Zach Parise

Roenick: It’s time to fire Wild coach Mike Yeo


The Wild have dropped 11 of their last 13 games, including tonight’s troubling showing against the Chicago Blackhawks. Minnesota has dug a sizable hole for itself in the playoff race and it needs to bounce back soon or the damage may become permanent.

With that in mind, is it time for the Wild to make a major change and should that move be the firing of head coach Mike Yeo?

Jeremy Roenick thinks that would be appropriate, as he argued on NBCSN:

“I still have confidence in this group,” Yeo said after the game, per the Star Tribune’s Michael Russo, “still know what we’re capable of, but there’s no doubt the clock is ticking here.”

The bench boss plans to “keep doing my stuff.” That’s really all he can do unless someone tells him that his services are no longer required.

He has a 122-100-31 record with the Wild and led them to the playoffs in each of their last two seasons. Still, expectations were raised after Ryan Suter and Zach Parise were given matching 13-year, $98 million contracts. This is the third campaign with that duo and a single playoff series win over that stretch is surely not what the Wild had in mind.

Crawford stands tall again as Wild hit new low


The Minnesota Wild’s descent continued on Sunday as they matched a season-worst five-game losing streak with a 4-1 decision versus Chicago.

The Wild’s latest drop is actually worse than their previous slump in practical terms as they’ve only earned one consolation point over this drought compared to three from their Dec. 16-27 losing streak. Of course, both slumps have essentially blended together as part of a horrendous 2-7-4 stretch that has threatened to knock Minnesota out of the playoff race well before the conclusion of the season. This in the third campaign of the Zach Parise/Ryan Suter era that was supposed to lift the young franchise to previously unseen heights.

As was the case in Chicago’s 4-2 victory over Minnesota on Thursday, Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford stepped up. He turned aside 36 of 37 shots to earn his 17th victory of the season. However, this wasn’t a game that he stole for Chicago.

A combination of some heads up, skill plays by the Blackhawks and defensive mistakes by Minnesota put the Wild behind early tonight:

Chicago took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission. Brad Richards and Johnny Oduya added two more for the Blackhawks in the second frame.

Minnesota’s Matt Cooke found the back of the net at 15:08 of the third period but it was far too late to save his team. Unless the Wild wake up soon, Cooke’s goal could turn into an allegory of their season.

Get your game notes: Wild at Blackhawks


Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Chicago Blackhawks hosting the Minnesota Wild at 8 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:


  • This will be the 3rd of 5 meetings this season for these Central Division teams – and 2nd in the last 4 days, having met in Minnesota on Thursday, a 4-2 win by Chicago (CHI has won both meetings this season, both by 2 goals). o Thursday‘s game was the first meeting in Minnesota since Game 6 of their Second-Round playoff matchup, a game won by the Blackhawks (2-1 OT), to finish the series.
  •  This second half of a home-and-home series saw each team squeeze in a game between these meetings, with Chicago stopping over in Edmonton on Friday night (5-2 loss – to the team with the fewest points in the league), before returning home, and Minnesota hosting Nashville on Saturday afternoon (3-1 loss) before hitting the road to CHI-town.
  • “We gave up a couple of funny goals tonight…We were pressing in the third, but they were checking better with the lead than what we had seen prior. That’s what happens. We had enough chances tonight. The timing of the goals they scored was tough” – Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville on the Edmonton loss.
  • Starting with that 5-3 loss at Chicago on Dec. 16, Minnesota started what is now its worst stretch this season having lost 10 of its last 12 (2-6-4).
  • The Wild have lost 4 straight (0-3-1) and have been outscored 18-7, allowing an average of 4.50 goals/game (allowed 3+ goals in each) and scoring an average of 1.75 goals/game.
  • Chicago has traded wins and losses through much of the last 4 weeks having gone 7-5-1 since Dec. 13 after having an 8-game win streak from Nov. 26-Dec. 11. The Blackhawks have lost 3 of their last 5 (2-3-0) but return home where they have won 10 of their last 12 (10-2-0).
  • Despite winning 10 of their last 12 at home, Chicago has split their last 4 home contests including losing to Colorado, 2-0, in their last game at United Center.
  • Chicago last lost consecutive games on Nov. 1 & 2, losses at TOR then at home to WPG.
  • The Blackhawks return home to Chicago after splitting a 2-game road trip with the Wild and Oilers. In their last home game back on Tuesday, Chicago set a record, but one they would like to forget, by putting the most shots on goal in a regular-season home game without scoring a goal since the league officially began tracking shots on goal nearly 60 years ago. The Blackhawks outshot the Avalanche 54-24 but lost 2-0 to Semyon Varlamov and Colorado.
  • MIN coach Mike Yeo left Wednesday‘s practice early after he became visibly agitated and verbally scolded his team. By all accounts, Yeo was frustrated with his team‘s recent performance and went on a profanity laced tirade – including breaking a hockey stick over the boards – before exciting the ice surface.
  • “We weren’t good enough. And we’re not in a position where we can come in and be, let alone decent in practice, bad at practice. I’m not going to accept that,” Yeo said.
  • Yeo added, ―”I’m not worried about that. I told you I’m not going to accept that (kind of practice)…We lost the (last) game. We come to the rink today and, what, are we going to have a practice like that? That’s not good enough….I know one thing: we can hang our heads, we can feel sorry for ourselves, we can point fingers, we can do whatever we want. But those types of things are not the types of things that winners do, and those types of things do not help you get out of something like this. I know what I’m going to control, and I’m going to make sure that I bring it.”


  • Chicago has won both meetings thus far this season…
  • Dec. 16 at CHI: CHI def. MIN 5-3
  • CHI – Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews & Brent Seabrook each had one goal and 2 assists.
  • Jan. 8 at MIN: CHI def. MIN 4-2
  • CHI – Patrick Kane 1 goals, 2 assists…Bryan Bickell 2 goals…Brad Richards 3 assists.  MIN outshot CHI 44-20.
  • Central Division Matchup: Chicago sits 2nd in the division, while Minnesota is currently 7th (last)…
  • With 56 points, Chicago is 4 points behind division/NHL-leading NSH.
  • The Wild (41 points) are currently in the cellar of the Central – 14 back of 3rd-place STL in the division – and 7 behind LA for the 2nd Wild Card spot in the West…at this point last season (through 40 games), MIN had 45 points and trailed PHX for the 2nd Wild Card spot by 2 points.
  • The Wild made a second consecutive trip to the playoffs last season after the previous 4 seasons without a playoff appearance.


  • Despite missing the last 2 games, Zach Parise is t-2nd on the team in goals (14 – with Nino Niederreiter) and 2nd in points (30). Parise is the only player on the Wild with double figures in goals and assists (16). In his first game back on Saturday, he had 0 points and has 3G-4A in his last 8 games.
  • Jason Pominville leads the team in points (32) and assists (23)…Pominville has 4 points (1G-3A) in his last 3 games. Pominville led the team in goals (30) and points (60) last season.
  • Ryan Suter leads the league in time on ice/game (29:35) after leading the league in this category the past two seasons. Suter is 4th on the team in points (22) and 2nd in assists (21). Suter has gone without a point in his last 8 games and scored his only goal in MIN‘s season opener against COL on Oct. 9.
  • Nino Niederreiter is tied for 2nd on the team in goals (14) but has gone the last 11 games without one. He has an assist in back-to- back games but has only 3 points (0G-3A) in his last 11 games. Niederreiter has 20 points this season (played in all 40 games) – more than halfway to his career high of 36 set last season (in 81 GP) – and has already tied his goal total from a season ago in 41 fewer games.
  • Niklas Backstrom is expected to start in net for the Wild. In his 9th season, all with MIN, the Finn started in both meetings vs. CHI this season: 4 GA on 38 shots on Dec. 16; 3 GA on 19 shots on Jan. 8…In his career, he is: 6-11-1, 2.90 GAA vs. CHI. Starting with that Dec. 16 loss at CHI, Backstrom is: 0-3-2, 3.66 GAA, .876 SV% in his last 4 starts.
  • Jason Zucker leads the team in goals (15) in his 4th season in the league (all with MIN). He already has set career highs in goals and assists (5). He has 4 points (3G-1A) in his last 3 games.


  • Patrick Kane was named the NHL‘s 2nd Star for the month of December (behind Ryan Getzlaf – ANA) after he tied for second in the league with 17 points (8G-9A) in 13 GP. CHI went 10-2-1 in December. Kane leads the team in goals (20 – 7th in NHL) and assists (25). His 45 points are 9 more than Jonathan Toews’ 36 (2nd on the team). Kane has scored a goal and had 2 assists in each meeting vs. MIN this season…He has 9 points (4G-5A) in his last 7 games.  Kane has now reached 20 goals in each of his eight NHL seasons; he is the first U.S.-born player in NHL history to post at least 20 goals in each of his first eight seasons. Kane is just the second player in Blackhawks history to tally at least 20 goals in each of his first eight NHL seasons joining Denis Savard, who posted 10 straight 20-goal campaigns for Chicago to begin his career (1980-81 through 1989-90; then added two more w/ MTL).
  • Brad Richards has 24 points (8G-16A) in his first season with Chicago. The 14-year vet had 51 points with the Rangers last season. Richards had 3 assists vs. MIN on Thursday and has 6 points (2G-4A) in his last 6 games. o Richards has 25 points (7G-18A) in 22 career games vs. MIN.
  • Jonathan Toews is right behind Kane – 2nd on the team in goals (13) and points (36). ―Captain Serious‖ has not scored a goal since Dec. 21 (8 games without one) but has 7 assists in that span. Toews has 23 points (7G-16A) in 24 career games vs. MIN including 1G-3A in 2 meetings this season.
  • Bryan Bickell scored twice on Thursday at MIN, his 2nd career multi-goal game and first since March 5, 2013 – also vs. MIN. Since 2012-13, Bickell has 6 goals in 9 regular-season meetings vs. MIN.
  • Patrick Sharp, who led the team in goals (34) and points (78) last season, has only 21 points (9G-12A) this season in 28 games (missed 14 games in Nov./Dec. with a lower-body injury). Sharp did score at MIN on Thursday and has 6 points (4G-2A) in his last 7 games.
  • Corey Crawford has made 8 starts since missing nearly a month after he injured his foot leaving a concert. He is 4-3-1 in those games. In his last start, Crawford made a season-high 42 saves on 44 shots at MIN on Thursday (Antti Raanta started at EDM). Overall this season, Crawford is 16-8-2 with a 2.19 GAA and .921 SV%. o Career vs. MIN: 6-3-2, 2.35 GAA, .913 SV%.

Parise says his wife encouraged him to return to the ice


Zach Parise will be in the Minnesota Wild lineup this afternoon when they play host to the league-leading Nashville Predators.

The Wild forward sat at his family home and watched as his teammates fell 4-2 to the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday – less than 24 hours after the death of his father.

“My wife told me, ‘You have to go to the rink,’ ” Parise said Friday. ” ‘You have to go and practice and get away and try and get back into the groove of things.’ It was important for me to get back.”

Parise has 14 and 30 points in 32 games this season to go along with a plus-7 rating while averaging nearly 20 minutes a night in ice time.

The 30-year-old plans to travel with the team on the upcoming road trip, which includes stops in Chicago, Pittsburgh and Buffalo. The funeral for J.P. Parise will be held next Friday.

“It’s great to have him back in the lineup,” said Mike Yeo. “And it’s better to have him around in the locker room and around all of us. With Zach, even though his heart and mind is obviously on dealing with this terrible thing, I know he will pour his heart and soul into helping our hockey team win.

“That’s just the kind of character he is. And, hopefully, when he comes to the rink, we can offer him something that helps the whole process.”

With Parise returning, he isn’t expected to re-join his line of Mikko Koivu and Jason Pominville. Jason Zucker has replaced Parise on that line for two games and the trio has seen some chemistry despite consecutive losses.

“That line has been too good to break up,” Yeo said. “We’ll see if Zach coming in can strengthen one of the other lines, and [if] we can keep that line going the same. We would be a better team for that.”

Nashville has won the only meeting between the two clubs this season using overtime to defeat the Wild 6-5 on Dec. 20.

Wild’s Schroeder just wants to ‘stay on a roll’


In just under 10 minutes of ice time on Thursday, Minnesota Wild center Jordan Schroeder appears to have left an impression in just his second NHL game this season.

Schroeder, a former first-round pick of the Vancouver Canucks, has spent most of this season in the American Hockey League but was called up and played in Thursday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks, registering seven shots on goal, but was unable to hit the score sheet.

Now, whether that means he remains in the lineup when the Wild play the Nashville Predators on Saturday is another question.

Meanwhile, Zach Parise, who has missed the last two games after the passing of his father J.P. Parise, appears ready to return to the Minnesota lineup.

“I’ve been playing well lately,” Schroeder told the Pioneer Press on Friday. “I just want to stay positive and stay on a roll.

“It is a big opportunity to come in to showcase myself, but you can’t think about that.

“You just have to go game to game and focus on what I do best and bring it every night.”