For 3 ½ hours Wednesday, Bruce Boudreau and the rest of his Wild coaching staff — minus mumps victim Scott Stevens — worked inside a Columbus hotel room cutting video for a mandatory team meeting later in the afternoon.
Despite the Wild leading the Western Conference and being 2-0 since its bye, let's just say the coach is none too pleased with his team's defensive play of late.
In the background as the coaches worked was a television that aired wall-to-wall Canadian coverage of the blandest NHL trade deadline, well, ever.
"Boredom! There was no big stud dealt," said Boudreau, a self-described hockey geek. "Usually there's some real big blockbuster at some point in these things, but the blockbuster trades were sort of done before."
One of the ones he's referring to was the Wild's headliner Sunday night to acquire Martin Hanzal and Ryan White, who have two goals and three assists in two games.
The Wild made no other moves Wednesday. In part because defenseman Ryan Suter's injury is not thought to be serious and the team hopes the mumps outbreak is contained with only Zach Parise and Jason Pominville being walloped, the Wild didn't expect to do anything earth-shattering anyway.
In fact, the highlight of General Manager Chuck Fletcher's day in the war room may have been lunch. In the quietest trade deadline of his career, Fletcher received calls from only three GMs and he only called and texted a few others.
"We made our transaction on Sunday, and with the way Zach and Pommer got sick suddenly, thank goodness we did because that may have saved ourselves four points by getting Hanzal and Ryan a little earlier," Fletcher said. "We like our group, and we didn't really feel the compelling need to bring in six or seven new bodies when the guys we've had have played so hard and well for us."
Suter's injury looked serious when he was checked from behind in Winnipeg on Tuesday night. He missed the final two periods because of a lower-body injury, but at the airport before flying to Columbus, the veteran told Boudreau he planned to play Thursday.
That's not set in stone though.
"Suts is stubborn. He's tough and stubborn," Fletcher said. "He's indicated that he'd like to play, but ultimately we need [head medical trainer] John Worley and our doctors to make that decision. After [Thursday's] game we have a couple of days before we play again Sunday. So you just want to be smart. If he's able to play and there's no risk of him endangering himself, then he can play."
As for the mumps, the Wild, too, hopes that has been nipped in the bud. Parise told Boudreau "he felt very good and normal," and the hope is he can practice Saturday.
"The cases that we've had all seemed to hit within 48 hours of each other and, knock on wood, it's been another 48 hours since and we haven't had any new cases reported," Fletcher said. "From a timing standpoint, I'd much rather have this type of thing happen now than three or four weeks down the road when we're in the meat of the grind."
Boudreau wasn't bothered by Fletcher not making another move Wednesday. He likes "all our players … especially when we're healthy."
Several impactful players have emerged this season, and Boudreau has full faith in them.
"You didn't know at the beginning of the year," Boudreau said. "Guys like [Jason] Zucker were on the fourth line. Granny [Mikael Granlund] was sort of an unknown. You knew he had talent, but you didn't know how much, but it's sort of come out of him this year. [Mikko] Koivu's been rejuvenated. [Jared] Spurgeon, I know he's been good, but boy he's really good right now.
"Those young guys have done exceptional."
The Wild is second in the NHL with 209 goals. But what hasn't been exceptional is the team's defensive play the past few months, which was the reason for Wednesday's team meeting and video session.
"I think it'll be shored up, but I think what's happened quite frankly is the lack of practice time we've had, we've drifted back to old habits," Boudreau said. "We want to make sure everybody gets back on the right page of what we're supposed to be doing."
The problem is with 16 games in March, the Wild barely will practice this month, especially. For instance, after expending so much energy during back-to-back games against Los Angeles and Winnipeg, Boudreau felt it was more prudent to allow his players to rest and recover Wednesday.
So he scrapped practice.
"Much to the chagrin of the coaches, you've got to look at what's best for the players," Boudreau said. "Sometimes with this many games, if you want them to play hard, you can't have hard practices, or any practices, quite frankly."