MIke Yeo

Wild coach Yeo: ‘This was another important step for us’


The Minnesota Wild entered this season amid elevated expectations after signing forward Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter to matching 13-year-old, $98,000,000 contracts over the summer.

This is also a team that failed to make the playoffs in their previous four campaigns and finished 12th in the Western Conference in 2011-12. The additions of Suter and Parise were huge, but it’s not like they were joining a team on the cusp of greatness.

This is still a growing club and with that in mind, Wild coach Mike Yeo can see the silver lining even after being eliminated in five games by the Chicago Blackhawks.

“This was another important step for us, and even feeling this feeling that we feel right now,” Yeo said, according to the Star Tribune’s Michael Russo. “This is going to help us.”

Minnesota has some decisions to make over the summer. They already have $55,812,201 committed to 17 players, according to Cap Geek, so they’re not in a great position to make another big splash.

All the same, 35-year-old netminder Niklas Backstrom is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent, so the Wild need to address that situation. Otherwise they’ll enter the 2013-14 campaign with a tandem of 23-year-old Darcy Kuemper and Josh Harding.

The Wild also have several young players that might take a step forward in 2013-14, but perhaps the most notable is 21-year-old forward Mikael Granlund. The expectations surrounding him were high going into this season, but he wasn’t able to make a seamless transition to the NHL. Perhaps next season, he’ll be a difference-maker for this club.

Goalie nods: Greiss gets start over injured Halak

Thomas Greiss
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Thomas Greiss will be between the pipes for the New York Islanders when they host the Blackhawks tonight in Brooklyn.

Greiss was signed this offseason to back up Jaroslav Halak, who skated this morning but remains day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

“Jaro’s not 100 percent right now, so it was an easy decision,” coach Jack Capuano told Newsday. “Jaro’s progressing well and we’ll see how he is moving forward.”

Greiss will be backed up by J-F Berube, who was claimed off waivers from Los Angeles earlier in the week.

Corey Crawford will be in goal for Chicago.

These two teams meet again tomorrow at United Center.


Michael Hutchinson goes for the Jets in New Jersey after Ondrej Pavelec got the win last night in Boston. Cory Schneider for the Devils.

Henrik Lundqvist for the Rangers. Sergei Bobrovsky for the Blue Jackets in their opener.

Jonathan Bernier for the Leafs. Jimmy Howard for the Red Wings in their opener.

Mike Smith for the Coyotes. Jonathan Quick likely for the Kings, who will need a better effort than the one they had Wednesday against San Jose.

Related: Mike Smith seeing benefit from sports psychologist

No hearing scheduled for Burmistrov after Bergeron headshot

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Winnipeg forward Alex Burmistrov isn’t in line for a disciplinary hearing for his elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron on Thursday night, an NHL spokesman confirmed to PHT.

Burmistrov was tagged with an illegal check to the head minor late in the first period. Bergeron received a minor roughing penalty for retaliating on the Russian forward, but was able to finish the contest.

Afterward, B’s head coach Claude Julien expressed frustration with the hit.

“It will be interesting how that is being reviewed, and especially to an elite player in the league who’€™s had some [concussion] issues in the past,” Julien said, per WEEI. “I hope they look at it seriously. In my mind, I don’€™t see why there wouldn’t be further consequences [for] that.”

Bergeron said that, while it was “definitely a hit to the head,” Burmistrov did come up to him afterward and apologized.

According to sources of CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty, Burmistrov received a warning from the Department of Player Safety.