Ruslan Fedotenko, Zac Dalpe, Brett Sutter and Jared Knight cleared waivers and were assigned to Iowa. Check out my profile on Tyson Strachan in Tuesday's paper.
Here is your fourth Wild blog of the day on a Sunday I have a feeling not a lot of people were paying attention to the Wild.
Following a round of 17 roster cuts, the Wild trounced the “Winnipeg Jets,” 8-1, in an exhibition game. It actually made me appreciate how the Wild didn’t get annihilated yesterday against the Oilers.
Edmonton played many of its big guys and beat the “Wild” 3-0 with an empty netter. What type of lineup did the Wild bring to that game? Only two guys that spent all of last season with the Wild and most everybody in that game was reassigned today.
But the Wild did bring a quality blue line up there and tonight the Jets basically brought two NHL defensemen and Adam Pardy whose on the bubble to be their eighth. Not in Minnesota were the likes of Big Buff, Andrew Ladd, Blake Wheeler, Bryan Little, Drew Stafford, etc.
The Wild took advantage by winning big. Things predictably got chippy late, and Jets coach Paul Maurice, who last year unsolicited lauded Mike Yeo to the Winnipeg press for Coach of the Year, voiced his displeasure with Yeo throwing out his best players late in the rout.
“You never get an option in this league,” said Maurice. “You get into those games and you know, they're going to keep putting out good players, like when they've got an 8-1 lead and they've got a power play, the best is coming out. In an exhibition game.”
Maurice, when asked if he had some frustration about how his opponents conducted themselves, said, “No, it was just an honor to be in the same building with them tonight.”
Yeo said he played his big guys late because he was “pretty upset” Anthony Peluso was running around. Peluso was hardly the only one. And it is true that before the Jets started getting into it with guys like Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise and Thomas Vanek, Yeo was using guys like Brett Bulmer, Tyler Graovac, Erik Haula and Ryan Carter on the power play.
Whatever. It’ll blow over. Or it’ll just add to a brewing rivalry.
-- Matt Dumba, who scored the OT winner to beat Winnipeg on Tuesday, scored two goals, had two assists, five shots and was plus-6. He was paired with his bosom buddy Jonas Brodin, and the two have been dynamic all camp when together.
-- Nino Niederreiter was great again. He had a goal and two assists, five shots and was plus-5. He also caused screens on goals by Dumba and Mikko Koivu.
-- Charlie Coyle was great again. He played center in Columbus and had three assists and won 12 of 16 draws. Tonight he played right wing because Jason Zucker is banged up and had a goal and was plus-5.
-- Koivu had a goal, an assist, was plus-3, had three shots and won 13 of 18 faceoffs before he left the game in the final minutes with a 10-minute misconduct after getting into it with Adam Lowry and Jacob Trouba, and then the Jets bench.
Koivu, relaxed and jovial all camp (big story coming on him next weekend, by the way), finally got angry.
-- Zach Parise had a goal and two assists.
-- Brodin a goal and assist. Mikael Granlund a goal.
-- Devan Dubnyk, 18-save win.
“It’s hard to find too many things to complain about,” Yeo said. “The first two periods were kind of a hockey game and the third period was a little bit predictable.”
Yeo said there was a reason the Wild was good in the second half last year, and tonight, he started to see areas where the Wild was picking up where it left off, like the net-front play of guys like Niederreiter (fun feature coming this weel) and Coyle.
On Graovac, Bulmer and Reilly, three guys who are coming to Duluth, Yeo said, “All three guys played very good games. I thought that was Reilly’s best game that he played. He’s trying to learn our system, he’s trying to learn the way we want to play and show us that he can be responsible defensively and all these things, but my conversation with him the other day, don’t make the mistake of being too safe. Prove you can go out there and not hurt the team, but play to your strengths and create. You don’t make the team by being safe.”
Tonight, Reilly was more aggressive all over the ice and was just fun to watch. I still think he may start in Iowa barring injury just because Suter, Spurgeon, Brodin, Dumba and Scandella are locks, Prosser’s on a one-way and Folin’s on a one-way and Yeo has been very happy with his camp.
But this experience in Duluth can only help all the kids like Reilly, Graovac and Bulmer.
Yeo said Dumba played “his best game for sure. Brods was definitely a big help for him tonight.”
Dumba brought that up, too, and he also said getting into a gameday routine was huge for him. He said he doesn’t like making excuses, but he feels his up and down play in the road games had a lot to do with the oddity of flying in on gamedays.
Today, he got his nap and prepared the way he always does.
A few years back, fans would tweet and email me all the time ripping on the Wild for drafting Dumba over Jacob Trouba. If Dumba continues to grow the way he has the past two years, that’ll stop in its tracks (especially if you saw Trouba’s game tonight).
Jordan Schroeder did leave tonight’s game with a lower-body injury. Yeo said it’s not major and he wanted to keep playing, but the Wild didn’t want to risk it. Yeo said it’s different than the groin strain Schroeder was dealing with early in camp.
Call it the Star Tribune jinx because Schroeder is whom I wrote about in Sunday’s paper.
Yeo really praised Coyle and Niederreiter and the camp they’re having and he also brought up Koivu, whom he said has been “outstanding. In my time here, this is as good a camp that I’ve seen him have. He’s been real motivated everyday just helping those kids along, which is huge. To see those guys keep going like this and growing their confidence, I really feel their game’s grown the last couple years.”
I’ll write more on Reilly from Duluth, but he said he definitely felt more comfortable on the ice tonight than before and concurred with Yeo’s reasoning as to why.
Bulmer, on still being here, said, “I’m working my hardest every day, and that’s what it’s all about for me. I know my role, I know how to play, so I just have to bring it every night. It’s day-to-day for me. I’m not going to take anything for granted. Everyday I’m going to put in the work and make sure I’m still here.”
That’s it for me. I’ll feature Tyson Strachan in Tuesday’s paper and have a lot of fun stories in the works in the next week or so as we begin to churn things up toward opening night.
The Wild’s on its way to Duluth now. It has a day off Monday and then will practice and play golf Tuesday. Talk to you from Duluth.
I’ll also be on KFAN at 9:15 a.m. Tuesday.