WEDNESDAY’S STORY LINE: There was a new look and new face at the Wild’s practice.
It appears rookie Charlie Coyle could start on the top line with Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu. The 20-year-old skated with Parise and Koivu in practice, and Dany Heatley — who has zero points in the last three games — was moved to the second line with Matt Cullen and Pierre-Marc Bouchard.
Coach Mike Yeo said there is no guarantee Coyle will play with Koivu and Parise Thursday but that he wanted to see how they looked in practice. His impressions were mixed.
“I thought there were times it looked good,” Yeo said. “Times where Charlie looked nervous. This is understandable playing with two guys like that.”
Coyle said it was nice to skate with Koivu and Parise, but it is important for him to stick to his game no matter whom he plays with.
“Any position they put me, whatever role they put me in, I am going to play to the best of my ability and just do that,” Coyle said. “I am just going to keep playing my game. I don’t think they want me to change anything up.”The 6-foot-2, 205-pound forward skated for 12 minutes, 44 seconds and had two shots in his NHL debut Monday against Phoenix. Parise has been impressed with what he has seen of Coyle.
“He is a big guy, and he shoots the puck well and protects the puck really well,”Parise said. “I thought he had a really good game in Phoenix the other night. He likes to play the puck down low, which I think will compliment Mikko and I really well.”
The new face was Mike Rupp, who was acquired Monday in exchange for Darroll Powe and Nick Palmieri. He skated with the team for the first time, and Yeo said Rupp will make his Wild debut Thursday against Vancouver. Yeo, who spent several seasons as an assistant coach with Pittsburgh, had Rupp on his team in 2009-10. Yeo is familiar with the 6-foot-5, 243-pound forward’s game.
“He is obviously a physical presence,” Yeo said. “He is a guy for as big as he is who moves well. He has speed to get in on the forecheck and speed to get there and play the physical game. But he also has got some hands and the ability to get some shots off and play in the offensive zone.”
Yeo joked that Rupp had already met one expectation: “He is big. He didn’t shrink at all.”
Rupp said he talked with Yeo on Wednesday about his role and noted he is not coming here to be someone he is not.
“I know what I bring to the table,” Rupp said. “Play big and to play with energy, so that is the plan.”
Rupp skated on the fourth line in practice with Torrey Mitchell and Zenon Konopka. Yeo said his lineup hasn’t been 100 percent decided for Thursday, but it appears that is where Rupp will start the game.
HE SAID IT: “Sometimes we are throwing pucks away in the offensive zone when we don’t need to. We have to get point shots through and get rebounds. Not too often do you beat goalies clean in this league. We have been turning the puck over too much. We are not breaking out clean. There is probably about 10 things that have to happen before a goal is scored, and we are not doing those well enough, and that is the reason we are not scoring right now.” – Parise on Minnesota’s lack of scoring