The Minnesota Wild have never been one of those teams that play a nasty, physical style of hockey, but that may change under new head coach Bruce Boudreau.
Boudreau, who was hired by the Wild this summer, likes for his players to play with an edge to their game.
He had his share of physical players in both Washington and Anaheim and it sounds like he’s going to demand that his new group of players play in a similar way.
On Friday, the 61-year-old put his team through an ‘exhausting’ practice, according to the Minneapolis StarTribune.
“We’re going to have an awful lot of practices like that,” Boudreau said, per the Tribune. “We went over a lot of video [Friday] morning, more than I like to do, but it shows that you can’t play the game without making contact with people. You just can’t do it.
“But what is taking time to get used to a little bit is we’re nowhere near as physical as the teams I’ve coached. So I’m trying to find sort of a halfway medium that they become more physical but don’t get out of what they’re good at. Like, I can’t make them into a bunch of Alex Ovechkins hitting everything that moves.”
Finding that balance will be key because asking his team to change their style of play will be difficult given the roster he has at his disposal.
He’s also concerned about the lack of depth he has up front. He’s comfortable with his top three lines, but he’d like to add to his fourth line. Being able to roll four lines is key in Boudreau’s eyes.
Now that teams will be making cuts, it’ll be interesting to see if the Wild feel the need to pick up a player or two on waivers.