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Torchetti Ready For Minnesota Debut On Big Stage

by Evan Sporer / Minnesota Wild

A week can make all the difference amid the chaos that is an NHL season. Minnesota Wild interim Head Coach John Torchetti has seen that firsthand.

Seven days ago, Torchetti was coaching the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League in Des Moines at Wells Fargo Arena. At the conclusion of the game, he was promoted to his interim position in Minnesota.

Then came a three-game road trip to Western Canada that the Wild swept, ending an eight-game losing streak that preceded it.

Now Torchetti and the Wild is back in Minnesota for his home debut, but not at Xcel Energy Center. Instead, Torchetti will man the Wild's bench in front of 50,000-plus fans at TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday against the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series.

"It happens every day, doesn't it?" Torchetti said, a smirk on his face. "It's really exciting, it's something that I'm looking forward to for the State of Hockey, and Minnesota, and it's an exciting time."

Over the past week, Torchetti has kept his focus short-term, as he instructed his players to do, with the Wild in the midst of an important road trip.

But on Sunday, Torchetti will be the first coach in NHL history to make his home debut in an outdoor game, and will do so against a Blackhawks team he served on as an assistant from 2007 to 2010, winning a Stanley Cup and taking part in the 2009 Winter Classic.

"I did some great things with the organization, some great people," Torchetti said. "I get some great texts from Joel and John McDonough, it's nice to see, wishing me good luck, except for when we play them."

What Torchetti has done in his seven days in Minnesota is infuse energy into a Wild roster with his personality.

"Every coach is a little bit different in the way they approach things," Jason Zucker said. "Nobody is going to be the same. [Torchetti] is a little bit more vocal and animated, I'll say. (Mike) Yeo was a lot more controlled in the way he went about things. Everybody has their way of doing things, and there's no right or wrong, or good or bad with that."

In that sense, the past week has also been quite different for the Wild, with Torchetti

“It feels like [a new team]," Charlie Coyle said. "You win one game, get out of that slump and you feel good. One of those feelings like a breath of fresh air, [a feeling] like, ‘We got it, let’s keep going, let’s keep building.’

"It’s nice, having [Torchetti] make the jump with us and to be here. He’s a great coach, and he should be coaching in this league. He’s very detailed in how he does stuff, and he’s a good guy to learn from.”

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