The type of turnover the Wild experienced in a five-day span some teams don’t go through all season long.
And there’s still time for more to happen.
But in the aftermath of last week’s changes and ahead of next Monday’s NHL trade deadline, the Wild hasn’t sensed an unease settle over the group.
“Most of us have been around long enough to know there’s nothing you can control,” veteran winger Mats Zuccarello said. “Whether you had players playing really good getting traded or players not playing up to their standards being traded, it’s just a business at the end of the day. There’s nothing you can control.
“Obviously, when you see your name — I’ve been a part of it — you see your name everywhere, people around you, family, friends, everyone talks about it. It affects you in a way, but I don’t feel anything like that.”
After a whirlwind week that included forward Jason Zucker getting traded to Pittsburgh and coach Bruce Boudreau’s firing, the Wild now has time to get a breather before it starts a two-game road trip Wednesday in Vancouver.
Monday is a day off, after a practice Sunday, and the team will get back on the ice Tuesday. Everyone skated Sunday except center Eric Staal, who took a maintenance day. Interim coach Dean Evason said Staal had an awkward fall during his first shift Saturday in the 2-0 loss to the Sharks, but it’s not serious and he expects Staal to practice Tuesday.
While the team is idle, the distance to a playoff spot could grow. The Wild is five points back of the Coyotes for the second wild-card seed in the Western Conference, but Arizona plays Monday. Just last Thursday, the team sat three points shy, and it would have been only two had it pocketed the second point in the 4-3 shootout loss to the Rangers that night.
“The whole team has been frustrated the last two [games],” winger Kevin Fiala said. “But we will jump back.”
This downtime might make the Wild’s climb steeper, but it’s also an opportunity for Evason to continue to get his talking points across now that he’s leading the way. So far, that message has been focused on communication and accountability.
“That’s what we’re asking of our group right away, and I think as an ex-player and then as a coach, players want that,” Evason said. “They want to be communicated to, even if it’s negative. Even if there’s a negative communication, they want it straight up and they want to be accountable.”