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Minnesota’s anemic offense needs ‘attack mentality,’ says Yeo

Oct 22, 2013, 2:44 PM EDT

mikeyeogetty Getty Images

One of the Wild’s main areas of concern last year was a lack of scoring — the team only averaged 2.46 goals per game, 22nd in the league.

This year, the lack of offensive production (2.11 goals per game) is an issue once again.

That’s why head coach Mike Yeo is stressing a need for creativity and aggression heading into tonight’s affair with Nashville, hoping the Wild can bust out of a slump that’s seen them score just five goals over the last four games.

“We’ve got to create more chances. We have to have an attack mentality,” Yeo told Fox Sports Minnesota. “When there’s an opportunity to finish, we’ve got to finish.”

Getting pucks on goal hasn’t been a problem thus far. Minnesota is averaging 30 per game.

The power play isn’t an issue, either. The Wild are going at a 26.3 percent clip, fourth-best in the NHL.

But it’s at even strength where the team suffers. Minnesota only has nine 5-on-5 goals this year — third-fewest in the league — are is the only team in the league with more power-play goals than even strength ones.

According to Zach Parise, the solution to these goalscoring woes is simple — less perimeter play, more guys crashing the goal.

“Right now, we’ve just got our guy in the high slot waiting for a one-timer, and our other guys on the outside,” he told the Minnesota Star-Tribune. “That’s not how you score. We need to get some guys going through the middle and getting around the net, penetrating the defense a little bit.’’

  1. 950003cups - Oct 22, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    “According to Zach Parise, the solution to these goalscoring woes is simple — less perimeter play, more guys crashing the goal.”

    Coach Parise?

  2. polegojim - Oct 22, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    It’s not as easy as just spending 200 million, is it???

    My comment to Parise… You don’t always ‘set up’ the offense and there are already PLENTY of opportunities to crash the goal… so GET IT DONE!!!

    This team has FAR too many offensive weapons to have this issue… I agree with Yeo… it all starts with mental toughness… and then the heart to carry it out. Soft finesse players struggle with this – they want clear shooting lanes and breakaways… or they pass the puck. Welcome to the 2013-14 Wild.

  3. allday420ap - Oct 22, 2013 at 3:40 PM

    they need to finish better, and a little puck luck couldnt hurt.

  4. kingcobraman - Oct 22, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    live up to the name and go wild or do they just figure skate in minny…

  5. hockeynutz62 - Oct 22, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    Lack of talent was always Minnesota’s excuse for inferior play. That’s certainly not the case anymore. I’m not a big fan of Mikko Koivu.. not for 7 million dollars a year. He’s good in the faceoff circle and he’s motovational in the room, but that doesn’t justify his salary. Heatly is no bargsin either.

    • lordfletcher - Oct 22, 2013 at 7:04 PM

      Koivu’s contract sucks now but was needed a couple years ago before there was, well…anyone on this team. After Gabby, Fletcher was forced to pay Koivu. If Koivu left, this club would have no depth at all at center, which just so happens to be a very important position.

      I agree about the lack of talent in the past but this team is young and old currently.

      Clearly, they as a whole need to start scoring and everyone needs to hold their own.

      Go Wild!

    • drhockeysm7 - Oct 23, 2013 at 7:41 AM

      I encourage you to spend an entire game watching Mikko Koivu and then let’s talk… I agree 7 mil could be a little too high, maybe more like 5.5-6.25mil a year.

      But this guy is one of the most underrated players in the league. He does so much more than put up points (if he stays healthy, he will have 70-80 this year). That number could go up if this team gets hot and pucks start falling in the net, they have had terrible puck luck all year and are consistently outplaying teams.

      All you Mikko critics need to FIO!!!

  6. joey4id - Oct 22, 2013 at 4:22 PM

    Yes! I like the fact that Yeo comes out publicly without throwing his players under the bus. And! If he actually warned his Cap & As so they buy in and support him in the dressing room, then that should help fuel the players.

  7. rebekah319 - Oct 22, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    They only thing this team actually needs to do right now is FINISH WHAT THEY START… I would glue someone close to the net if I had the power… so I hope to see that tonight! Have to start some where. Also it would be nice if people gave Mikko Koivu more credit for what he does than just bash how much the guy makes… its not fair and its becoming a very old story!!!

  8. nj666 - Oct 22, 2013 at 5:02 PM

    How do you wild fans feel about travis zajac for a 1st round pick?

    • lordfletcher - Oct 22, 2013 at 7:06 PM


      would rather stick with Coyle once healthy and roll the dice.

      Wild aren’t winning the cup this year, but we are hoping for a strong playoff run (would be fun to watch,it’s been since 03)

  9. 19to77 - Oct 22, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    A little rich, coming from Parise. It’s not like crashing the net is a big part of his game. He makes it sound like it’s someone else’s job.

    • wayoffpiste - Oct 22, 2013 at 5:38 PM

      are you serious? do you watch Parise play? He spends a LOT of time in front of the net…he just also happens to have the speed/quickness to follow up around the net too.

  10. hockeynutz62 - Oct 22, 2013 at 9:03 PM

    Give Koivu credit for what he does?
    What exactly does he do?

    • drhockeysm7 - Oct 23, 2013 at 7:46 AM

      He is unreal in every zone on the ice, watch him play… Plays in every situation all game long… Excellent in the face-off circle. Is basically a third defensemen and supports the play coming out of the D-zone (A huge reason the Wild are giving up fewest shots in NHL, other teams are not spending much time in their zone).

      Not to mention he is close to a point a game guy and it will only increase playing with a much better first line and power play unit.

      Give this team time, and shut up about Mikko Koivu!!!

      • guitarhunterdude - Oct 23, 2013 at 9:01 AM

        “Unreal” is a bit much. But as far as I’m concerned, he’s a top-5 defensive center in the league, without being a real offensive liability. He’s never been anywhere near as good as his brother in the offensive zone (and will continue to be compared to him for life), but, as you said, he’s a puck possession monster, great defender, and good in the faceoff circle. He makes me think of Anze Kopitar, minus about half of the offensive ability. Maybe some similarity to David Backes, though not as physical, and probably a little better offensively.

        As for the “he’ll improve with better linemates” mantra, I think that ship has sailed. He’s a 65-75 point guy, and he’ll get that regardless of who he has on his line. Dependable, but not a supreme offensive threat. A little overpaid, but he was basically the only talented player the Wild had at the time he signed his contract.

      • drhockeysm7 - Oct 23, 2013 at 11:46 AM

        Guitarhunter – I can respect those comments. I am a bit biased, and I will admit, I am a huge Koivu supporter. I think the things he brings to this team are irreplaceable.

        I also disagree with your “That ship has sailed” comment. He has literally played with nobody for 6 or 7 years. You can’t tell me he and Zack and whoever else have reached maximum potential in the approximately 50 games they have played together thus far.

        Also, if you want to get specific, Mikko trails Saku by about 20 points in their first 500 NHL games, so it’s not like Saku is Sydney Crosby while Mikko is Hal Gill.

        Career wise:
        Mikko – .742 points per game
        Saku – .755 ppg
        Both have approximately a 2.3:1 assist to goal ratio as well

  11. earpaniac - Oct 22, 2013 at 9:08 PM

    Koivu’s contract while high compared to the rest of the league, I get it for the Wild. Especially at the time it was given. They ask him to do a heck of a lot as well

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