Wild notebook: Coyle, Niederreiter impact game on bottom lines
Charlie Coyle and Nino Niederreiter had found themselves fighting for ice time and left to play limited minutes in a third- or fourth-line role for the Minnesota Wild.
The two big physical players had seen goals hard to come by and Minnesota coach Mike Yeo wanted a chance for Coyle and Niederreiter to "reset their game" by lessening their roles. Both responded with goals in Tuesday’s important 2-1 win at Edmonton.
Yeo was pleased with the response of Coyle and Niederreiter on Tuesday.
"Whether it’s taking pressure off them, whether it’s the idea for them and just the mindset of let’s get in on the forecheck, let’s play in the offensive zone, I think it was important for them to simplify things a little bit in order to start feeling confident in their game again," Yeo said after the team’s practice Wednesday in Calgary. "And, I think we’re starting to see that."
Coyle and Niederreiter could lengthen the Wild’s lineup as the team tries to get back into playoff positioning this season. Thursday’s game at Calgary will give Minnesota a chance at valuable points against the Flames, who are currently in the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Coyle (6-foot-3) and Niederreiter (6-foot-2) bring an added dimension of size to the Wild’s lineup. The two could help Minnesota have three scoring lines when they are on their game, with Mikael Granlund’s return to the lineup on Tuesday helping, perhaps, settle the top two lines.
Niederreiter snapped a 17-game goal-less stretch when he opened the scoring Tuesday with his 15th goal. Coyle had the game-winner on a nifty, individual play, skating past the goal on a breakaway and then slipping the puck past the goaltender and into the net from behind the goal.
Coyle has two goals in four games. He had two goals in the previous 38 games.
"It doesn’t matter where you’re playing," Coyle said after Tuesday’s game. "You got to just play it the best you can. How many minutes you get, it doesn’t matter, two shifts or if it’s 20 shifts. That’s our (Coyle and Niederreiter) mindset right now is just to play solid and play good defensively. I think that’s what’s going to give us success and I think it was a step forward for us tonight."
Coyle played just over 11 minutes in Tuesday’s game. Niederreiter played 11 minutes, 49 seconds.
"Ice time is irrelevant to me right now," Yeo said Wednesday. "If they play eight minutes, if they play 12 minutes, make the most of it. And that’s the idea here is I want them just feeling excited for their next shift and not assuming that it’s going to come. And as we keep doing that, you’ll see that their game will keep coming."
Coyle’s goal was featured in highlights from around the league Tuesday and Wednesday.
"Even watching the play live, it was pretty amazing where he was able to put that puck in, in relation to where his body was," Yeo said.
Parise’s teeth: Another video making the rounds has been Zach Parise bending over and picking up his tooth off the ice after being hit in the face by a puck.
Parise said he was hoping there was a chance it could be put back in.
"I thought maybe there was a chance but it doesn’t look like it’s going to go back in," Parise said after the game, speaking with stitches in his lip and blood down his chin. "That was a real one, unfortunately."
It’s the second time this season Parise has had stitches after a cut to his face.
Parise told the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Wednesday that he had a partial root canal before returning for the second period.
"They started the root canal last night, didn’t complete it," Parise texted Michael Russo of the Star Tribune. "Just took the nerve out."
Suter, Cooke miss practice: Two players were missing from Wednesday’s practice as the Wild had to dress and walk across the street to Calgary’s former stadium, the Stampede Corral.
Defensemen Ryan Suter was held out. The Star Tribune reported Suter was limping after Tuesday’s game. Yeo said he’s operating under the assumption Suter will play Thursday.
"Yeah, we think he’ll be OK for tomorrow if we gave him the day off today," Yeo said. "He had a little discomfort and hopefully a day of rest will help."
Forward Matt Cooke had a death in his family and returned home to be with his family. Yeo said Cooke is expected back for tomorrow’s game.
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