Wow, there was so much going on over at Xcel Energy Center today its hard to fit it all into one blog headline.
Where were you, Mike Russo?
Just kidding. Mr. Russo had a much-deserved day off. Still, there's a lot to get to. So bear with me:
--I thought Wild coach Mike Yeo had some very interesting things to say about his slumping team today. To paraphrase: The team is playing not to lose rather than being confident about winning Yeo cited that early third-period goal by Calgary and how the Wild deflated in its wake. You've heard Yeo talk for a while about how the Wild needs to get back to its game to get out of the slump. That's not new. But, when he was asked about how the slump was affecting him, Yeo had some interesting things to say. "I'd be lying if I was sitting here saying I'm' getting as much sleep right now as I was three weeks ago," he said. "Having said that, I love the challenge of getting us through this. ... All the naysayers that are out there right now? All the people that were out there, earlier in the year, saying it won't last, and they're coming to the forefront? I love the opportunity for us to prove them wrong."
--Yeo said Marco Scandella took the news of his demotion hard. But the Wild had to do something to get Scandella's game back in order. The fact that he was eligible to be sent down without having to clear waivers made the decision easier. Scandella had lost his confidence, and Yeo could see it. Yeo talked about how Scandella "shrunk" a little bit each time he made a mistake. I don't suspect Scandella will be in Houston long.
--I'll have a good-sized story on Matt Cullen's 1,000th game in tomorrow's paper. Today he was talking about how fast his career has gone. He said he can still remember his first-ever NHL shift, for Anaheim, when he went on the ice and promptly lost his first faceoff against Mats Sundin. He lost the faceoff, the puck went to the point and the other team got a great chance. "Then (the coach) changed lines," Cullen said. "It was a short shift. But I'll never forget that one. And it doesn't' seem that long ago."
--I talked to a few players about former Wild coach Todd Richards being named interim coach in Columbus. "It's tough as a player if you're part of a team where a coach gets fired," defenseman Nick Schultz said. "Ultimately it comes down to the players not getting the job done, and not doing it for the coach. ... As a player, I was happy for him when he got the assistant coaching job there. It's a tough situation there, but hopefully he can do well there and stick, because he's an up-and-coming coach in this league."
--Pierre-Marc Bouchard (lower body) was scheduled to see the doctor later Monday afternoon. Yeo still lists Bouchard as day-to-day.
--Finally, Yeo was asked about the injury to Jack Jablonski, and he talked about how Jablonski is in the minds of everyone in the organization. "We feel we represent the state of hockey," Yeo said. "And so the players that play in this area, we have an attachment to. So we feel this is one of our own here who had this accident and this injury. And believe me, we're hurting. We want to do whatever we can. he's in our thoughts. Our guys are very award of how difficult this must be for him and his family."
That's about it for today. Russo will pick the team up tomorrow.