Wild notes: Knowing 'roles' leads to victory

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 4, 2013 - 11:03 AM

Coach Mike Yeo talked during Friday’s 3-1 loss to Colorado. He has emphasized everyone playing his role. The Wild has a shootout loss and a victory the past two games.

Photo: JOEL KOYAMA • jkoyama@startribune,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger


After the Wild fell to Colorado on Friday, losing its third consecutive game in regulation for the first time this season, coach Mike Yeo stood behind his podium. He lamented about a lineup that was in flux, sometimes from shift to shift.

“We’ve got to figure it out as coaches, figure it out matchup-wise, figure it out role and identity-wise, but more importantly, regardless of who you’re out there with, what’s your job, what are you supposed to do, what do we need from you?” Yeo said at the time. “That’s what we need right now.”

The Wild is 1-0-1 since, and after each of the games — the latest being a 2-0 victory Monday over Philadelphia — the Wild third-year coach talked about the importance of “roles” in the lineup.

He raved about leaders Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu and Jason Pominville, who make up the most recent first line, helping the Wild revive how it “needs to play to be successful” both Saturday at Colorado and Monday against the Flyers. Yeo pumped the tires of the reunited checking line of Matt Cooke, Kyle Brodziak and Torrey Mitchell, who were so good in training camp, proving that the best defense is when you play the entire night in the offensive zone.

He also made note Monday about how important Mike Rupp and Zenon Konopka were to Monday’s victory. In limited ice time, Rupp stood up for teammates by fighting Jay Rosehill and Konopka won “big faceoffs” in a game the Wild was lousy in the faceoff circle.

“It’s important to have guys in roles,” Yeo said. “Everybody’s got a different piece of the puzzle, and you put it together to the make the picture that you want.”

These identified roles are why Yeo has opted in two of the past three games to scratch rookie winger Justin Fontaine, who has six goals this season.

Mitchell always seems to have chemistry with Cooke and Brodziak. In addition, besides being key penalty killers, Yeo often trusts them as the three forwards to throw over the boards with the task of regaining momentum if the Wild fails to score on its power play.

Rupp gives the Wild some ruggedness and a player who is willing to stand up to opponents taking liberties. Konopka kills penalties and has the highest career faceoff winning percentage (.650) of any active NHLer.

A star again

Goalie Josh Harding was named the NHL’s Third Star of the Month for November. Chicago’s Patrick Kane and Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin were the First and Second Stars, respectively.

Harding went 8-2-2 in November with a 1.88 goals-against average, .926 save percentage and one shutout in helping the Wild go 9-4-2.

Monday, in his first start in December, Harding improved to 14-4-3, setting career-highs with 14 victories and three shutouts in 22 games. Harding leads the NHL with a 1.45 goals-against average and is second with a .939 save percentage.

“Right now there’s no time to look back on what you did,” Harding said. “You can’t look back on the [past], otherwise it’s going to come back to haunt you. I’m just trying to keep the guys in it every night.”

Clutch goals

It even drives Pominville nuts that, since his acquisition from Buffalo, the line combination of Parise-Koivu-Pominville doesn’t score as often as it should.

But for the second game in a row Monday, that line came through in the clutch. Saturday at Colorado, Pominville and Parise assisted on Koivu’s tying goal with six seconds left. Monday, Koivu set up Pominville for his team-leading 14th goal and fourth winning goal.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Locke 3
Texas - WP: C. Lewis 12 FINAL
Seattle - LP: E. Ramirez 4
Washington - LP: D. Fister 4 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: K. Kendrick 8
Tampa Bay - WP: D. Smyly 3 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 1
Boston - LP: T. Layne 2 FINAL
Toronto - WP: M. Stroman 5
NY Yankees - WP: S. Greene 8 FINAL
Detroit - LP: D. Price 4
Atlanta - WP: J. Teheran 3 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: Z. Wheeler 2
Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Turner 5 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: M. Latos 7
Cleveland - LP: C. Kluber 2 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: H. Noesi 3
Minnesota - LP: P. Hughes 1 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: W. Davis 6
Oakland - WP: D. Otero 5 FINAL
Houston - LP: C. Qualls 4
Milwaukee - LP: Z. Duke 2 FINAL
San Diego - WP: D. Thayer 3
Los Angeles - WP: C. Kershaw 3 FINAL
Arizona - LP: W. Miley 1
Miami - LP: H. Alvarez 1 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: H. Santiago 6
Colorado - LP: J. Nicasio 2 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: S. Casilla 4
Atlanta 5:00 PM
Detroit 6:00 PM
Indianapolis 6:00 PM
Kansas City 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 6:00 PM
St. Louis 6:00 PM
Carolina 6:30 PM
New England 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 7:00 PM
Denver 7:00 PM
Minnesota 7:00 PM
San Francisco 7:00 PM
Arizona 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 9:00 PM
(21) Texas A&M 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 6:02 PM
Boise State 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 7:00 PM
Temple 8:15 PM
Rutgers 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Los Angeles 4
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

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

Weekly Question