Mike Yeo is ready.
On his desk are piles of paper, from line combinations to practice groups to systematic instructions to the first 10 days of training camp completely mapped out. It's evidence of a rookie coach who's been hard at work since being named the Wild's third coach in history in June.
There is no evidence of nervousness, though.
"Nerves come from a feeling of not being prepared," Yeo said.
Yeo may be 37, but he's got a certain swagger and confidence. He guided Houston to the AHL's Calder Cup Finals in his only season as a head coach, but he's been coaching for more than a decade and spent five years as an assistant with Pittsburgh.
Now he starts training camp Friday with players' fitness tests and physicals. He will attempt to resurrect the new-look Wild, which after missing the playoffs for a third consecutive season fired Todd Richards, added snipers Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi and subtracted Brent Burns and Martin Havlat.
Players hit the ice Saturday.
"I can't wait to get going," Yeo said. "I sense the players' excitement, too. It's genuine. Guys are really optimistic about the moves we made and what this season could be for us."
Here is Yeo's training camp outlook:
"I want to make sure the players have a great idea of our structure, our positioning and the details within the system we want to play. I want to build up to the kind of pace and execution we want at high speed, and try to incorporate the competitive factor. Next, it's important we integrate all our new pieces. On paper, we're better, but that's paper. Next will be our work ethic. I expect us to outwork our opposition. That will be something that is built in from practice to our off-ice."
"Devin Setoguchi-Mikko Koivu-Dany Heatley. Guillaume Latendresse-Matt Cullen-Pierre-Marc Bouchard. Darroll Powe-Kyle Brodziak-Cal Clutterbuck. Colton Gillies-Eric Nystrom-Brad Staubitz. Of course, it can change, but the reason you put it together now is to see if it's going to work, to see if those guys can develop the chemistry together or maybe there's an ingredient missing on a particular line."
About Powe-Brodziak-Clutterbuck line
"Everybody always talks about teams' first and second lines, but I'm a huge believer in every guy must contribute to a team. It doesn't matter if it's Staubitz or Koivu. Each guy has a role to fulfill. This third line can provide a clearly identified role, which sometimes makes it easier to go out and do your job. When I think about the possibility of them playing against other teams' top lines, one, physically, they're going to be punishing on them; two, they're smart and will play the game systemwise and structurally the right way; and three, the line can create a lot of momentum and be hungry to get to the offensive zone and buzz down there. It can be a real momentum line for us shift after shift."
Young players with a chance to make it
"Colton Gillies is a guy I'm expecting to be with our team. At his point in his career, we have to give him a good opportunity. [Defenseman] Justin Falk is like that, too. ... I've seen enough in their game that I believe they're going to be quality NHL players. Guys really knocking on the doorstep are Cody Almond and obviously Casey Wellman, among others, up front. On defense, Nate Prosser is a guy who really impressed us last year. Marco Scandella is a real interesting one for me. ... I believe he's a guy that can come in and make our team better if he's ready right now. But I definitely don't want any young kids not playing games or playing four or five minutes a night. But we as a staff want to ice the best team we can, so if Marco or Casey make us a better team, we'll make those decisions."
"Greg Zanon-Marek Zidlicky, Nick Schultz-Mike Lundin, Clayton Stoner-Jared Spurgeon."
"I don't want to see defensemen necessarily going end to end, coast to coast trying to score flashy goals, but I do want to see them execute well and support the attack. I think we do have guys that are very capable of doing that."
Addition of Heatley
"I don't like to say that one guy is critical to our team's success. But when you have a guy like that who can each and every shift go out and impact the game, the better he is, the better our team will be. The same goes with Setoguchi. I'm extremely hopeful for what Dany can bring, not just as far as goal production but leadership."