With the Wild’s top line out of tomorrow night’s contest against the Columbus Blue Jackets (check out the Lighthouse’s lineup post from earlier today
), the club’s focus at today’s training camp practice, presented by Andersen Windows, was on the power play and special teams.
After going through a series of flow drills to start the day, the team moved on its power play. After running through a few sets without any defenders, the ice was resurfaced and Minnesota split into a Green vs. White power play scrimmage.
Although it was the first day working on the man advantage, the top unit of Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise, Dany Heatley, Jason Pominville and Ryan Suter were moving the puck well. After practice, Suter, Koivu and Parise talked to WildTV about how they are trying to implement more movement this season.
For the most part, Heatley was stationed in his familiar spot in front of the net, while Koivu and Parise were on the sideboards. Suter quarterbacked the point and Pominville was his D-partner, giving him the option to fire one-timers from the left side.
After the skate, Yeo said that he wants Pominville to have a “shooters mentality” from the point. The forward also brings the ability to slide down and look for one-timers on the off side, something he did a few times during the scrimmage to great success. With Pominville taking the attention of the right forward/defenseman from the opponent’s penalty kill; Parise, Koivu and Heatley should have a little more room to make plays.
The ‘second unit’ was comprised of youngsters, with Jared Spurgeon the grizzled veteran of the group. Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle, Jason Zucker and Nino Niederreiter were the forwards swapping spots. On the blue line, Marco Scandella, Mathew Dumba and Jonas Brodin joined Spurgeon in the rotation. While Yeo wants to see what the youngsters can do on the man advantage, he has the option of giving different, grittier looks with veterans like Matt Cooke and Kyle Brodziak waiting in the wings.
Yeo talked briefly about tomorrow’s contest against Columbus and essentially said that he wants to get good looks at a few players in real game situations. Watch Yeo's full media availability on WildTV. In an interesting scheduling twist, the Blue Jackets will also host the Buffalo Sabres, so the team will be split between two cities. It looks like the Jackets will use tomorrow’s game to look at some of its prospects, as the veterans of note include James Wisniewski, Cam Atkinson and Mark Letestu.
Listen or Follow @mnwildLIVE
Every Wild preseason game will be on FM 100.3, The Fan, and the audio will be streamed on Wild.com.
If you can’t listen to the game, I’ll be live tweeting the game at @mnwildLIVE. Wild.com will also provide a game recap, postgame interviews and highlights.
Becoming Wild Returns Tonight
Tonight marks the premier of the third season of Becoming Wild, presented by Toyota. Tonight will feature “Yeo Island” as the cameras follow Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo to his home in Northern Ontario. The episode will air on FOX Sports North after the Minnesota Twins game, and will be on Wild.com after the show. Visit the Becoming Wild page to catch up on the series.