The Wild and St. Louis Blues open its best-of-seven first-round series Wednesday night at 8:30.
The Wild's 2-9 all-time in Game 1 (five OT losses) and 13-16 all-time at home in the playoffs.
I've started drinking Americanos in preparation.
If you missed our coverage today:
You can get a sneak look at my main story for Wednesday's paper on the Wild Star Tribune page now.
You know the Wild lines, if you "RTFB" yesterday.
Power-play units today:
The Blues' lines, defense pairs and power-play units today?
#stlblues— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) April 11, 2017
#stlblues D pairs— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) April 11, 2017
PP1: Tarasenko, Sobotka, Steen, Schwartz and Pietrangelo— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) April 11, 2017
PP2: Perron, Lehtera, Berglund, Parayko and Schmaltz
So Steen and Paajarvi flip.
Christian Folin and Joel Eriksson Ek are expected to make their NHL playoff debuts.
"You can talk to them but the only way they’re going to see what’s going on is by playing," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "That’s where experience comes in. There’s going to be a lot of players on a lot of different teams here that don’t have experience playing in the NHL playoffs. You know, the big thing is not to get overwhelmed by it and at the same time play your best. That’s all we ask."
Things ramp up Wednesday.
"There’s no taking shifts off," Boudreau said. "There’s no coasting. I mean, it’s funny. When you’re away for the summer and you come back and you watch preseason games, sometimes you go, ‘Wow, this is pretty good. How much better can it get?’ Then all of a sudden you see the first regular season game and you go, ‘Man, this is nothing like preseason. Everybody’s going at it.’ Then by the end of the year, you’re looking at the playoffs and it gets ramped up 1½ times more than what the regular season was. So it’s an exciting time. Players do things that they wouldn’t normally do. They pay the price a lot more. They don’t worry about anything other than winning, and that’s what makes going for this trophy the best thing in sports.”
This was part of Yeo's presser with St. Louis media today:
How have you grown as a coach since you were fired? There's a number of way, how I deploy players, how I prepare a group. There's certainly a different confidence when you come into your second job. You've learned, obviously, a lot of the good things, that's easy. When you have to really dig in and look at the things you didn't do well enough, to me that's your real opportunity to grow and there's nothing like getting fired to give you that opportunity.
So what do you think you didn't do well enough? I'd rather stay away from that, if that's OK.
Take us to the moment when you got let go. How tough was it? As a player, as a coach at any level, I'd never been traded and I'd never been fired. The emotions of what happened at that time, it was gut-wrenching, to be perfectly honest. You have a job where you put your heart and soul, it's not just a job where you show up and punch a ticket and you work hard, you put literally your heart and soul into it and that gets taken away from you. It's a tough thing to deal with and that was my first experience, but I believe that has made me a better coach and looking back at it I'm not disappionted I went through it.
How can this series not be a little personal? Because there's too much at stake and I will not allow it to get personal because my team, they need me to have the right mindset, have the right focus, have the right composure. For me, this is playoff hockey, for me there's something much more at stake, something that's way bigger in my eyes than a lilttle revenge here. It's the pursuit of winning the Stanley Cup, that's our focus and so we have a real tough opponent in our way and we'll be ready for that.
Tons of stuff in Wednesday's paper.
Russo-Souhan Show tonight at 6 at Hell's Kitchen.
I'll also be on KFAN Wednesday at 10:15 a.m. and 5:55 p.m.