TAMPA, FLA. – The lacrosse-style goal that Mikael Granlund scored in the semifinals of the 2011 world championships still lives in infamy in his native Finland.
Not only was the goal that helped lead Finland to a gold medal captured on a postage stamp, Granlund’s goal is now one of the most downloaded emojis in Finland. The new hockey emoji app (Lätkäemojit) is available in AppStore and Google Play. The app has been downloaded nearly 50,000 times.
Granlund, the Wild’s leading scorer, said he got a look at the emoji version of the ilmaveivi (Finnish for lacrosse-style goal) for the first time Thursday, as did captain Mikko Koivu, who also captained that Finland national team.
“Oh, is that his brother?” Koivu cracked, referring to Vancouver Canucks kid brother Markus Granlund. “Now Granny’s head is going to get even bigger. He’s going to pick up the phone, call his girlfriend and parents and tell them he’s the most downloaded emoji in all of Finland. I’d be honored.”
Granlund, rolling his eyes, said sarcastically: “Yeah, that’s exactly what I’m going to do. That sounds just like me.”
Granlund said he’s actually “not a big fan of that goal anyway. I didn’t love [the hype] from it. It’s just a goal.”
Coach Bruce Boudreau thought the emoji looked cool other than the fact it “has more chins than me.”
Boudreau hopes the line juggling stops at some point, but Thursday night, he returned to mostly the lines that played well two games prior against San Jose.
Chris Stewart and Zach Parise played their off-wings with Eric Staal in the middle, the Jason Zucker-Koivu-Granlund line was reunited, Martin Hanzal centered Nino Niederreiter and Ryan White and Erik Haula centered Charlie Coyle and Jason Pominville.
The one tweak was White on the third line and Coyle moving to fourth-line left wing.
“We’ve talked about Coyle on the left side because he protects the puck better, and then when he’s coming down the boards and he goes to the middle, he’s on his forehand to get a better shooting possibility,” Boudreau said before the game. “If we can get away with it, that’s a pretty good fourth line.”
Coyle entered the game with no points and a minus-7 in the previous nine games. Boudreau insisted playing Coyle on the fourth line wasn’t an indictment.
“I’m always trying to get balance,” Boudreau said. “If we’re using [Hanzal] as a secondary checking unit type thing, then this makes sense.”
Said Coyle: “I’ve just got to play my game night in and night out, and don’t worry about the points. Points will come, and as long as we get the two at the end, that’s the main thing.”
From one virus to another
Seemingly past the mumps, the Wild is now dealing with the norovirus. Defenseman Matt Dumba and equipment manager Tony DaCosta rejoined the Wild after a bout with the stomach bug.
Still weak though, Dumba missed his second consecutive game. He skated Thursday morning, and the team hopes he can play at Florida on Friday night.
“We find different viruses every week it seems for the last little while, so hopefully it’s ended here and Dumba and Tony are the last two,” Boudreau said.
With Dumba out, Gustav Olofsson was paired with Jonas Brodin and Marco Scandella with Nate Prosser.
The Wild signed forward Gerald Mayhew to an American Hockey League contract with Iowa. Mayhew played four years at Ferris State, scoring 52 goals and 119 points in 150 games.
Jordan Schroeder was the lone Wild healthy scratch.