I wasn't there, but by all accounts, the Wild had one of its most intense practices of the season yesterday. Bigtime battles, nobody going through the motions.

After talking to a bunch of folks, the practice in preparation for a three-game road trip that starts here in Montreal tonight came after coach John Torchetti was as piercing as he has been thus far with his players.

One day after some pointed postgame comments in his news conference after a home loss to the Oilers, Torchetti pretty much went after each player's pride.

Each coach – Torchetti and his assistants – met with a line and a set of D to review their shifts and show when the "gameplan" wasn't being executed.

He wanted the film as evidence so instead of ranting and raving about the 25 or 30 turnovers the team had, nobody would be listening and thinking, "Well, he ain't talking about me."

That's a direct quote from Torchetti after I found him again after his availability this morning.

Torchetti also wants more interacting on the ice. He felt there were too many times where plays weren't made because there wasn't enough communication on the ice. He said this is stuff he builds into his teams and he just hasn't had enough time with this group.

Tonight against a very depleted Canadiens team (one that's 7-0-1 in its past eight at home), Torchetti said over and over again he wants the team following the "gameplan." Similar to Edmonton, Torchetti wants pucks behind Montreal's D and to wear these guys out with punishing forechecks and cycles. The hope is that gets them tired, backs them off and potentially opens the game up later to make plays off the rush.

Torchetti said, "If you say it a thousand times, you've got to say it 1,001. But we can't be learning anymore lessons moving forward. We can't be giving up points.

"I want to play them down low."

I grabbed Zach Parise and Nino Niederreiter, among others, this morning on this stuff.

"There were different things that we did throughout the game [against Edmonton] that didn't allow us to play the game well, especially early," Parise said. "A lot of turnovers through the neutral zone, especially in the first period. No disrespect to their players, but you look at who they had on D and you think before the game we really need to take advantage. We just didn't do it."

Parise said Torchetti "wasn't thrilled" and now is the time for the Wild to get its act together.

"And we understand that. I'm hoping that last game was just a little blip. It's correctable, that's the thing. We did it to ourselves. Small things that are very fixable, and hopefully we don't allow it to happen again."

Niederreiter said Torchetti was upset with the game and said, "He was absolutely right. We had way too many turnovers along the blue line. As players, we know better. We know if we can't make those plays we have to be smart in those areas. We have to go out there and work.

"We know what's at stake. We're still in the mix, which is good. But we've got to find that last hump to get into that last spot. It's there to take it for us, but we have to work hard. It's not going to be given to us."

Tonight, if Torchetti was going to sit a significant name, I figured it'd be one of two guys – the same two Mike Yeo scratched near the end of his tenure as coach – Jason Zucker or Thomas Vanek.

Well, as it turns out, Zucker will get the yank.

Just look at the video and it's not hard to see why. Torchetti is not happy with Zucker's two-way game and the other night against Edmonton, Zucker didn't get pucks deep, turned them over and wasn't available for D coming out of the zone.

He has three scoreless games since returning from missing six with a concussion and has one goal (39 shots) and two assists in his past 21 games.

Zucker has pretty much been in a top-6 role all season and this year is quickly turning into one giant disappointment for him. Remember, he was on a 34-goal pace last year, scoring 21 goals in 51 games. He has 12 goals and 10 assists in 61 games during his restricted free agent year.

That'll either make an affordable re-signing or potentially trade bait.

I still have to think Vanek is on notice.

Torchetti basically admitted he's had a few one-on-one talks with Vanek about his play and specifically the fact that he's being too fine with his passing. Too often in games he's trying to pass through sticks and skates and it's resulting in turnovers and odd-man rushes. The other night, I watched the game over again, he completed two great ones to Mikael Granlund, but man, Vanek probably didn't complete 10 or 12 with passes that didn't need to be made. All he had to do was attack the net or dump the puck.

"It's a two-way street," Torchetti said of Vanek. "I tell him, there's times offensively he's looking to make that fine play through skates and sticks and there's times that I think the timing of the game, the puck management of the game that we should attack the net. He's got great hockey sense and he's got great vision and he tries to make that play sometimes, but there's a time and place I told him, I want him to make that play, but I also want him to make a right decision if it's a 1-1 game, we don't want it to deflect off skates and give them an odd-man rush."

One reason why the Wild called up Jordan Schroeder is to have another body around as a threat if players aren't performing.

Schroeder though has one goal off his hand, 13 shots and no assists in 15 games, so I'm not sure that gets anybody's heart rate up in the locker room. But of the Iowa guys, he's really the only minor-leaguer that has experience and wouldn't be nervous parachuting into a locker room he's not familiar with. Schroeder is comfortable in there and my guess is the Wild doesn't want to be throwing somebody into a playoff race for a NHL debut or something like that.
Torchetti said, "You have to send your message. I sent another one today talking about, we've got bodies now, and you have to play, and you have to earn your spot. I've been here long enough. Chuck [Fletcher] told me to come in with an open mind. I just feel that we can play better, and we can play at a better level."
Torchetti said of Schroeder, "We can use his speed, and he's going to get a great opportunity, and whoever sits out has to be ready for the next time that they get called in, and go from there."

He said that when we didn't know the "whoever" was Zucker, by the way.

Of course, Schroeder had a good opportunity on the first line in Philly a few weeks ago and didn't play well. He was bounced off pucks easily and turned them over. The next game in Washington, he was downgraded and didn't show a ton of confidence. He created a breakaway for himself and instead of using his speed, he took a shot from above the circle with a trailer pressuring.

There are only so many opportunities Schroeder's going to keep getting.
Chris Porter is the odd-guy out in what's turned into a Ryan Carter-Porter scratch rotation since the David Jones trade. Mike Reilly is scratched on the blue line for the first time since his latest recall Feb. 9. He played 16 games in a row. Nate Prosser will play for the first time in five games.

With Jason Pominville hurt and Reilly scratched, I'm not sure who gets second unit time on the point. Maybe Justin Fontaine and Jared Spurgeon? Maybe Marco Scandella and Spurgeon? Maybe Jonas Brodin and Spurgeon? Maybe Schroeder?

We shall see.

Devan Dubnyk gets the start after missing Thursday's game because he was sick.

Beware of Alex Galchenyuk tonight. He has three consecutive multi-goal games and five in the past eight games. Via the Elias Sports Bureau, Galchenyuk became the first Canadiens player to post three straight multi-goal games since Brian Savage did so Oct. 25-28, 1995 (7-1—8). He also became the first Canadiens player with five such performances over an eight-game span since … Jean Beliveau Feb. 28 – March 15, 1959 (13-10—23).