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Continued: Former Gophers star Thomas Vanek gets his happy homecoming with Wild

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Last update: July 2, 2014 - 7:19 AM

“It certainly wasn’t my best [playoffs], I can tell you that,” Vanek said. “But I’ll take the blame for that. It’s not always easy moving around [to three teams] and being away from my family like I have been.”

Vanek, a righthanded shot, is more comfortable at left wing. Coach Mike Yeo will experiment with lines in training camp, but despite the Vanek-Pominville chemistry in the past, initially expect Yeo to start with Zach Parise-Mikael Granlund-Pominville and Vanek-Mikko Koivu-Charlie Coyle. That could move Nino Niederreiter to the third line.

“You do something like this … it’s going to make your first and second lines stronger, but … you’re also making your third line stronger,” Yeo said.

Ballard spent the past week “arm-twisting” Vanek, although Vanek said, “I didn’t need much of a sales pitch.”

“The best thing I’ve done in my career so far was win the NCAA championship with the Gophers,” Vanek said. “So to be a part of the Wild now and go after the big prize and having a chance to do it in Minnesota is beyond my wildest dreams.”

 

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