Day Two of training camp is in the books.
If you didn’t read today’s coverage, here’s today’s story on the Wild’s attempt to improve the power play with a number of interesting quotes and a notebook on the lines and defense pairs from Day One, Darryl Sydor, Niklas Backstrom and other notes.
In Sunday’s paper, I did a big article on Zach Parise and Ryan Suter trying to move beyond a heartbreaking 2014-15 season in which they each lost their fathers.
More than 3,000 fans came to Xcel Energy Center on Saturday morning to watch the Wild’s scrimmage between Teams B and C this morning. Team B won 5-0 with Jason Pominville and Matt Dumba scoring two goals each and Parise one on a penalty shot after being hauled down. Leland Irving and Devan Dubnyk combined for the shutout.
The highlights of the scrimmage: Parise-Mikael Granlund-Pominville looked awesome and coach Mike Yeo joked that they’ll have a chance to make the team if they keep this up. The Jonas Brodin-Dumba pairing was dynamic. Dumba was physical, too, and got under the skin of a few guys, including Charlie Coyle, who looked good. Marco Scandella has picked up right where he left off. Zack Mitchell, a minor leaguer who hopes to get games this season, has caught the Wild’s eye and should get an exhibition game. Mike Reilly has looked good. Some kids who are standing out are Dylan Labbe and Gustav Bouramman (Bouramman wasn’t in today’s scrimmage; he scrimmaged Friday and will on Sunday). Yeo has been real pleased with Erik Haula’s start to camp and underwhelmed by Tyler Graovac’s.
More on this in a sec.
I’ve watched Pominville skate for three weeks now and he looks like he’s going to do his best to put a tough 2014-15 season behind him. He scored only 18 goals on 252 shots. That’s his lowest full season and non-lockout season goal total and tied for the most shots in his career. The .071 shooting percentage was the worst of his career and he led the Wild with 84 missed nets.
You can read Pominville’s thoughts in Sunday’s notebook, but Yeo likes what he sees thus far.
“I don’t care whether it’s the best player in the world or a first-year player, you can tell when a player has confidence,” Yeo said. “There were times last year where he wasn’t feeling it. For him to get off to the start he has, his hands look good and obviously his shot, but being able to finish plays, he’s got to stay with it. But you’re always happy when a player gets off to a good start in training camp.”
More Yeo Day Two thoughts:
On Brodin-Dumba: “I think with Brods, we’re seeing what an advantage it can be for him in the offensive zone playing his left side. Much more active, and just as far as receiving pucks and being a threat and creating plays, that pairing led to a lot of zone time and offense.”
On Haula: “He deserves some credit for the way he’s playing. He’s come into camp in good shape and a real positive for him, he’s certainly in my eyes well ahead of where he was [last] year at this time.”
Yeo said Haula has “experienced the success and he’s experienced the hard parts.” He said that better prepared him heading into the summer the right way. “With what went on last year, he was very motivated and I think it’s shown so far.”
On Graovac, whom I don’t know if he’s nervous or hesitant to get after it with the veterans, but Yeo said, “He can’t just blend in, and that’s what I would say he’s done so far. He has to find a way to be a little more impactful on the ice, whether that’s using his size and skating ability to be a presence defensively and to separate guys and to create turnovers, or whether it’s the skill and his speed he uses to create offense. He needs to stand out if he wants to make this team.”
On Mitchell, who set up a couple goals in the scrimmage: “He’s a guy that’s come a long way.” Yeo said he still has a way to come, but “he’s a guy that’s caught our attention.”
On Reilly: “I’ve been real happy. There’s a lot of things that we’re throwing at him right off the hop. He’s got some areas that he has to quickly adjust to our game, to our system, to the details and habits that we play with that he’s probably been able to get away without having these type of things in his game, but he’s had an impact when he’s on the ice [defensively and offensively].”
On maybe giving Reilly his exhibition debut in front of the home crowd Monday against Buffalo: “Sometimes you want to put kids under pressure and under stress to see how they react to those situations. Whether you bark at them in practice and see how they react to it or whether you put them in front of our noisy crowd and see how they react to that; the same can be applied to playing on road in a hostile environment, you want to see how kids, how players react in those situations.”
Speaking of which, Yeo did lay into some of the youngsters and minor-leaguers at one point today. Afterward, Yeo said, “It’s the NHL. You have to be ready to go, you’ve got to be ready to work and you’ve got to be sharp. When we’re doing drills, every drill, every repetition has a purpose to why we’re doing it. We’re not doing it so we can learn it, we’re doing it so we can build habits. You can’t do it unless you’re doing it the right way.”
Talk to you Sunday.