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Bruce Boudreau wants Wild 'to ramp it up'

New coach putting learning over results in preseason debut at home

by Jessi Pierce / Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Bruce Boudreau made his Minnesota coaching debut when the Minnesota Wild lost to the Colorado Avalanche 4-1 in a preseason game at Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday.

"I didn't think we had a lot of energy in a lot of areas," Boudreau said. "These are the kind of games in the first week that the kids really outshine the veterans, and unfortunately for us tonight I thought our best line was the [Eric] Staal line.

"You learn a lot when you're a new coach with a new team. You learn a lot by watching a team and seeing new players, because when you're on the other team, we don't really focus on what these guys are doing, so it's like watching them for the first time sometimes, and that's why it's great that we have video because we can go over and we can correct a lot of things in the next 10 days."

Boudreau has gotten to know the Wild from afar; first for five seasons as coach of the Washington Capitals, then another five as coach of the Anaheim Ducks, who fired him on April 29. Now in Minnesota, Boudreau said he's excited to usher in a new style of play, adding he's excited to do it with a new team, in a new state in front of a new crowd.

"This is the fun time of your year," Boudreau said of the preseason. "It's exciting. If you love your job, it's an exciting time of year."

Boudreau is implementing a system drastically different from what the Wild used under Mike Yeo and John Torchetti, focusing on a strong offensive presence, which in many players' minds is a good change, especially after a six-game Western Conference First Round loss to the Dallas Stars. 

"[Boudreau's] got some really good ideas," right wing Jason Pominville said. "At times we did it [Tuesday] really well and at times we were a little sloppy. … I think the ideas are there, the game plan is there, and once we keep working at it, we'll keep getting better. 

"We still have a ways to go, but the good thing is we're still a ways away from when the season starts, so we'll figure it out." 

"We kind of want to be going, going, going, moving our feet all the time," said forward Ryan Carter, who played last season for the Wild but is in camp on a professional tryout contract. "I like that. Sometimes we got into defensive mode a little bit last year and making sure you're always on the [defensive]-side and making sure you're playing back a little bit instead of that one extra step (ahead)."

The Wild open the regular season Oct. 13 at the St. Louis Blues. Boudreau said he won't focus on preseason results, but on his players and how they respond and learn his system. That might even mean relearning some of the basics, "like passing." 

"It's the NHL. Sometimes you can really tell the difference in the soft passes," he said. "In practice I yelled at the guys about passing. If you can't pass, you can't make plays. You're going to get beat. We have to focus on putting the puck on the tape so guys can get it with speed. We have a lot of team speed and we want to be that. We [have to] put passes on the tape." 

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