Russo: Andrei Markov is intriguing, but age and injuries concern me. I think the Wild needs a right-shot D, so I’d go after Pittsburgh’s Matt Niskanen if he becomes free. Oh, and he’s a Minnesotan, so that’ll satisfy the provincials. If you want ruggedness, Pittsburgh’s Brooks Orpik.
Dkb: Charlie Coyle’s future at center or wing?
Russo: Mike Yeo likes him at center and says he sees his future there. Personally, I like him more at wing. I just love his board play in the offensive zone, and I think we see that more when his responsibilities down low in the defensive zone are fewer. Coyle’s prowess in the faceoff circle has been below par, but that can be improved, as Mikael Granlund has shown. He set the bar last weekend against Detroit, but he still must get stronger.
Yodaluke: Your opinion of the job Yeo has done?
Russo: Until this month, I thought he didn’t receive enough credit for pulling the Wild out of the doldrums when the calendar turned 2014. The Wild went on a 14-4-2 tear largely without Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu, Jared Spurgeon and Josh Harding. He was coaching under immense stress and scrutiny and without a contract beyond this season. But the past month, I think he has made odd lineup decisions, has catered to the veterans to the detriment of the team, and hasn’t found the answer to stop the bleeding.
cwigs77: If the Wild somehow miss the playoffs... is Yeo gone?
Russo: I don’t see how he’s not. If that were to happen, the next coach would be a veteran and perhaps a contrast in style, like the currently unemployed … Peter Laviolette.
NHL Short Takes
Oilers goalie vents
Oilers goalie Ben Scrivens was ticked that for a second time recently, an angry Oilers fan threw a jersey onto the ice during an 8-1 loss to Calgary. He took his stick, scooped up the jersey and tossed it back into the stands.
“You pay your money, you get to do whatever you want,” Scrivens told Sportsnet. “You want to boo me, go for it. You want to jeer me, call me every name, you’re entitled. You can spit on me for all I care if I deserve it. But when I see a jersey thrown out on the ice, I’m from here, you’re not just disrespecting the guys in the room, you’re disrespecting guys who wore this jersey before us, the Messiers, the Gretzkys.”
We’re talking about practice
Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley pulled his players off the ice 22 minutes into Thursday’s practice.
“If you’re not ready to work, well, you might as well not work — simple as that,” Hartley said. “I always tell them, ‘If you don’t want to practice, don’t get on the ice.’ … We’re very fortunate people. We work about an hour, an hour and a half, a day.
“You need to be ready. That wasn’t the start we were looking for at practice.”