Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

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Brett Bulmer recalled, Jason Zucker scratched vs. San Jose; Mike Yeo on 2nd line: "Somebody has to step up"

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild player moves, Wild pregame skate Updated: December 12, 2013 - 2:59 PM

The Wild was so soft on pucks last night, particularly in the offensive zone where it barely took any Anaheim might to knock Wild players off pucks, Brett Bulmer has been recalled from AHL Iowa.

Bulmer, 21, the first of the Wild’s three 2010 second-round picks, had three assists in nine games with the Wild in 2011-12 before being returned to Kelowna of the Western Hockey League. His development has been delayed since because of myriad injuries, including a couple knee injuries, but he has been healthy this season and by all accounts playing well for struggling Iowa.

He leads the Baby Wild with nine goals and 62 shots and is third with 12 points. He arrives in San Francisco around 3 p.m. (flying in from Vancouver; Iowa got trounced by Abbotsford last night and plays them again tonight) and is expected to play tonight against the San Jose Sharks.

Coach Mike Yeo wouldn’t divulge the lines just yet, but it’s very doubtful he breaks up the third line and he made it quite clear he is not yet ready to break up the Zach Parise-Mikko Koivu-Jason Pominville line.

So it sounds like Bulmer will play the right side of the new 21-year-old line with Nino Niederreiter and Charlie Coyle. Jason Zucker will be scratched (more on all this below).

Same defense corps, meaning Nate Prosser will be scratched for the ninth straight game. Mike Rupp is also scratched.

Niklas Backstrom in goal. He is 1-8-1 all-time in San Jose with a 3.68 goals-against average, his second-worst goals-against in any arena (American Airlines Center in Dallas). The Wild is 1-7 in their past eight in San Jose and 2-10-1 in their past 13 here.

The Sharks are 0-3-1 in their past four and will start Antti Niemi tonight. Martin Havlat and Dany Heatley, traded for each other July 3, 2011, are expected to be on their team’s respective fourth lines tonight. Havlat has one year left on his contract. Heatley’s in the last year of his Wild career.

On the 6-2, 212-pound Bulmer, Yeo said, “I want to see what he can bring. We all do. One thing that’s been missing a little bit from some of these road games (5-7-3) is a big body along the wall, puck strength, a guy who brings a bit of an edge. These are all elements to his game when he’s on it.”

Why doesn’t Yeo put Pominville on the second line with Coyle and Bulmer and maybe Niederreiter on the first line?

“Of course there’s been talk, thought, but we kind of go through this every time that when things aren’t working out well enough with the second line, we break up the first line,” Yeo said. “We always do that. That’s always the first thing we go to and then next thing you know you’re kind of weakening your first line. Somebody has to step up. Somebody has to grab that opportunity. Not to say that we won’t go that way (Pominville to Line 2), but the message right now is we need somebody to step up. We can’t just fall back on going back to that. Those guys are doing their job, so somebody else has to step up.”

That is clearly aimed at Niederreiter (no goals and two assists in his past nine games) and Coyle (three goals and eight points this season).

Despite Iowa deploying the same system and the fact Zucker has played here for good chunks of two seasons, Zucker struggled in the neutral zone last night. He now has no points in his past 17 regular-season games.

On Zucker being scratched after being called up to play Anaheim, Yeo said, “I don’t know. There were some good moments. He got a couple shots on net. I don’t want to say he played poorly, but he didn’t demand a spot for himself in the lineup tonight, too. I don’t know if we’re always giving him the best chance, bouncing him in and out of the lineup like this, but at the same time I just want to see somebody come up and just really respect this opportunity and show that you’re not willing to let it slip.”

Yeo didn’t want to “beat up on Zuck,” but that “respect this opportunity” comment was an indictment.

Yeo said simply there’s been “too much where we don’t have the full roster, the full complement of players going out and performing shift after shift.”

He said the fact Anaheim was able to come with speed through the neutral zone time and time and time and time and time … and time again last night was because of “where we’re losing pucks, how we’re losing pucks, it’s making it extremely difficult to defend in those situations.”

He said there was too much watching and watching for somebody else, that they’re not a team that waits for somebody else to track and pressure puck carriers.

He said there was thought of scratching either Clayton Stoner or Keith Ballard after a tough game, but he doesn’t think any play they made or something they did cost the Wild in Anaheim.

Recently, in the second of back-to-backs, Yeo hasn’t even brought the team to the rink. Today, the entire team reported to SAP Center for a meeting. He said a lot of things were addressed in that meeting regarding areas the Wild must improve and “I’m anxious to see how we respond.”

Talk after the game.


Houston 2 Bottom 7th Inning
St. Louis 5
Washington 7 Bottom 6th Inning
Atlanta 8
Miami 4 Bottom 7th Inning
Boston 3
Minnesota 1 Bottom 7th Inning
Tampa Bay 2
NY Yankees 3 Bottom 5th Inning
Philadelphia 0
Baltimore 0 Bottom 2nd Inning
Toronto 0
Detroit 3 Bottom 7th Inning
NY Mets 1
Cincinnati 0 Top 1st Inning
Chicago Cubs 0
Los Angeles 0 Top 1st Inning
Milwaukee 0
San Francisco 0 Top 1st Inning
Texas 0
Chicago WSox 0 Top 1st Inning
San Diego 0
Kansas City 0 Top 1st Inning
Cleveland 0
Seattle 0 Top 1st Inning
Los Angeles 0
Colorado 0 Top 1st Inning
LA Angels 0
Oakland 0 Top 1st Inning
Arizona 0
Pittsburgh 6:05 PM
NY Yankees
Chicago 6:00 PM
Sacramento 6:00 PM
Utah 6:00 PM
Miami 6:00 PM
Toronto 6:00 PM
Cleveland 6:30 PM
Boston 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Detroit 7:00 PM
LA Lakers 7:00 PM
Phoenix 7:00 PM
Denver 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Dallas 9:30 PM
Golden State
Columbus 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Minnesota 6:00 PM
Buffalo 6:30 PM
Calgary 6:30 PM
Edmonton 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh 9:00 PM
Longwood 68 FINAL
Char Southern 60
Ark-Pine Bluff 94 FINAL
Miss Valley St 75
Southern Ill 45 FINAL
Wichita State 56
Winthrop 21 2nd Half
Radford 24
Evansville 2:35 PM
Illinois State
Towson 5:00 PM
Gardner-Webb 5:00 PM
High Point
Samford 5:00 PM
UNC Greensboro
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Ball State
Bowling Green 6:00 PM
Brown 6:00 PM
Toledo 6:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Akron 6:00 PM
Kent State
Ill-Chicago 6:00 PM
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
Columbia 6:00 PM
Cornell 6:00 PM
Central Mich 6:00 PM
Western Mich
Bradley 6:05 PM
Northern Iowa
Morehead State 6:30 PM
Murray State
UNC-Asheville 7:00 PM
Coastal Carolina
Yale 7:00 PM
Furman 7:30 PM
Coll of Charleston 7:30 PM
Texas Tech 8:00 PM
Pacific 8:00 PM
San Francisco
Detroit 8:30 PM
Cleveland State
Belmont 8:30 PM
Eastern Ky
Loyola-Chicago 8:35 PM
Indiana State
Loyola Marymount 10:30 PM
Santa Clara
Chicago 9:00 PM
Los Angeles
Saint Louis 63 FINAL
(21) George Washington 77
Wake Forest 68 FINAL
(16) Duke 77
Furman 55 FINAL
(17) Chattanooga 68
Monmouth 61 FINAL
Quinnipiac 82
Michigan State 60 FINAL
(4) Maryland 70
Belmont 65 FINAL
UT Martin 71
Arkansas 36 FINAL
(3) South Carolina 58
Mercer 49 2nd Half 0:58
East Tenn St 62
Richmond 31 2nd Half 12:10
Fordham 28
Miami-Florida 47 2nd Half 10:11
(2) Notre Dame 60
Siena 29 2nd Half
Iona 25
Washington St 16 2nd Half
(9) Arizona State 19
Ark-Pine Bluff 36 2nd Half
Miss Valley St 28
(23) Rutgers 12 1st Half 11:37
(24) Northwestern 4
Tennessee St 11 1st Half 12:59
SIU-Edwardsville 11
Loyola Marymount 10 1st Half 9:07
Gonzaga 15
(18) Texas A&M 2:25 PM
Cincinnati 3:00 PM
Saint Josephs 3:30 PM
UCLA 4:00 PM
(19) Stanford
Santa Clara 4:30 PM
San Diego
Virginia Tech 5:00 PM
(7) Florida State
SMU 5:00 PM
Lehigh 5:05 PM
Holy Cross
Rhode Island 6:00 PM
North Florida 6:00 PM
(20) Fla Gulf Coast
Kennesaw St 6:00 PM
USC Upstate 6:00 PM
Northern Ky
Lipscomb 6:00 PM
Nebraska 6:00 PM
(14) Iowa
Saint Peters 6:00 PM
Navy 6:00 PM
Lafayette 6:00 PM
American Univ
Colgate 6:00 PM
Georgia 6:00 PM
(5) Tennessee
Dartmouth 6:00 PM
Penn 6:00 PM
(13) Princeton 6:00 PM
Kansas 6:00 PM
Kansas State
Harvard 6:00 PM
(15) North Carolina 7:00 PM
(10) Louisville
San Jose St 7:00 PM
Houston 7:00 PM
Utah State 8:00 PM
Colorado State
Colorado 8:00 PM
(8) Oregon State
New Mexico 8:00 PM
Minnesota 8:25 PM
Ohio State
(12) Kentucky 8:25 PM
(11) Miss State
San Diego State 8:30 PM
Niagara 8:30 PM
Texas Tech 8:30 PM
West Virginia
Boise State 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Washington 10:30 PM
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