As Wild players stretched around the center-ice dot Saturday afternoon, Mike Yeo chopped Dany Heatley on the back of the trousers and yelled, "Good day one, boys!"

Yeo left the ice, walked by some onlookers, smirked and said, "Didn't fall."

Now that would have been an embarrassing start to Yeo's Wild career.

"I love getting on the ice, and to be able to step on the ice for the first time as a head coach in the NHL, it was a heck of a feeling," Yeo said after Day 1 of training camp. "But this day was not about me. It was about our team. We're really trying to build something here -- building our identity and creating the culture."

Wild players put forth the effort and attitude Yeo wanted to see in the initial practice and scrimmage. The scrimmage was fast paced, intense and fun -- fun, unless you were one of the 2,000 Wild fans who showed up to actually see a goal.

Just as pitchers are ahead of hitters on the first day of spring training, the Wild goalies were clearly ahead of the shooters in the first scrimmage as Josh Harding, Dennis Endras, Matt Hackett and Darcy Kuemper stingily refused to give up a goal.

Yep, the Wild's much-talked-about new offense played to a scoreless scrimmage.

"We laid the groundwork to the foundation of our system today," said center Matt Cullen, before laughing hysterically. "We talked a lot about the defensive end. I guess a 0-0 score kind of showed that."

The reality is, most first scrimmages are low-scoring because over the summer, players aren't used to defenders getting right on top of them and having to execute at such a high pace.

"The way they were pressuring pucks and the way they were working was good," Yeo said. "I was real happy the way guys were starting to grasp things in practice and implement it in the game. You can tell it's not habit yet, but when you see them trying to apply some of the things we've been working on, I can't say I was expecting some of the guys to pick it up as quickly as they did."

Three players who stood out were left wing Guillaume Latendresse, goalie Harding and defenseman Jordan Hendry.

Latendresse played 11 games last season because of hip and abdominal problems, Harding missed the year because of torn ligaments in his left knee and Hendry is a former Chicago defenseman on a tryout after blowing out his knee in February.

Latendresse looks strong on his skates and bull-like down low and said he was pleased with how he felt during and after.

"Gui has a lot to give, man," said Cullen, Latendresse's potential linemate. "He's so skilled and talented for a body that big. You can't teach that kind of size."

Harding showed his lateral quickness with an early save on a Cal Clutterbuck one-timer.

"Just to be back competing with the boys, it's been a long time since I've done that," Harding said. "Still working out some kinks, but ... it's holding strong."

Hendry said he is 100 percent and felt he passed the first test.


• Pierre-Marc Bouchard was a no-go, but it has nothing to do with his past concussion problems. Yeo said the right wing tweaked his hamstring. His status for Sunday is uncertain.

• Goalie Niklas Backstrom practiced Saturday but didn't scrimmage because of a sore left knee. Backstrom said it's a little stiff, and the team decided to play it safe in the scrimmage.

• Minutes into the first practice, forward Jed Ortmeyer bowled over assistant coach Darryl Sydor. "What are you doing? I'm the coach," Sydor said jokingly. Quipped Yeo: "Told you we're going to be physical. We even hit the coaches."