The Wild, coming off a thrashing done to them by the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks, have decided to adjust. Mike Yeo is attempting to put a spark in a Wild team that has dominated possession, but has only scored 2.31 goals per game, "good" for 21st in the league. Yeo has decided to roll new lines in practice, with the intention (all indications are) that they will be tried in-game. The new lines are here:
Zach Parise - Charlie Coyle - Dany Heatley/Justin Fontaine
Matt Cooke - Mikael Granlund - Jason Pominville
Nino Niederreiter - Mikko Koivu - Kyle Brodziak
Dany Heatley/Justin Fontaine - Zenon Konopka - Torrey Mitchell
The biggest head-turners both have to do with Mikko Koivu. Not only was he parted from Zach Parise for the first time since Parise hit the ice with the Wild, he finds himself on the third line. Now, "third line" offers a lot of opportunity to sensationalize things, but it's not what you may think by reading that headline. As you'll read, these changes were made to balance out lines to create more scoring across the board, something that many Wild fans, including myself, have hoped to see for some time. Furthermore, Koivu's ice time does not stand to decrease by any means. He'll almost certainly still get time on the power play, and being with a capable goal-scorer in El Nino announces an intention to keep Koivu in a role where he's expected to provide offense as well as defense.
All in all, I like these lines. Charlie Coyle and Mikael Granlund, both question marks when camp started, are blossoming into legitimate options at center, enabling the Wild to have the luxury of having two scoring lines in addition to a Koivu line. Zach Parise and Charlie Coyle are the guys Yeo tabbed to try to draw as much blood from Dany Heatley's stone, but with a solid backup plan in Fontaine. The second line doesn't mess with a good thing, leaving Granlund with Cooke and Pominville, both players which Granlund has had success playing with this season. The Koivu line should provide offense in tough minutes.
What's not to like? If you like leadership, there are even K/Captains on each of the top three lines.
Also, Happy Halloween. Post pictures of your costumes, and I'll make fun of them.
On to the Walk.
Charlie Coyle expected to return Friday; Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise split; Brodin practicing | Russo's Rants | StarTribune.com- Of course, these new lines are overshadowing the second biggest news of the day- Charlie Coyle's return is a catalyst for the changes. The Wild surely missed Coyle when he was on the shelf, and he will hopefully not miss a beat, as he was poised for a breakout this season.
Also, Stephane Veillieux was waived. This is a minor move, and it's extremely doubtful that he will be claimed. Expect to see him back in Iowa in a short amount of time.
Mike Yeo explains the Wild's potential new lines and more | Russo's Rants | StarTribune.com- Mike Yeo goes in depth on the new lines.
Minnesota Wild to try Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu on separate lines - TwinCities.com- More on these line changes.
The Team of 18,001: The Evolution of Mikael Granlund- Giles reviews the film to point out examples that show how much Granlund has improved. It's pretty impressive and exciting to see him adjust so quickly.
Tending the Fields
First Round Bust: Prospect Viewing: Adam Gilmour vs. Minnesota- Nate takes a look at Wild 4th-rounder Adam Gilmour and finds him wanting.
JK, he actually likes Gilmour very much.
Off the Trail
Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov arrested on domestic violence charges | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- Sadly, the biggest news of the day. Obviously, bad news for the people involved with these charges, Varlamov, and the Avalanche as a whole.
The Hockey Writers: No, the Predators Should Not Trade Shea Weber, Stop Blogging About it- An argument that the Predators trading Shea Weber would make them go from Perd Hapley to Perd Hapless.
The Hockey Writers: Havlat's Return Will Lift the Sharks Higher- For 10 games, until his groin or whatever explodes again. I still can't believe that was a Chuck Fletcher signing, it seems so long ago.
Jokerit to KHL in 2014-15 is huge step for Russian league | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- The KHL gets their first team from a country that was never connected to Russia.
Teemu Selanne out 2 weeks after losing teeth, needing 40 stitches | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- Speaking of Jokerit, Jokerit alum Teemu Selanne gets some bad news.
Coyotes commemorate Mike Smith’s goal with awesome stop-motion video | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- The Phoenix Coyotes made some claymaysh, presumably while eating a low-calorie calzone from the Low Cal Calzone Zone.
Big dumb jerk Maple Leafs fan vows to marry girlfriend after Cup win (Photo) | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- Girlfriend's cute, too. He'd better not wait that long to jump on that.