Yeo gets to experiment, and Wild gets a victory

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 26, 2013 - 5:47 AM

The coach shuffled players on different lines, looking for the best fits as the season nears.

 

Minus the silver hair and the cool French accent, Mike Yeo called on his inner Jacques Lemaire on Wednesday night and juggled lines as if he were throwing numbers at a dartboard.

“I had dice. I just rolled the dice every shift,” the Wild coach joked.

There was a method to Yeo’s madness during a 3-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues in the Wild’s second-to-last preseason game.

Dressing a lineup that could resemble the Wild’s opening-night version a week from Thursday against the Los Angeles Kings, Yeo wanted to see different players on different lines.

Yeo used probably a dozen line combinations. Wingers Zach Parise and Jason Pominville skated with centermen Mikko Koivu and Charlie Coyle. Nino Niederreiter saw shifts on all four lines. Justin Fontaine played on three lines. Torrey Mitchell played on the third and fourth. And Jason Zucker played mostly on the fourth.

“It’s kind of fun playing with a new guys every shift,” Coyle said. “I don’t mind it.”

He didn’t look as if he did. Coyle scored a beautiful breakaway goal off Ryan Suter’s home-run pass 38 seconds into the third period for the eventual winner. The virtual lock to be second-line center has scored three goals in four games.

“I can’t say anything negative about his camp,” Yeo said of Coyle. “He’s been outstanding. The challenge for him is to keep it going.”

Mitchell scored a shorthanded goal in the third period and Matt Cooke scored in the first when his snap shot caromed high into the air, fell to the ice and was kicked in by goalie Jaroslav Halak.

“I wish we’d save those [lucky] goals for the regular season,” cheering owner Craig Leipold cracked.

The Wild got unlucky later. Niederreiter scored a water bottle-popping power-play goal in the third, but the referee and goal judge missed it and even though there was an NHL-employed video review judge in-house, there’s no video review in the preseason.

Goalie Niklas Backstrom had a strong night, making 33 saves as the Wild improved to 4-1 in the preseason.

Zucker, penciled in as the eventual second-line left winger before training camp, called Wednesday’s game a “statement game for not only myself, but a couple other guys too that need to get a spot.”

Yeo, however, “wasn’t crazy about [Zucker’s] game. … I thought Nino and [Fontaine] took advantage of their opportunities more.”

Before Wednesday, it felt as if Mikael Granlund might be the odd forward out. He didn’t play against the Blues.

But Yeo said Granlund still wasn’t 100 percent from an “upper-body injury” and that he will play in Friday’s preseason finale in St. Louis. After Zucker’s play Wednesday, Friday will be huge for Granlund.

“We’ll give him that opportunity to take the ball and run with it,” Yeo said.

  • related content

  • Photo gallery: Wild 3, St. Louis 1

    Wednesday September 25, 2013

    Wild hockey vs. the Blues at Xcel Center on Sept 25, 2013

  • Wild notes: Kuemper must be ready, will get most of the work in Iowa

    Thursday September 26, 2013

    Goalies Darcy Kuemper and Johan Gustafsson were two of the 18 players assigned to the Iowa Wild on Tuesday, and now it’ll be interesting to see how coach Kurt Kleinendorst...

  • Postgame: Wild wins; Yeo heaps praise on Coyle but 'wasn't crazy' about Zucker

    Wednesday September 25, 2013

    Charlie Coyle continued his outstanding preseason with the winning goal during Minnesota's 3-1 win over St. Louis. Jason Zucker, though, could be in trouble.

  • The Wild’s Torrey Mitchell, right, battled St. Louis’ Vladimir Tarasenko for control of the puck during the first period Wednesday night. Mitchell scored in the Wild’s 3-1 victory.

  • Charlie Coyle scored on a third-period breakaway Wednesday against St. Louis, continuing his strong preseason. “I can’t say anything negative about his camp,’’ coach Mike Yeo said. “He’s been outstanding.’’

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Philadelphia - WP: R. Hernandez 2 FINAL
Washington - LP: D. Fister 1
Seattle - LP: R. Elias 1 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: W. Chen 2
Texas - LP: J. Williams 2 FINAL
Cleveland - WP: D. Salazar 12
Colorado - LP: F. Morales 2 FINAL
Detroit - WP: J. Verlander 4
Cincinnati - WP: M. Latos 5 FINAL
Miami - LP: J. Cosart 2
San Francisco - WP: R. Vogelsong 5 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: J. Niese 1
LA Angels - WP: M. Shoemaker 5 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: J. Hellickson 3
NY Yankees - LP: C. Capuano 3 FINAL
Boston - WP: A. Ranaudo 4
Minnesota - LP: C. Fien 8 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: J. Guerra 10
Toronto - LP: A. Loup 1 FINAL
Houston - WP: J. Veras 3
Milwaukee - WP: W. Peralta 7 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright 4
Kansas City - WP: J. Guthrie 1 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Gray 0
Pittsburgh - WP: T. Watson 9 FINAL
Arizona - LP: B. Schultz 4
Atlanta - LP: M. Minor 1 FINAL
San Diego - WP: E. Stults 10
Chicago Cubs - WP: K. Hendricks 8 FINAL
Los Angeles - LP: D. Haren 2
NY Giants 8/3/14 7:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/7/14 6:00 PM
NY Jets
San Francisco 8/7/14 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New England 8/7/14 6:30 PM
Washington
Cincinnati 8/7/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
Seattle 8/7/14 8:00 PM
Denver
Dallas 8/7/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Sporting Kansas City 1
Winnipeg 27 FINAL
Hamilton 26
Toronto 31 FINAL
Montreal 5
Brt Columbia 25 FINAL
Calgary 24
Saskatchewan 8/2/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/7/14 7:30 PM
Winnipeg
Edmonton 8/8/14 6:00 PM
Montreal
Hamilton 8/8/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/9/14 6:30 PM
Calgary
Winnipeg 8/12/14 6:30 PM
Toronto
Connecticut 89 FINAL
San Antonio 79
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close