The Minnesota Wild are off to an absolutely brutal start to the 2019-20 season having won just one of their first seven games.
Following their most recent defeat, a shutout loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday, Jason Zucker vented some frustration and said that everyone on the team needed to be better. Not exactly an earth-shattering comment for a 1-6 team, but what made it into a story was that he specifically mentioned coach Bruce Boudreau by name.
The exact comment: “I think more than (a meeting’s) going to have to jumpstart us, to be honest with you. Bruce has got to be better. We’ve got to be better. Everybody’s got to be better. That’s it.”
Anytime one of the top player’s on a team mentions the coach by name as someone that needs to be better — especially one that is seemingly already on the hot seat — it is going to get some attention. In Zucker’s case, it got a little more attention than he wanted, and after apologizing to Boudreau on the team plane after the game on Thursday, publicly apologized on Saturday.
“I’ll start by first apologizing to Bruce,” Zucker told Wild reporters on Saturday, via Michael Russo of The Athletic. “There was no reason for me to use his name in that quote in any way. That’s completely on me. My intention with the quote was to state that everybody needs to be better and needs to do more and pull more weight, and 99.9 percent of that is on the players.”
He went on to call it a poor choice of words on his part and again reiterated the fact that everyone needs to be better.
Zucker has two goals for the Wild through the first seven games of the season.
He has been one of the Wild’s best players for a few years now but still found himself as the centerpiece in two different trades that fell through by former general manager Paul Fenton.
The Wild are back in action at home on Sunday against Canadiens before playing seven of their next 10 games on the road.
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.