Nov 11, 2013, 3:52 PM EST
Before we get to the crux of the post, let’s go back in time a bit.
Zidlicky, an offensive type, had been a healthy scratch for three straight games under Mike Yeo, and the veteran blue-liner wasn’t happy about it.
“I can’t change my style,” said Zidlicky. “That’s what I know. That’s for sure. He wants to play easy hockey. I tried everything what he wants, but apparently it doesn’t work.”
Zidlicky was soon traded to New Jersey, where his “involved” play helped the Devils make it all the way to Stanley Cup Final.
“We would all love a game where you can skate it in, curl up and make a play every time,” he said. “That’s not the way the game is played. When we do have the opportunity to skate it in, we all have the green light to do it, but not at the risk of having a D gap up in your face, trying to make a cute play at the blue line, turning it over and having them come right back down on us.”
We didn’t speculate why that may be (the post was mostly about the Leafs and their ongoing puck-possession challenges), but per the CBC’s Elliotte Friedman, it turns out Yeo has come around to Zidlicky’s way of thinking.
“We weren’t going to take the next step, become a serious contender, unless we changed the way we played offensively,” Yeo said Sunday. “I have bit my lip a couple of times on the bench … but we’re going to live with the risk to get more reward.”
It may seem obvious that successfully carrying the puck into the attacking zone is preferable to dumping and chasing. Mike Babcock, for one, has been stressing the importance of possessing the puck for years; fortunately for the Red Wings, they’ve had the players to carry out his wishes.
Other coaches, however, have less tolerance for things like turnovers at the blue line, which is the major risk a team takes when it tries to carry the puck in.
Yeo, clearly, is trying to become more tolerant. And based on the Wild’s 10-4-4 record, that tolerance is paying off.
Not that the Wild are some sort of offensive juggernaut now — Minnesota ranks 18th in goals per game (2.61) — but that’s a slight improvement on last season (2.46) and a major improvement on 2011-12 when the team finished dead last in the NHL, averaging just 2.02 goals per game.
Nov 26, 2014, 11:42 AM EST
Out “a couple of weeks” with a lower-body injury.
Nov 26, 2014, 11:28 AM EST
Arizona forward forced the Avs d-man from the game.
Nov 26, 2014, 11:10 AM EST
Dallas forward does have a history with the NHL’s player safety department.
Nov 26, 2014, 10:58 AM EST
To cheer, or boo? That’s the query.
Nov 26, 2014, 10:50 AM EST
Two teams headed down different paths?
Nov 26, 2014, 10:03 AM EST
He missed the last three games with an upper-body injury.
Nov 26, 2014, 9:16 AM EST
It’s a question that could decide a playoff spot or two.
Nov 26, 2014, 8:51 AM EST
Tough start to the season for the veteran defenseman.
Nov 26, 2014, 8:12 AM EST
Wednesday’s roundup of links.
Nov 26, 2014, 2:00 AM EST
Colorado has now won four of five.
Nov 26, 2014, 12:45 AM EST
Jackets and Oilers talking trade.
Nov 26, 2014, 12:05 AM EST
The Avs’ defenseman left the game and did not return.
Nov 25, 2014, 11:25 PM EST
The Oilers’ forward has had his share of knee injuries.
Nov 25, 2014, 10:29 PM EST
Spent time in Vancouver as a player and a coach.
Nov 25, 2014, 9:54 PM EST
Will not return due to a lower body injury.
Nov 25, 2014, 9:18 PM EST
Extends point streak to five games.
Nov 25, 2014, 9:11 PM EST
Remains in the game.
Nov 25, 2014, 8:45 PM EST
After 18 seasons, he’s done.
Nov 25, 2014, 8:00 PM EST
The 19-year-old rookie will be sticking in the NHL this season.
Nov 25, 2014, 7:45 PM EST
Chris Thorburn dropped the gloves with the Jackets tough guy.
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