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Yeo to Wild: Leave your comfort zones

Mike Yeo

Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo talks to Jason Zucker (16) in the first period of an NHL preseason hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)


The Minnesota Wild have lost their last two games by a combined score of 7-1, including Thursday’s frustrating defeat to Ottawa (falling 3-0 despite more than doubling the Senators’ shots).

Ryan Suter and Mike Yeo almost seem to provide dovetailing views on how the Wild can turn things around beginning with tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.

Suter told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that “If you’re a checker, be a checker and be good at it” and so on. Yeo provided a rather different take, almost asking for players to stretch beyond their normal roles considering injuries to Zach Parise and Jared Spurgeon.

“No one likes to block shots, but if things aren’t going well, you might have to get in front of one and do things that you maybe aren’t used to doing,” Yeo said. “Zach’s a tough player to replace. Spurge is tough on the back end. He was coming into his own this year, so it’s tough. Lot of pressure on other guys. They just need to bear down and we all need to pick up a little extra.”

While those messages seem to split off a bit if you take them at face value, the general tone is that everyone needs to play a little better.

It’s understandable that Yeo wants to see improvement - there’s always room for that, after all - but Minnesota should be happy with its overall work. The Wild currently rank as the best puck possession team in the NHL, and if they can keep that up over the long haul, they should be able to “make their own bounces” and other coach-speak.

Follow James O’Brien @cyclelikesedins