Like Lines, Power Play Gets New Mix
With a ghoulish fog settling in this Halloween morning, the Wild got in another tough, needed day of work.
As Head Coach Mike Yeo continued to treat the media with continued questions about his newly shaken up forward lines, he also had a few new tricks up his sleeves, moving things around on the power play units.
With both Charlie Coyle and Keith Ballard expected to return Friday, each spent some time working on the man-advantage. Coyle worked in on the first unit in the middle with Ryan Suter and Jason Pominville working the points as Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise worked in down low.
Ballard worked with the second unit, covering the blue line with Jared Spurgeon while Dany Heatley, Nino Niederreiter and Mikael Granlund worked in around the net. Yeo noted that he likes Ballard in on that second unit because of the opportunities he can create, opening up shooting lanes and getting his shot through to the net.
After working on those new units, the Wild did some battle drills down low where the Lighthouse could once again get a feel for the new lines. They looked similar to yesterday, where Heatley and Justin Fontaine rotated in on the top line with Coyle and Parise. Yeo has continued to keep us guessing, so we won’t know anything officially until tomorrow.
But one line that seems to be in place is Koivu’s new line as he centers Niederreiter and Kyle Brodziak. Brodziak and Niederreiter have worked together earlier in the season, but this is the first time in awhile Brodziak will move out to wing. WildTV caught up with him after practice to talk about the move, one he said he’s embracing.
Yeo did note that the whole team is embracing the changes. Certainly, it’s nice to be able to develop chemistry with an established line, but to have chemistry in multiple pairings can only be a strength. Though, the new lines don’t leave the Wild with a traditional checking line, but Yeo said he’s comfortable with any of his lines going up against any opponent.
After practice the Lighthouse did take some time off from the seriousness of covering Wild hockey and caught up with a few players about their Halloween plans. While some plan on taking their kids around the block, when talk turned to what costumes their kids would be wearing it was clear they’re just a bunch of proud dads. One player even mentioned kids in Halloween costumes may just be the cutest thing. Though, don’t expect these superstars to dress up as well, they’re just along for the ride.
Wild Reassigns Veilleux
This morning the Wild announced that forward Stephane Veilleux cleared waivers and has been reassigned to American Hockey League affiliate, the Iowa Wild.
Veilleux was called up by the Wild Oct. 9 after losing Coyle to a knee sprain in the second game of the season. In ten games with Minnesota, Veilleux brought energy to a gritty fourth line.