Wild's Coyle downplays injuries

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 17, 2014 - 1:18 AM
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Wild center Charlie Coyle got his shot blocked by Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford during the third period of Game 6 on Tuesday night at Xcel Energy Center.

Photo: Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

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Charlie Coyle separated one shoulder in Game 4 against Colorado, the other on the first shift in Game 3 against Chicago. The Wild second-year power forward missed no playoff games because of the injuries.

“You forget about it once you’re out there, but everyone’s in the same situation,” Coyle said after his exit meeting with Wild brass Friday. “Everyone has one ache or another. … You’re always banged up. You just fight through it. … Everyone was doing that. Every guy was doing that.”

General Manager Chuck Fletcher said several players were injured, from captain Mikko Koivu to defenseman Nate Prosser, who played with a broken finger, to left winger Matt Moulson, who tried to play through an oblique and groin injury.

“He was having a hard time moving,” Fletcher said.

Jason Pominville, who led the team with 30 goals in the regular season, scored two goals in the playoffs but was second with nine points.

“Everyone’s banged up,” Pominville said. “If I’m playing, I’m fine to go, I’m not going to use any of those excuses. But it’s always tough. If you lose a game and you miss a chance or two, you always wonder, ‘Could I have been the difference tonight?’ I would have liked to have had one or two more goals here or there.”

Seeking improvement

Fletcher will be expecting a lot next season from some of his young forwards, especially Coyle, Nino Niederreiter, Mikael Granlund and Erik Haula, who all took positive steps this season.

“I hope this is not their ceiling,” Fletcher said. “I hope there’s a whole other level they can get to and they’ll need to get to for us to get to where we want to get to. They can all be better.

“We think Nino Niederreiter will be more than a 14-goal scorer and Charlie Coyle will score more than [12]. Granlund’s going to continue to emerge. We believe Jason Zucker’s an NHL player. That’ll be up to him to get healthy and prove that to us.”

Niederreiter really came on in the playoffs playing with Coyle and Koivu.

“It gave me kind of a feeling that that’s where I want to be next year,” Niederreiter said. “Definitely, that’s my goal and that’s what I’m looking for. I will do everything it takes to be in that spot next year, and I feel that’s great motivation to push myself this summer.”

Granlund, who broke out with 41 points in the regular season and a strong first round, said, “I feel like I’m going the right direction … but I know I have to be a better player and I can be a better player. It’s a big summer for me.”

Coyle, too, said, “I want to raise my level next year to help us and I think there’s room to do that.”

About Mikko

Koivu scored one goal and six assists in the playoffs after going scoreless last postseason. He has four years left on his contract at a $6.75 million salary cap hit, but Fletcher said this is not a problem.

“Contracts are contracts, and that creates expectations,” Fletcher said. “I get that. He’s not a prolific goal scorer, so he’s never going to make everybody happy, but he can still make plays, was outstanding defensively, played hard minutes and won big draws.

“You look at Granlund and Haula, they’re a couple small guys who can scoot, but we need a big guy that can shut down Jonathan Toews, Anze Kopitar, Ryan Getzlaf, Jamie Benn. Mikko, Granny, Haulzy, that’s pretty good balance.”

Etc.

• Besides Niederreiter, Haula and Jonas Brodin hit entry-level bonuses, and the Wild surpassed the cap ceiling and will be charged an overage next season. That means the Wild’s cap ceiling next year will be lower than the NHL’s, which is projected at $69 million to $70 million.

• The Wild will draft 19th in the first round June 27.

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