete,” as Yeo says, mirror that of Koivu and Parise.
Just look at Koivu’s goal Monday in Calgary. Coyle dumped the puck, then won the race to the puck, then the battle for the puck. He didn’t get an assist, but he made the entire play happen.
In a March 10 victory against Vancouver, Coyle singlehandedly enabled the Wild to execute an entire line change by bouncing off, evading and bulldozing through defenders before helping set up a Parise goal.
In Columbus last week, Coyle had a similar masterpiece shift when he kept possession in the offensive zone with a single-man forecheck long enough to allow a wholesale line change. Moments later, Mikael Granlund set up Coyle for a goal.
Playing both ways
Amonte can’t get over how astute his cousin is defensively.
“And that was probably the thing I struggled with most coming into the league, always wanting to score goals and being on the wrong side defensively,” Amonte said.
Coyle says his responsible play comes from his father, Chuck, who coached him until high school.
“He taught me to be a good two-way player, to play in all three zones,” Coyle said. “And each level I’ve gone up, I’ve adapted and tried to do better and better each time. Here, literally every game I feel more comfortable and more confident with the things I can do on the ice.”
Amonte has noticed. And he couldn’t be prouder.
“You should see how my kids at Thayer look up to Charlie,” Amonte said. “All the kids are following him, tweeting about him and keeping a close eye on what he’s doing. They’re striving to be as good as he is.
“Charlie’s had one thing on his mind since he was a kid, and that was to play in the NHL. He’s put everything he’s had into it. He wants it bad, and you see that by his preparation and what he puts into the game.
“It’s nice being on the other side now and getting to watch him. He wants to be the best player he can be for Minnesota. He wants to be a success.”