Minnesota Wild buying in on defense, among the NHL's best so far

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 28, 2013 - 11:30 AM

Former defensive stalwart Wes Walz sees a team that is much more aggressive in its own zone.

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drool1Feb. 28, 13 2:05 AM

oh, what a relief! talkin' about defense instead of dump'n chase. last season, when someone questioned yeo about his team's defense, he said something like 'we're good in our own zone. we just spend too much time there.' bouchard gets ripped for his lack of offensive zone grit, but his hockey intelligence and quickness in the defensive zone have left him with the best plus/minus of all wild forwards.

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sgjsdadFeb. 28, 13 3:09 AM

Defensively they are playing the game well, no doubt about it. They're staying in position and collapsing around the goaltender and mostly keeping the puck on the perimeter. But this team is going to be tested hard in the next week. Phoenix has never been an easy opponent for them and they turn around and play the red-hot Ducks tomorrow and the Hawks in Chicago next week. They will be doing terrific if they can get six of a possible eight points in the next four games.

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mjtousFeb. 28, 13 7:25 AM

Wonderful! Nw, if we could just score goals....isnt that part of the equation?

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banjerjeffFeb. 28, 13 8:01 AM

You remember when everyone hated on Lemaire for his defensive style? Well at least we won a handful of those one goal games....

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eighteenkFeb. 28, 13 8:13 AM

Wag the dog... Gee, the Wild hired an offensive minded coach and all we heard was up-tempo this and scoring that. Now that the fan base is agitated, let's try and pull the "we're so awesome defensively" trick and hopefully that will work! Let's see if they bite! BeeEss. I don't buy it and hopefully you don't either. Figure out your scoring woe's, Wild. This team is about as much fun to watch as watching paint dry.

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pseudonymFeb. 28, 13 9:04 AM

Defense is good, yes, but you're not going to win many games scoring 0 goals no matter how good your defense is

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AllweathrfanFeb. 28, 1310:50 AM

I agree winning teams have strong play at both ends and with the strong amount of impatience shown this article seems to make the most of what is currently winning us the games we have won - defense. aThe good news is for a team that has seen alot of change defensive coverage is usually the first quality to mature and gel. The offense will come, maybe not in the 4-6 goals a game quantity but we will start seeing more wins in the 3-0 3-1 goal range as the team gels, the youth grows some more whiskers and their identity is formed. I agree with the coach that this adversity is required to grow into a team and that the process is happening regardless if it is fast enough for the fans or the media.

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sage62Feb. 28, 1311:39 AM

All: Agreed, however, Yeo needs to grow some whiskers as well. He needs to maintain positive control over the team and be proactive when dealing with under performing coaches and players. They're actually shooting the puck more, what a concept! Keep a body in front of the opponent's net whenever you're on the powerplay, rule #1.

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AllweathrfanFeb. 28, 13 1:12 PM

Sage good points, main reason I see we are not scoring is that the puck and players aren't arriving at the net at same time or missed shots. We do not generate enough second chances. Our desire to play tenacious defense has to transfer to getting the puck to the net and winning those battles there. Too much preimeter passing and soft plays for most of the games. Zuckers goal the other night was a great example of what type of play we need more of. Granlund set that play up by driving the net

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kball69Feb. 28, 13 3:47 PM

Still bothered by Backstroms inability to control the puck and constantly give rebound opportunities. Like he is trying to catch ping pong ball with a frying pan..(that is my own folks).

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