With so many new faces and so little time to prepare for the NHL's lockout-truncated season, the Wild knew they could be at a disadvantage early as players got comfortable.
But the reality of the NHL's 48-game schedule is that while the Wild want to keep from panicking, they don't have the luxury of time -- which is why a day before starting a crucial nine-game stretch, it certainly appeared they were headed for a shakeup.
Coach Mike Yeo moved Dany Heatley off the top line for the Wild's practice on Wednesday, Feb. 6, putting rookie forward Charlie Coyle with Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise. Yeo also had Mikael Granlund and Devin Setoguchi alternating on the third line, which could mean one of the struggling forwards will sit out Thursday, Feb. 7, against the Vancouver Canucks.
Though Yeo said the changes were just for practice, it's hard to see the Wild not using some of them against Vancouver.
They certainly have reason to explore a new look after scoring just two goals combined in a pair of West Coast losses. Those defeats, against Anaheim and Phoenix, dropped the Wild to 4-4-1 as they prepare for seven Northwest Division matchups in their next nine games. They'll hit the quarter pole of the shortened season Monday, so moves that normally would be forestalled in a full season are happening now.
Rookie Charlie Coyle replaces Dany Heatley on top line for a day
St. Paul Pioneer Press | Feb 7