ST. PAUL (WCCO) — It’s make-or-break time for the Wild as they try to white-knuckle their way into the playoffs.
So today, they made three roster moves — bringing up forwards Jake Dowell and Stepane Veilleux, and goalie Josh Harding, and sending down Mikael Granlund, Jason Zucker and Darcy Kuemper.
“Regardless of whether we were already in the playoffs,” coach Mike Yeo said, “you’re always looking to try to improve your team. And if something’s not working, then …”
Then you shake things up, which is what the Wild did this morning, injecting experience into the lineup.
“The veteran side of it is important this time of year, too,” Yeo said. “And that had a lot to do with it. It’s not an easy time of year for young kids.”
With just three games to go in a laces-tight playoff race, it’s not an easy time for anybody. Every game, every result, magnified by necessity.
“There is pressure,” forward Zach Parise said. “There’s always pressure. And I think right now it’s risen a little bit, and we have to respond the right way. And I think we will.”
“We know we’re a good team,” added forward Kyle Brodziak. “And we’ve got to trust each other, trust our game, and have fun with it.”
An interesting thing happened at practice Monday morning. It started nearly an hour late. The team held a meeting, laid everything out on the table and talked about where things stand.
And where to go from here.
“Good meeting,” Brodziak said, “just to get everybody on the same page of where we’re at and what we need to do.”
“One of the great comments today from one of our players — and I don’t need to say who it was — was: ‘We can’t sit around and hope, for anything. We can’t sit around and hope that a team that we’re ahead of loses. We can’t sit around and hope that the outcome is (good), we just have to take care of what we can take care of,'” Yeo said. “And if we do that we’ll be fine.”