This offseason, when the coaches’ challenge debate is reintroduced in the NHL, Wild coach Mike Yeo said, “I’ll probably be in favor of it.”
“I’ve got a flag in my pocket right now,” Yeo joked before the Wild and Colorado Avalanche played Game 6 of their first-round matchup Monday.
With the game’s speed at an all-time high, there are certain areas in the game where expanded video review could help. Some ideas include offside plays that lead to goals (Colorado’s tying goal Saturday), pucks sent into the stands (Jonas Brodin got away with one late in Game 3), goalie interference or incidental contact plays (Keith Ballard’s goal mistakenly waved off in February in Vancouver) or double-minor high-sticks (former Wild center Zenon Konopka mistakenly got whistled for one earlier this season at San Jose).
Avalanche coach Patrick Roy wants coaches’ challenges. A few months ago, the Wild’s Zach Parise wasn’t in favor of coaches being allowed to challenge calls or referees being able to look at plays themselves in the penalty box.
Now, after a couple of controversial missed calls this season, he’s rethinking his opinion.
“Part of me says we should do it, just from different things that have happened,” Parise said. “But we all make mistakes. Everyone’s human. It’s a fast game. But I think maybe it’s something they have to look into.
“Part of me is saying you want to get the call right, but there’s that element that’s always going to be there of just human error. That’s the way it’s always been.”
Roy’s gambling ways
The Avalanche has scored twice on 6-on-5s in the series. Anaheim scored twice in the final 2 minutes, 10 seconds, against Dallas on Sunday to force overtime and eliminate the Stars.
After the game, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau, who got into a shouting match between benches with Roy during his coaching debut in October, credited Roy for inspiring him to pull his goalie so early.
“I’m not going to take any credit for that,” Roy said. “I’m going to give credit to my players, because imagine if we get scored on, pulling the goalie with three minutes left in the game. Everyone would say, ‘Look at that stupid idiot. He pulled the goalie with three minutes, and he got scored [on].’
“The players are creating a trend here. It’s a decision made by the coach to do it, but it’s the players who do the work, and they’re the ones who should receive the credit for that.”
On Monday, the strategy didn’t work. Roy pulled goalie Semyon Varlamov with 2:44 left, but the Wild scored two empty-net goals for a 5-2 win.
With the Wild facing elimination Monday, Yeo talked before the game about how many “resources” he had on his staff.
Yeo won a Stanley Cup as a Pittsburgh assistant, Rick Wilson as a Dallas assistant. Darryl Sydor won two Stanley Cups as a player, while Andrew Brunette and Darby Hendrickson won six consecutive elimination games against Colorado and Vancouver during the Wild’s 2003 run to the Western Conference finals.
“I purposely asked those guys to take the time to talk to a lot of guys this morning because of that experience,” Yeo said. “Just even a reminder. … We have a lot of people that have reached the end and reached the pinnacle and been at the highs of those moments, but in order to come through in those moments, you’ve had to go through some other parts like we’re facing right now.”
• Jason Pominville, who led the Wild with 30 goals during the regular season, had none in the series entering Game 6. “Obviously, you’d like to score,” he said before the game. “I would like to get on board.” He did just that, scoring an empty-net goal with 1:26 left to give the Wild a 4-2 lead.
• The Wild made no lineup changes Monday, but Mikael Granlund took Charlie Coyle’s spot on the No. 1 power-play unit. The move worked, with Granlund being on the ice when Parise scored on the power play for a 1-0 lead.
• Defensemen Jon Blum and Ballard and left winger Mike Rupp were scratched for a sixth consecutive game, while left winger Stephane Veilleux sat for a fourth game in a row.