Wild notes: Knowing 'roles' leads to victory

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

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

ADVERTISEMENT

Houston 12:05 PM
Miami
Philadelphia 12:05 PM
Minnesota
St. Louis 12:05 PM
Detroit
Baltimore 12:05 PM
NY Yankees
Boston 12:05 PM
Tampa Bay
Toronto 12:05 PM
Pittsburgh
Atlanta 12:07 PM
Toronto
Washington 12:10 PM
NY Mets
Chicago Cubs 3:05 PM
Cincinnati
San Diego 3:05 PM
Texas
San Francisco 3:05 PM
Seattle
Colorado 3:05 PM
Chicago Cubs
Cleveland 3:05 PM
Milwaukee
Oakland 3:05 PM
Chicago WSox
Los Angeles 3:10 PM
LA Angels
Kansas City 3:10 PM
Arizona
Atlanta 6:00 PM
Charlotte
New York 7:00 PM
Chicago
Golden State 7:30 PM
Milwaukee
Oklahoma City 8:00 PM
Utah
Denver 9:00 PM
Portland
Nashville 11:30 AM
Washington
Arizona 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
San Jose 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Anaheim 12:00 PM
NY Islanders
NY Rangers 12:00 PM
Boston
Tampa Bay 1:00 PM
Detroit
New Jersey 6:00 PM
Carolina
Florida 6:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 6:00 PM
Toronto
Los Angeles 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Columbus 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 8:00 PM
Colorado
Dallas 9:00 PM
Vancouver
Arizona 5:09 PM
Wisconsin
Canisius 6:30 PM
NJIT
Notre Dame 7:49 PM
Kentucky
San Jose 2:00 PM
New England
Orlando City 3:00 PM
Montreal
Los Angeles 6:00 PM
D.C.
Sporting Kansas City 6:00 PM
New York City
Red Bull New York 6:30 PM
Columbus
Portland 7:00 PM
Vancouver FC
Colorado 7:30 PM
Houston
Seattle 7:30 PM
FC Dallas
Texas 11:00 AM
(1) Connecticut
Dayton 1:30 PM
(8) Louisville
(16) Duke 3:30 PM
(4) Maryland
Gonzaga 6:00 PM
(6) Tennessee
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: What are you following most closely right now?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close