There has been a lot of buzz for the past week (and forever) about what Wild fans think should be the forward lines for their favorite teams. Following the Duck fiasco, Coach Mike Yeo hinted that there might be some changes coming. Then yesterday, reporter extraordinaire Mike Russo reported that Coach Yeo had told him that Yeo and his staff had spent considerable time ‘going up and down the lineup’ considering changes; and Russo surmised that those changes could include the top line. Final piece of the puzzle [with respect to Monday’s game] came later yesterday when young power forward Charlie Coyle was called up from Houston to fill in for a hurting Matt Cullen.
(Side note on Mike Russo and Charlie Coyle here. It is nearly universally acknowledged in the Wild Kingdom, and all through the NHL universe for that matter, how good Mike Russo is at what he does. It is also rather apparent that he has pretty good access to Wild brass, much of which he doesn’t directly report on – rather giving us what I am going to call ‘informed opinions’ on situations with the Wild. It is further apparent that Russo is quite careful about what he says in those opinions. He’s not one to go spouting off willy-nilly about things Wild. With that in mind, it really should not have come as that big of shock to anyone who has been paying attention to Russo that Coyle was the first call-up. Since the lockout ended, Russo has consistently included all three rookies – Zucker, Larsson, and Coyle – together when discussing forwards who might be called up when the time/need arises. And he has consistently said that who would get the call would depend on the role that the Wild was looking to fill. In this case, it appears that the role they were looking for was a big body to cause some havoc in front of the net, tie up a defenseman or two with that, and provide some screens and space for some of the ‘skill’ players. Alas, Coyle is the call-up.)
Also over the past week, Bryan and Emily has had us playing the game ‘If you were GM’ – what would we do if we were in Chuck Fletcher’s suit (or suite, if you will – besides just putting your feet on the desk and splitting your time between gazing out the window and reading HW to see what you should be doing.) In addition, most of the new line ‘talk’ has been from the perspective of what the writer would do if they were the coach. I am going to turn that around. Mike Yeo is the coach. It is his decision to make. Charlie Coyle is in Phoenix with the Wild – you are in no position to undue that (tough as that may be to swallow). The question is: what is Mike Yeo going to do? Or, to rephrase: what are the Wild’s lines going to look like tomorrow night? Have at it Wilderness… (quickly, as we will probably know by noon Central Time what Yeo is going to do.)