Working 'After Hours' pays off for young Wild players

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 14, 2014 - 6:36 AM

By staying late and working with assistant coaches, Charlie Coyle and Co. are speeding their development.

 

Accompanied by his trademark thunderous laugh, Andrew Brunette calls what has become the Wild’s daily custom “After Hours.”

Every day, long after most Wild players retire to the showers, the sound of blades cutting up the ice and pucks bursting off sticks echoes at whatever rink where the Wild is practicing.

Take a walk to the glass, and the scene is the same every time: 21-year-old forwards Charlie Coyle, Mikael Granlund, Nino Niederreiter and recently called-up Jason Zucker working overtime with Brunette and fellow assistant coaches Darryl Sydor and Darby Hendrickson.

“This is why our organization loves these kids,” said Brunette, the fourth-leading scorer in Wild history who since retirement has taken on a dual role in the Wild’s coaching and hockey operations departments. “They’re willing to work. That’s the one thing you can say about all of our young kids is that they want to learn, and they’re willing to put in as much work as possible — sometimes probably too much work.

“The Ninos, the Grannys, the Charlies, the Zucks, they are out there all the time working on their game.”

Years ago, teams had two or three assistant coaches — max. These days, teams invest a lot of time and money into player development, from hiring young executives to act as traveling liaisons between prospects and the team that drafted them, such as the Wild’s Brad Bombardir, to hiring recently retired players like Sydor, Brunette and Hendrickson to work directly with the “kids.”

Working together

Sydor, Brunette and Hendrickson have combined for more than 3,000 games of NHL regular-season and postseason experience.

It couldn’t work if the kids weren’t willing to put in the work. The one thing you quickly notice about the Wild’s youngsters is how professional they are.

Recently, coach Mike Yeo had to march to the ice to pull the kids off on a game day.

After Coyle, Granlund, Niederreiter and Zucker leave the ice, they often can be found on the locker-room floor with young goalie Darcy Kuemper stretching together. They’re all in tiptop shape and are driven to be successful NHLers.

“Practice is good and everything and you learn obviously there, but I think going out and putting in some extra work helps,” Coyle said. “I think guys try to do it and other guys follow, and now it’s become a habit.”

Micromanaging

Coyle and Niederreiter say it’s a huge asset having three coaches like Brunette, Hendrickson and Sydor, who have played in the NHL at a high level.

“They see the game and know the game and help you so much,” Niederreiter said. “They’re so good at telling you what you can do better and being positive with you.”

Brunette said the coaches all have their own special skill sets they try to instill into the forwards. Sydor works more often with the defensemen, although because of young Jonas Brodin’s hefty ice time in games, the coaches typically usher him off the ice rather than allowing him to take part in “After Hours.”

“We try to find the strengths and weaknesses in each player and work with them on that,” Brunette said. “Darby likes the tight turns and quick feet and moving and faceoffs. I like the in-around-the-net stuff, the passing stuff, the using the body on the wall stuff. Shot tips and net-front play is a big thing with all of us. So we come with different drills every day and work on that.”

  • related content

  • Gameday preview: Ottawa at Wild

    Monday January 13, 2014

    Wild Gameday7 p.m. vs. Ottawa • Xcel Energy Center • FSN, 100.3-FMPreview: The Wild has won five of six and...

  • Jason Zucker, left, and Charlie Coyle, center

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cleveland - WP: C. Allen 4 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: G. Holland 3
Baltimore - LP: W. Chen 0 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Pineda 5
Kansas City - WP: D. Duffy 2 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Carrasco 0
Seattle - LP: J. Paxton 4 FINAL
Toronto - WP: J. Happ 14
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Bassitt 2 FINAL
Detroit - LP: K. Lobstein 0
Pittsburgh - WP: F. Liriano 1 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Harang 0
Houston - LP: N. Tropeano 3 FINAL
Texas - WP: D. Holland 4
St. Louis - WP: A. Wainwright 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: T. Wood 0
Arizona - WP: J. Collmenter 6 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: R. Nolasco 2
LA Angels 4 Bottom 8th Inning
Oakland 8
San Francisco 2 Top 10th Inning
Los Angeles 2
Colorado - LP: T. Matzek 0 FINAL
San Diego - WP: E. Stults 1
Chicago 27 FINAL
NY Jets 19
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Buffalo 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Green Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Tennessee 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Carolina 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Detroit 9/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Tampa Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Miami 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Oakland
Jacksonville 9/28/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Atlanta 9/28/14 3:25 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 9/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
New Orleans 9/28/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Ottawa 2 FINAL
NY Islanders 3
Ottawa 5:00 PM
NY Islanders
New Jersey 5 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Detroit 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Toronto 3 FINAL
Philadelphia 2
Washington 4 FINAL
Philadelphia 5
Minnesota 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Dallas 4
Anaheim 5 FINAL
Colorado 2
Colorado 0 FINAL
Anaheim 4
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
Arizona 5
Arizona 3 1st OT 2:48
Los Angeles 3
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
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