Granlund goes on IR; Yeo to try Fontaine at center

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 29, 2013 - 10:20 AM

Justin Fontaine is expected to move from his natural wing position to center, and Jason Zucker is back from Iowa.

 

With Mikael Granlund placed on injured reserve Thursday, Mike Yeo needs a new second-line center. So on Thursday, the Wild coach essentially threw some names in a hat and pulled one out: a player who has rarely played center in his career.

Nevertheless, when the Wild opens a home-and-hom e series with Central Division rival Colorado on Friday, Justin Fontaine is expected to move from his natural wing position to center between Nino Niederreiter and Jason Pominville.

How did Yeo choose Fontaine, who other than a few shifts here or there with the University of Minnesota Duluth and Houston Aeros has barely played center?

“Just trying things,” Yeo said.

Charlie Coyle won the second-line center spot outright in training camp, but after Coyle sprained his knee, Granlund took over and the second line took off.

This season and last, Coyle has played better at right wing than center, and the Wild’s top line with Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu always seems to churn when Coyle’s at right wing as opposed to Pominville.

So Yeo would prefer to keep Coyle at top-line right wing and fill holes elsewhere.

“I’ve got no problem putting him at center, but I think we have to try to give that line a chance to get back to the type of dominance they were having,” Yeo said. “Instead of breaking them up, let’s arm those guys with what they need to lead our group.”

Parise, who missed Wednesday’s game against Phoenix with a bruised foot, practiced Thursday with Koivu and Coyle and is listed as questionable for Friday’s game against Colorado.

With Granlund out at least three games (injured reserve means at least seven days) because of an apparent head injury, Jason Zucker was recalled from AHL Iowa less than 24 hours after being reassigned. He practiced on the left side of Kyle Brodziak and Dany Heatley on Thursday, while Matt Cooke, who hasn’t scored a goal since Oct. 12 (21 games), was demoted to the fourth line.

Yeo hopes Zucker’s speed will complement two big bodies.

“Heater had one of his strongest games in a long time [against Phoenix],” Yeo said. “He was strong on a lot of puck battles and had three really good scoring chances and one goal. We’ll use this as an opportunity to continue to help him grow his game, get it back to his top level.”

Zucker has been like a yo-yo between Iowa and Minnesota. He played three mostly solid games during his recent call-up, but he had to be reassigned Wednesday to activate defenseman Keith Ballard and right wing Torrey Mitchell off injured reserve.

Zucker had a 3 p.m. flight Wednesday to play the Chicago Wolves, arrived at the arena at 5:30 p.m. with only airport pizza in his stomach, scored two goals and then was pulled off the bus after the game because the Wild summoned him back to Minnesota with Granlund hurt.

He had a 4:30 a.m. wake-up call Thursday to fly back to Minnesota for practice.

“It’s not the easiest, but I’m not going to complain about being up here,” Zucker said. “If I have to go down for a day, and that means I’m coming right back, then so be it, I’ll take it just to be up here playing.”

Granlund could miss some time now. He has taken three shots to the head in the past eight games, getting hurt Wednesday 29 seconds into his first shift after missing two games.

Yeo said the Wild didn’t rush Granlund back.

“To sit here and say in hindsight that I wish he didn’t play, of course,” Yeo said. “But when a guy’s cleared to play, what are you going to do? You going to say no? He was cleared to play and obviously cleared to play with the idea that we wanted to be careful and think about the big picture. Sometimes things happen.”

Zucker, who suffered two concussions last season, one with the Wild, feels “horrible” for Granlund.

“I know exactly what he’s going through,” Zucker said. “It just drains you emotionally, mentally, everything. It’s tough. I hope he gets better soon

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Team Irvin 7:15 PM
Team Carter
Miami 58 3rd Qtr 6:17
Chicago 48
Oklahoma City 2:30 PM
Cleveland
Dallas 5:00 PM
New Orleans
Indiana 5:00 PM
Orlando
LA Clippers 5:00 PM
Phoenix
Minnesota 5:00 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 6:00 PM
Toronto
Milwaukee 6:00 PM
San Antonio
Boston 7:00 PM
Golden State
Washington 7:00 PM
Denver
Houston 8:30 PM
LA Lakers
Team Toews 4:00 PM
Team Foligno
South Florida 53 FINAL
Connecticut 66
Boston College 37 2nd Half 15:02
Georgia Tech 30
Virginia 33 2nd Half 13:09
Virginia Tech 38
Indiana 31 1st Half 1:12
Ohio State 35
Stony Brook 11 1st Half 11:44
Binghamton 9
Cincinnati 8 1st Half 13:31
UCF 10
Maine 13 1st Half 11:54
Hartford 11
Monmouth 14 1st Half 8:08
Manhattan 22
Fairfield 17 1st Half 10:04
Marist 12
Rowan 12 1st Half 6:53
Princeton 29
St Bonaventure 8 1st Half 12:00
Rhode Island 7
Duke 17 1st Half 13:44
St Johns 9
Saint Peters 17 1st Half 9:10
Siena 13
Drake 6 1st Half 12:13
Wichita State 16
Vermont 14 1st Half 10:32
UMass Lowell 13
Seton Hall 2:00 PM
Butler
NJIT 2:05 PM
South Alabama
Northern Iowa 3:00 PM
Illinois State
Louisville 3:00 PM
Pittsburgh
UMBC 3:30 PM
Albany
Niagara 3:30 PM
Iona
Notre Dame 5:30 PM
NC State
Belmont 5:30 PM
Tennessee St
Creighton 6:00 PM
Villanova
Northwestern 6:30 PM
Maryland
Washington 7:30 PM
Utah
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
Maine 41 2nd Half 11:33
UMBC 33
Vanderbilt 39 2nd Half 11:58
Alabama 36
Lafayette 34 2nd Half 13:03
Lehigh 40
UCF 12 1st Half 11:50
SMU 10
Utah 13 1st Half 9:35
Washington 19
James Madison 11 1st Half 13:45
Coll of Charleston 5
Delaware 9 1st Half 10:12
Drexel 15
Hofstra 13 1st Half 11:19
William & Mary 20
Hartford 5 1st Half 15:11
Albany 6
Binghamton 8 1st Half 11:57
Stony Brook 16
Towson 23 1st Half 10:10
UNC-Wilmington 12
Wake Forest 20 1st Half 12:36
(17) Florida State 20
Georgia Tech 12 1st Half 11:46
Virginia 13
(22) Georgia 10 1st Half 10:25
(5) Tennessee 11
Drake 21 1st Half 9:41
Evansville 16
Iona 11 1st Half 11:56
Canisius 7
Fairfield 8 1st Half 10:48
Monmouth 17
Northwestern 18 1st Half 11:16
Penn State 16
Wisconsin 17 1st Half 8:04
Michigan State 19
Ohio State 14 1st Half 11:13
Purdue 13
Northern Iowa 12 1st Half 11:59
Indiana State 7
Butler 1:30 PM
Xavier
Creighton 2:00 PM
Marquette
Providence 2:00 PM
DePaul
Northeastern 2:00 PM
Elon
(2) Connecticut 2:00 PM
Cincinnati
Oregon 2:00 PM
Arizona
Bradley 2:00 PM
Loyola-Chicago
NC State 2:00 PM
(23) Syracuse
(7) Maryland 2:00 PM
Indiana
Illinois State 2:05 PM
Missouri State
Colorado 3:00 PM
Washington St
Tulane 3:00 PM
South Florida
(14) Kentucky 3:00 PM
Missouri
(9) Oregon State 3:00 PM
(13) Arizona State
Vermont 3:30 PM
UMass Lowell
Iowa State 3:30 PM
(8) Texas
Southern Ill 3:45 PM
Wichita State
(15) Duke 4:00 PM
(12) North Carolina
Miami-Florida 4:00 PM
(4) Louisville
(21) Minnesota 4:15 PM
(25) Rutgers
California 5:00 PM
UCLA
(11) Stanford 7:00 PM
USC
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: Does a Stadium Series outdoor Wild game get you excited?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close