The Minnesota Wild’s motto has been to always look forward, focus on the next game and forget about what happened in the last outing.
However, for the Lighthouse it’s not always that easy.
It was especially difficult to supplant the Wild’s last game, a 4-3 comeback win in Boston on Tuesday, during Head Coach Mike Yeo’s media availability today. That’s because someone turned the speakers in the Wild locker room up to 11 and was blaring the Dropkick Murphys’ “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” while Yeo fielded questions from media members.
However, even with the bagpipe wails bleeding through the walls and into the media room at Xcel Energy Center, the Wild’s bench boss was focused on the task at hand: tonight’s game against the San Jose Sharks.
“We shouldn’t be thinking that we had a big comeback, or that we blew a lead,” Yeo said. “Those are completely irrelevant to us right now.
“The only one that matters is this one.”
One player who will have to tune-out his last performance will be goaltender Darcy Kuemper. The netminder started the season hotter than Pete Townshend’s amp after a four-hour Who concert, but hit a wrong note in the third period against the New York Rangers on Monday. The netminder allowed five third-period goals against the Blue Shirts, as the Rangers erased a three-goal deficit for the win.
That’s one thing that Yeo has cautioned with a young netminder: not to get too high when things are good, but don’t get too low after a bad performance. The coach like’s Kuemper’s mental makeup and believes he will be ready to bounce back tonight against the Sharks.
“He’s a good athlete and he’s a young goaltender that’s learning that there’s a lot more than just strapping on the pads and feeling like you’re ready to play,” Yeo said. “I think he’s done a good job with that and this will be another opportunity for him to prove it.”
Forward Matt Cooke didn’t participate in the team’s morning skate and will not play against the Sharks. Yeo said that he’s been ailing from a lower-body injury and needs to give the injury time to recover.
On the Mend
Defenseman Christian Folin returned to practice today after missing the past four games with an illness. The blueliner is symptom free for a few days, but won’t play tonight against San Jose. Yeo wants the defender to have a few practices under his belt before seeing game action.
Things didn’t look good for Erik Haula after taking an illegal hit from New York’s John Moore on Monday. Haula left the game and didn’t return, and Moore was handed a five-game suspension for targeting the head. Good new is that Haula didn’t show any signs of a concussion and was on the ice for the team’s morning skate. He will miss tonight’s game, but Yeo said that there was a chance we’d see Haula return on Saturday as the Wild hosts the Dallas Stars.
Yeo said that there’s a chance that defenseman Jonas Brodin will return on Saturday, as well. Brodin skated before the practice but didn’t participate in any drills.
With the injuries, the Wild recalled forward Stephane Veilleux from the Iowa Wild, Minnesota’s American Hockey League affiliate. He’s expected to be in the lineup tonight on the fourth line.
The Wild reassigned defenseman Stu Bickel to Iowa.