Wild trying to fix its faceoff struggles

  • Article by: JOSEPH D'HIPPOLITO , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 28, 2014 - 6:26 AM

Winning draws, once a strength, has become a problem for the team.

hide

Wild center Kyle Brodziak has struggled on faceoffs since taking a bigger role in the wake of Mikko Koivu’s injury.

Photo: File photo by Cal Sport Media via AP Images,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

– If the Stanley Cup playoffs began today, the Wild would face the Anaheim Ducks, tonight’s opponent and owner of the NHL’s best record.

If the Stanley Cup playoffs began today, the Wild would have to improve its ability to win faceoffs dramatically to have a chance.

The Wild’s success on draws plummeted after Mikko Koivu broke his right ankle Jan. 4., one day after Zenon Konopka was claimed by the Buffalo Sabres on waivers.

Koivu won 55.7 percent of the faceoffs he took before getting injured. Konopka has the NHL’s best faceoff percentage since the 2005-06 season.

Before Jan. 3, the Wild ranked among the NHL’s best five teams in faceoff percentage. Since Jan. 4, the Wild plunged to 10th with a .513 mark.

The losses most affected center Kyle Brodziak, whose season faceoff percentage fell from .502 to .490. Since Koivu’s injury, Brodziak lost 96 of 171 draws — including 15 of 17 in the Wild’s 3-2 overtime loss at San Jose on Saturday night.

“Winning some faceoffs that game definitely would have helped us,” said Wild center Charlie Coyle, who won only five of 18 draws against the Sharks. “We would’ve been able to establish a better forecheck and a better transition going into their zone and making plays.”

In San Jose, the Wild lost 41 of 59 draws to “probably the best faceoff team in the league,” Brodziak said.

“I think it got in their heads a little bit,” Wild coach Mike Yeo said about the struggles on faceoffs. “You have to be able to hit the reset button from game to game and, more importantly, within the game.

“It doesn’t matter if you’ve lost five in a row. That doesn’t mean you’re going to lose the next one. You have to go in with the mind-set that you can’t wait to take that draw.”

Winning those draws requires more than emotional resiliency.

“When you have wingers who help you out, it’s pretty huge,” Coyle said. “Obviously, you can’t always win a clean faceoff. You just have to find a way to get the puck back. It’s a team effort off the bat.”

Knowing your opponent in the circle also plays a pivotal role.

“Some guys are really strong,” Brodziak said. “Some guys are quick; they have good technique. It’s tough to say what style makes somebody good. Everybody’s different.”

Knowing that opponent means devising a plan to react.

“You know what that guy’s tendencies are,” Coyle said. “You’ve got plenty on your mind with what you think he’s going to do. But the biggest part is just to pick a certain way you’re either going to tie him up or win the draw, and just stick to it 100 percent.

“You can’t think you’re doing one thing and do the other, and go halfway. You’ll lose it every time. That’s what I found out. You’ve got to go 100 percent with what you’re doing, whether it’s getting his stick, tying him up or whatever.”

Securing the puck through faceoffs could prove critical against the Ducks, who from Dec. 6 through Jan. 15 became the second team in NHL history to win 18 of 19 games. Only the 1967-68 Montreal Canadiens accomplished that feat previously.

Note: Yeo said Darcy Kuemper will start in goal, and added that Koivu and Jared Spurgeon (foot) remain day-to-day.

  • related content

  • Gameday preview: Wild at Anaheim

    Monday January 27, 2014

    Wild Gameday9 p.m. at Anaheim • Honda Center • FSN, 100.3-FMPreview: If the playoffs started today, the teams would meet...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles - WP: C. Kershaw 14 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: E. Jackson 5
Boston - WP: J. Tazawa 5 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: D. O`Day 3
Milwaukee - LP: J. Broxton 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Holdzkom 4
Toronto - LP: M. Buehrle 3 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: H. Kuroda 5
Washington - WP: D. Fister 3 FINAL
Miami - LP: T. Koehler 2
Chicago WSox - WP: J. Quintana 4 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: J. Hellickson 3
NY Mets - WP: Z. Wheeler 5 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: J. Teheran 0
Cleveland - LP: K. Crockett 4 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: J. Burton 5
Detroit - WP: J. Verlander 10 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Vargas 1
Seattle - WP: T. Walker 10 FINAL
Houston - LP: B. Peacock 5
Arizona - LP: C. Anderson 3 FINAL
Colorado - WP: J. Lyles 15
Cincinnati - LP: D. Holmberg 1 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: J. Lackey 2
Philadelphia - LP: D. Buchanan 1 FINAL
Oakland - WP: J. Lester 3
Texas - WP: L. Bonilla 12 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: H. Santiago 3
San Francisco - LP: T. Hudson 0 FINAL
San Diego - WP: O. Despaigne 5
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
(5) Auburn 20 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 14
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Old Dominion 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) 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
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Colorado 1 FINAL
Real Salt Lake 5
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
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