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Please don’t call the Wild “passive”

Dec 8, 2011, 3:11 PM EDT

Mike Yeo AP

The numbers don’t lie. Minnesota is one of the best defensive teams in the NHL. Just don’t call the Wild passive. New coach Mike Yeo hates it when people make that assumption.

“Just the word passive really irks me,” Yeo told ESPN. “There’s nothing passive about the way we play. I don’t think teams that are playing against us are going to be under the impression that we’re a passive team. We always have somebody pressuring the puck. We like to do it where we have good structure and we’re protecting certain areas and we’re taking away certain options.”

Minnesota forward Kyle Brodziak concurs, telling Puck Daddy that the team doesn’t get enough credit for playing aggressive hockey. The Wild doesn’t trap, he maintains. That’s just its unshakable reputation.

“It’s a different style than what Jacques Lemaire would be coaching,” said Brodziak. “Mike preaches being aggressive on the forecheck. You look at other teams that are playing more defensively, and I don’t think they’re as aggressive. We’re playing our best when the first guy’s going after the puck as hard as he can. We want to put pressure on teams.”

After 28 games, the Wild is 18-7-3 and first overall in the NHL. Only two teams – Boston (2.04) and St. Louis (2.11) – are surrendering fewer goals per game than Minnesota (2.14).

On the other hand, only five teams are scoring fewer goals per game than the Wild (2.39). Thus, all the tightly-fought contests, like Tuesday’s 2-1 win in San Jose.

In fact, Minnesota hasn’t won by more than two goals since Nov. 8, a 3-0 victory over Calgary. And it’s won 10 times since then.

Sustainable? Let’s hear it in the comments section.

  1. gbiscottagecheesefatties - Dec 8, 2011 at 4:15 PM

    well with Setoguchi, Clutterbuck, Latrendresse, Backstrom, Harding, and a few others out of the line up, it’s gotta end eventually but the WHOLE team has bought into the system. Anything can happen when you take it one game at a time……. Go wild!

    • gbiscottagecheesefatties - Dec 8, 2011 at 4:50 PM

      and to point out the main section of the article, this team doesn’t play the trap like they used to, they play it just as much as everyone else does… They have a very aggressive forecheck but we still lack top end scoring players. Untill then (next year, Parise? Granlund? others???), we will get out shot 4/5 games but they are low chance scoring zones and we will push the puck forward to create 4 on 3’s.

  2. rarebarbarians - Dec 8, 2011 at 4:18 PM

    If you look at the Wild when they play 5 v 5 hockey they are in the Top 12 in scoring. As long as the Wild stay out of the penalty box they will beat your team down all game long and finish you off in the 2nd and 3rd period, just like they have been doing all season long so far. It’s a team sport and the team has bought into Yeo’s system.

  3. lpramsden - Dec 8, 2011 at 4:22 PM

    I had to laugh the other day when I saw Cliff Fletcher lauded as a leader for Executive of the Year. Sure, he brought in Heater and Setoguchi, but both have been bad – they certainly aren’t contributing to any increase in goals for.

    Mike Yeo, on the other hand, deserves consideration for Coach of the Year, to this point. That said – I’m pretty sure this mirage will soon end. The Wild have little offensive talent to speak of, and in the current-day NHL, you have to be able to score. Time will, as it always does, tell.

    • gbiscottagecheesefatties - Dec 8, 2011 at 4:52 PM

      who is Cliff Fletcher??? LOL

      • gbiscottagecheesefatties - Dec 8, 2011 at 5:36 PM

        Chuck Fletcher should be considered for ex. of the year by all means and Yeo for coach… In your eyes Seto and Heatley arn’t working out but we are winning, you have to assume to some degree they’re doing their part. The loss of Burns is minimal to zero and the gain of other assets from that trade will prove in time to be a GREAT trade for the Wild… Fletcher hired Yeo were as most GM’s wouldn’t dare hire another non experienced coach back to back after the first one failed in Richards….. Like you said, time will tell and the season is very young at this point where this conversation really doesn’t matter at all. The standings come April won’t look like they are now, things change as the year goes on. I hope the Wild can keep up the pace and stay on top on the NW. It’s a great time to be a Wild fan.

  4. sknut - Dec 8, 2011 at 4:22 PM

    It is sustainable because they have bought in and are getting contributions from everyone. Will they play this well for the whole year, hard to say but when you buy in and that’s how you play it gives you a great chance every night.

    They are fun to watch and never out of a game. In Yeo we Trust!!

  5. grbull - Dec 8, 2011 at 5:30 PM

    The little offensive threat you speak of above is actually more of a well balanced attack with three scoring lines…..dick

  6. grbull - Dec 9, 2011 at 12:24 AM

    The challenged offense is looking about exactly as I described so far tonight….balanced and delightful

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