This just in: hockey is an intense sport. Things said and done in the heat of the moment are typically saved for those on the inside—the players and coaching staff—during a sixty-minute game or in the locker room between periods or following the contest.
Occasionally, that passion and intensity spills into practice.
That was the case at Xcel Energy Center today where Head Coach Mike Yeo wasn’t satisfied with the team’s effort in practice, following a 4-3 overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks.
“We weren’t good enough,” Yeo said about the team’s execution today. “We’re not in a position where we can be—let alone a decent practice—bad practice.”
After stopping practice and delivering the message to pick things up, Yeo left the ice to break down film. The team stayed on the ice and continued with the assistant coaches finishing drills.
“I think I made my point at that time and so that was enough,” Yeo said. “We played a good game for the most part; we lost the game. We came to the rink today, well, what are we going to have a practice like that?
“That’s not good enough.”
The frustration from two consecutive losses mounted and spilled into today’s practice. When the club didn’t come out ready from the start, Yeo had seen enough.
“I think he’s been pretty good with us, staying upbeat, but again I think we played well last night but it’s not good enough when you lose hockey games. I think that was his message,” forward Thomas Vanek said. “He didn’t like how some of us practiced and came out.”
Following the team’s lopsided loss in Dallas on Saturday, the team responded with a better effort last night, but still didn’t see the results.
“He’s frustrated just as many guys in here,” Vanek said. “I think we’ll be okay. I think it was maybe needed. We had a terrible game in Dallas; I thought we responded pretty well. We’ll respond again tomorrow and play hard.”
Losing puts every play, every decision and every bounce under a microscope. That’s what the Wild is dealing with now.
“I think after a loss, it doesn’t matter how good you play,” Vanek said. “We need points and right now we only got one and we needed two last night. There’s one part about being loose and still have a good time coming to the rink, but once we’re out there we’ve got to be better — so I think that was the message.”
The Wild knows it can be better. It has responded to adversity in the last two seasons. This is another opportunity for the team to show it resiliency. This could be the shot to the system it needs to turn things around.
“Hopefully, you hate to think that it takes something like that to wake us up, but maybe that’s what’s needed,” forward Kyle Brodziak said. “We just got to make sure we come ready to do what we need to do tomorrow.”
In difficult times, you can either pull up your bootstraps and go to work or pack it in. Make no mistake about it the Wild is set to do the former. The challenge begins tomorrow, as Minnesota host the Central Division leading, Chicago Blackhawks.
“We’re at a difficult spot and we’ve got a tough road ahead of ourselves,” Yeo said. “We might have guys out of the lineup, that’s fine, but the one thing you can always control is your work ethic and your attitude and everything else follows suit after that.”
One thing is for certain: Minnesota will need to get through its stretch of rough play as a team.
“We can hang our heads, we can feel sorry for ourselves, we can point fingers, we can do whatever we want, but those types of things are not the types of things that winners do and those types of things do not help you get out of something like this,” Yeo said.
Kuemper, Koivu Leave Ice
Mikko Koivu and Darcy Kuemper both left the ice during the practice. Koivu returned, while Kuemper did not finish the session. Yeo said that Kuemper’s reason for leaving was “something minor.”
Scandella Unavailable Against Chicago
Marco Scandella left yesterday’s game with an upper-body injury. Yeo didn’t have an update, but said he will not be available tomorrow night against the Hawks.
Set The Radio Dial
Tonight on KFAN 100.3 FM, forward Ryan Carter will be the guest on Wild Weekly.