Usually, when five minutes are left in the intermission, Wild coaches enter the locker room.
But not always.
Tuesday, when the Wild was tied 1-1 with the Coyotes after one period at Xcel Energy Center, the staff left the players alone. They responded by taking control of the game in the second period, scoring three goals en route to a commanding 5-2 win.
"A couple guys, our leaders, stepped up and we addressed what we had to do," center Ryan Hartman said. "We know. It felt like we were down [in the game]. We addressed it as a group, and I think that shows a lot of the character of our team."
The players-only heart-to-heart also showed the leadership style of coach Dean Evason and his colleagues, a guidance that allows multiple voices to be heard.
"We can bark until we're blue in the face about doing the right things," Evason said. "But if somebody in that dressing room, one of their peers, stands up and says it, it means a lot more."
It's not only players who speak up. Assistant coaches have also had the microphone, and the coaches decide who meets with the players and when.
"As a coaching staff, you always try to find different ways," Evason said.
When no one has a conference with the players between periods, it isn't always because the team is playing poorly. Sometimes the coaching staff has the players talk among themselves when they're doing well.
"The coach is important, but the players are the most important people, right?" said Evason, who finished second in Jack Adams Awards voting last season for the NHL's Coach of the Year honors. "We're all support staff just trying to get them on the ice to play to their best abilities. I hope we all don't forget when we were players, and we understand that it's the players that the people come to watch.
"It's just something that we've always done as a staff here, and it's worked out."
Evason said he anticipates captain Jared Spurgeon to accompany the team on its coming four-game road trip that starts Tuesday at Edmonton before stops in San Jose, Los Angeles and Vegas.
Spurgeon missed a seventh straight game on Saturday with a lower-body injury.
"He hasn't had a true real practice with us yet, so that's the next step," Evason said.
On Friday, the Wild sent defenseman Calen Addison back to Iowa in the American Hockey League and recalled defenseman Kevin Czuczman. But the team didn't make any changes to its forward group and defense against the Maple Leafs.
The only change came in net, with goalie Cam Talbot starting — his first appearance since Nov. 28. Backup Kaapo Kahkonen started the previous two games, winning both.
The Wild is still without forward Frederick Gaudreau (COVID protocols).
As for Toronto, it was missing one of its top producers in winger Mitch Marner; he didn't play after colliding with teammate Jake Muzzin at practice on Friday.
World Junior invites
Wild prospects and defensemen Daemon Hunt, Carson Lambos and Ryan O'Rourke have been invited to Canada's selection camp ahead of the 2022 World Junior Championship, which begins Dec. 26 in Alberta.
The selection camp starts Thursday in Calgary.