A new chapter of the Wild starts Saturday.
Dean Evason will be behind the bench for his first game as interim coach when the Wild hosts the Sharks Saturday afternoon at Xcel Energy Center, the team’s first test since General Manager Bill Guerin fired coach Bruce Boudreau on Friday.
“I expect this team to compete for a playoff spot,” Guerin said. “I think maybe some adjustments or a different voice that Dean will bring will help the guys.”
Boudreau’s dismissal continued a shakeup for the Wild that kicked off Monday when the Wild traded forward Jason Zucker to the Penguins.
After that move, Guerin said he expected players to react to the decision by being professional and showing up for the next game – which they did, blanking the Golden Knights 4-0. Following Boudreau’s exit, Guerin’s perspective didn’t change.
“If players are hurt by this, then maybe they’re not the players that we should have here,” he said. “This is the business that we’re in. It’s unfortunate. It’s always a sad time when you do this, but this is the business.”
Evason ran his first practice Friday and although he kept the forward lines and defensive pairs the same, it’ll be interesting to see how he decides to tweak the team. What’s already clear, though, is the message he’ll stress.
“We want the group to be accountable, and we want to be aggressive,” Evason said. “If we make aggressive mistakes, you can live with them. If you make passive mistakes, they’re hard to live with.”
Zach Parise-Eric Staal-Kevin Fiala
Alex Galchenyuk-Luke Kunin-Mats Zuccarello
Marcus Foligno-Joel Eriksson Ek-Jordan Greenway
Ryan Donato-Mikko Koivu-Ryan Hartman
Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin-Matt Dumba
Carson Soucy-Greg Pateryn
3: Points for center Eric Staal the last time he played San Jose.
10-3-1: Record for the Wild over its past 14 games vs. the Sharks at home.
1,500: Regular-season games for the Wild at Xcel Energy Center.
15: Power play goals for the Wild over its last 12 games.
400: Career games for defenseman Matt Dumba.
About the Sharks:
San Jose played in Winnipeg Friday night, outlasting the Jets 3-2. That was the team’s third win in its last four games; all three of those victories have come on the road. After jumping out to a 4-0 lead, the Sharks held on for a 6-5 win in their previous meeting this season with the Wild. Defenseman Erik Karlsson leads the Sharks in points with 40. Winger Evander Kane has a team-high 21 goals, but he’s having a hearing Saturday for elbowing Winnipeg’s Neal Poink on Friday.