Monday’s arrival of Chris Stewart meant one undeserving forward would have to come out of Tuesday’s Wild lineup against the Ottawa Senators.
The odd player out at least for one game was right winger Jordan Schroeder, who had seven points and was plus-8 in his previous 11 games. What hurt Schroeder’s cause is he’s the only forward who doesn’t play special teams.
“It was going to be a tough decision no matter who we took out of the lineup,” coach Mike Yeo said. “It came down to the fact that Schroeds doesn’t have a penalty-kill role, doesn’t have a power-play role right now. But things could change here in the near future.”
Yeo didn’t want to touch the fourth line of Erik Haula-Kyle Brodziak-Justin Fontaine. All three are part of a penalty kill that entered Tuesday’s game having killed 43 of 44 power plays in 16 games since the All-Star break, and that line combined for four goals in road victories at Nashville and Colorado.
Taking Schroeder out caused the least upheaval to the lineup. The Zach Parise-Mikael Granlund-Jason Pominville line also stayed intact, while Stewart slotted onto the right side with Thomas Vanek and Mikko Koivu; and Sean Bergenheim moved to a line with Nino Niederreiter and Charlie Coyle. By the third period, Vanek and Bergenheim flipped.
“There’s no magic formula where you can just punch in a program and come out with the perfect combination,” Yeo said. “We have to try some things and see how it works out.”
Yeo explained to Schroeder his rationale, and the former Gopher took it maturely.
“Am I disappointed? Yeah. Who wouldn’t be?” Schroeder said. “Everyone wants to play and contribute, and I thought I’ve been doing a great job of just coming in here and making plays and using my speed. Next time I get in the lineup, I’ll be determined to prove to them that I need to stay in the lineup.
“That’s life. Sometimes you’ve got to take a few punches to make it. I’ve been through this before. Just keep my head up and keep working hard.”
Reunited … again
Stewart and newly-acquired Jordan Leopold played together on Colorado and St. Louis, so with both traded Monday to the Wild, Stewart called Leopold and sung him the Peaches & Herb song, “Reunited.”
“I can’t shake him,” Stewart said, laughing.
Stewart was all smiles Tuesday with this new lease on life coming from 30th-place Buffalo.
“It’s a dream come true,” he said. “Last year, I was on the exact reverse situation. I went from St. Louis to Buffalo, who was dead last at the time. I wasn’t too happy about that. So to be in the opposite shoes this time around, it’s definitely a good feeling.”
Defense partners Marco Scandella and Jared Spurgeon have missed a combined 23 games, but Tuesday was only the second time they missed the same game.
Spurgeon missed his sixth consecutive game because of a concussion, but he took part in Tuesday’s morning skate and there’s a possibility he returns Thursday at Washington.
Scandella suffered a setback, Yeo said, and will miss at least a week. It’s believed he has an oblique injury.
The Wild’s defense was really up against it Tuesday though.
Nate Prosser and Matt Dumba assumed No. 2 pair duties, but that quickly changed because Prosser didn’t play the second and third periods because of an illness. Leopold, scratched 26 times including 18 in a row at one point in Columbus, made his Wild debut alongside Christian Folin.
• The NHL fined Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog $5,000 and agitator Cody McLeod $3,091 for actions in the final seconds of Saturday’s game against the Wild. That’s the maximum each could be fined under the collective bargaining agreement.
• In a paper move, Folin was reassigned and recalled Monday, meaning he’s the only player on the Wild roster who can be assigned to Iowa of the AHL the rest of the season. Dumba and Schroeder are here to stay.
• Ryan Carter (upper body) and Matt Cooke (sports hernia) skated on their own Tuesday. Jason Zucker (collarbone) shot pucks off the ice.