Ryan Suter doesn't buy Wild coach Mike Yeo's theory that two games and five days of not playing because of a league-mandated respite for elbowing will help the defenseman "clear his mind" and "reset" after a tough string of games.

"What's he going to say? Everybody has to say that," Suter said, adding sarcastically, "It's going to be a good break. I'm going to come back and be flying. We're going to look back when we win the Stanley Cup and say this was the best thing that ever happened to us. That's what you have to say.

"It stinks not playing. I'd much rather be playing."

Suter, a minus-21 the past 20 games after starting the season plus-13, said: "I feel like I was playing fine. I was in a bad rhythm of obviously being minus. Pucks were finding their way to the back of our net. … Get away from it and recharge."

Suter talked on the ice for 10 minutes Saturday morning with assistant coach Rick Wilson, who coaches the blue line. But Suter said they weren't talking about his play.

"He's had a cold for a week, [my son] Brooks skated outside yesterday, my wife's due in March," Suter said. "It's not always about hockey. That's part of the assistant coach's job to be kind of a friendly guy and be concerned about that kind of stuff."

Suter watched Thursday's 7-0 victory at Buffalo in General Manager Chuck Fletcher's booth. "It was weird," he said. "Sitting with Chuck and seeing how he watches a game and what he looks for, it was kind of neat to see. … It takes some getting used to.

"He even said, 'When you're up here watching, sometimes you have to go below to see how fast it really is because it looks so slow from up here.' You can tell who thinks the game from up there for sure. You see every play."

First impressions

In Buffalo, Suter examined newly acquired goalie Devan Dubnyk in order to get a sense of his game.

"It was a tough game to really learn anything about him," Suter said, because Dubnyk was barely tested. "You could see it was a good jolt for the locker room to bring him in."

Suter loved how he played the puck.

"You could hear that he was communicating [even in the press box]," Suter said. "It just saves you. You go back and the puck's in the corner, you get smashed. Darcy [Kuemper] moves the puck well, too. It just saves you from those extra hits you don't need to have."

Scandella returns

Wild defenseman Marco Scandella, who missed five games because of a concussion, returned Saturday night against Arizona without any practices.

"That's the luxury that sometimes you don't get," Scandella said, referring to the fact the struggling team desperately needed him back. "But I feel great. Head, mind, everything, body feels great. Little rested too because the time off obviously helps with bumps and bruises."

Proud papa

Yeo had a busy Hockey Day Minnesota. He rushed over to Holman Field to watch his son, Kyler, play outdoors for Hill-Murray against St. Thomas Academy. He then hustled to watch his daughter, Braeden, play for East Ridge against Roseville on Senior Night.

Yeo took part in opening ceremonies after helping his daughter the night before make her poster board.

"I'm pretty good with the arts and crafts," Yeo joked. "Typically on a gameday I go home and get my beauty sleep, but these are things you can't miss as a parent."


• Kuemper (lower body) rejoined the Wild during Saturday's morning skate, but Niklas Backstrom backed up Dubnyk. Center Mikael Granlund, who had wrist surgery Dec. 29, had a doctor's appointment Saturday with the hope of getting cleared to start practicing Sunday.

• Roseau's Mike Lee, who played at St. Cloud State, backed up Arizona goalie Mike Smith.