CHICAGO – Wild coach Mike Yeo and No. 1 defenseman Ryan Suter met Tuesday morning to clear the air after Suter’s outspoken comments Monday.
Suter, miffed because he thought he wouldn’t play with a right-shot defenseman — namely Jared Spurgeon — Tuesday against the Blackhawks, voiced his frustration about the blue-line tinkering and Yeo’s decision to scream at the slumping team before practice.
“We’re obviously on the same page,” Suter said. “It’s a story that shouldn’t even be a story. I think the heat of the practice, I was just saying stuff I probably shouldn’t have said. But at the end of the day, it’s about winning and it’s about what’s going to be best for our team.”
Yeo said Suter’s comments didn’t bother him, although “there was a time maybe it would have.” He admitted he was trying to “rattle the cage” of players, and it obviously worked with Suter.
“I did exactly what the coach wanted, right?” Suter joked.
Yeo explained to Suter his rationale for reuniting the left-shot Suter with the left-shot Jonas Brodin and putting Marco Scandella, who returned from a lower-body injury against Chicago on Tuesday night, with longtime partner Spurgeon.
But Tuesday morning, Yeo indicated Suter would see shifts with Spurgeon, and they did play plenty together in a 2-1 victory which Suter scored the winning goal.
“We didn’t talk before practice [Monday] obviously. Might have been a good idea,” Yeo said, laughing. “I learned a long time ago coaching [Suter] … he’s a guy that when you ask him to do something, he might tell you his opinions, but nobody will go out there and do it better than him.”
After the game when asked about playing much with Spurgeon, Suter joked, “No comment. … They mixed us up. I understand what they were trying to do, and it worked out.”
The Wild wanted to get Scandella more ice time, loved the way Brodin played Saturday against Dallas and hasn’t been happy with the play of Matt Dumba. Yeo challenged Dumba “pretty hard” after a poor game Friday against Winnipeg.
Suter still meant what he said Monday: “It’s easier to play with a righty. That’s all I was saying. Lefty, righty, it’s easier to come out of your end, it’s easier to make more plays. If this works, and we get winning again, might as well keep it. Hopefully it works and this is all behind us.”
After Jason Pominville scored his first goal this season in 22 games Saturday, linemate Zach Parise tried to make light of it by asking Pominville if he should get the puck as a memento.
“It was nice to see a lot of guys happy for me,” the popular Pominville said before adding a second goal in as many games Tuesday. “It hasn’t been going my way. I’m not going to throw the towel in. I’m going to keep working and keep pushing and trying to be better.’’
Parise felt terrible for Pominville. “You have to lift him up. You could see the stress and the pressure, and you felt for him,” Parise said.
• Ryan Carter returned after missing one game because of an injury.