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Continued: Kleinendorst a perfect fit as coach for AHL Iowa Wild

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Last update: September 22, 2013 - 1:10 AM

Several youngsters could see time there, including Jason Zucker, Nino Niederreiter, Mikael Granlund, Erik Haula, Justin Fontaine and Zack Phillips. He may even have some veterans with significant NHL experience, like David Steckel and Jon Blum. Prospects Raphael Bussieres, Tyler Graovac and Johan Gustafsson will start their pro careers. He’ll have leaders like Carson McMillan, Kyle Medvec and Brian Connelly.

“It’s all about development. Development comes first. Winning comes a close second,” Kleinendorst said. “But why can’t you do both? You can.”

He says the system he normally deploys is amazingly similar to Yeo’s, and his goal in Iowa is to always prepare his players to step right into the Wild lineup once they get the call.

“Their mind is going 100 miles per hour in 100 different directions when that call comes,” Kleinendorst said. “The last thing they should worry about is, ‘how should they play tonight?’ That should be in place, from knowing Minnesota’s forecheck to how they play in the neutral zone to coming out of the defensive zone.

“My job is to put their minds at rest so every player is ready and raring to go.”

 

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  • Kurt Kleinendorst has gone from playing high school hockey in Minnesota to coaching the Wild’s minor league team in Des Moines.

  • The Wild's Kurt Kleinendorst watched the action on the ice before the Wild game against the Jets at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul Saturday September 21, 2013. (KYNDELL HARKNESS/STAR TRIBUNE)

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