Minnesota Score Photo by Brad Rempel
By Izzy Presley – Columnist
January 23, 2013
Wild vs. Dallas Stars gallery: http://www.ihigh.com/mnscore/gallery_99736.html
(ST. PAUL, MN) – Three games into the young season that is the 2013 season, the first line featuring Wild Captain Mikko Koivu, last year’s big gun acquisition Dany Heatley, and this year’s addition of Minnesota native Zach Parise have been carrying their weight as far as offensive production goes. With a total of 18 points (6 goals, 12 assist), the big line as accounted for 10 of those points (4 goals, 6 assists) with 2 of the goals and 2 of the assists coming on the power play.
The key to the success of this line is that they are together on regular shifts and on the power play along with Ryan Suter and Matt Cullen on the blue line. Although having 5 lefties on the ice at the same time may be a red flag, the line is getting more comfortable with each other every shift that they skate together.
“From a chemistry standpoint, guys are coming back. How nice is it for a line to go out and score a power play goal or even to have some great movement, a couple shots, or even some momentum, and they come back to the bench and their talking about it. That’s going to carry on into their next shift as well” said head coach Mike Yeo after the teams opening night win against Colorado.
Heatley added “You get to know tendencies of guys when you’re playing with them 5 on 5 and it helps definitely on the power play.”
Putting them together on the power play as well as regular shifts also helps in the energy department. “If guys are on different lines then all of a sudden you draw a power play, a lot of times you got a tired guy goin’ on the ice. So, if they can be on the same line it does help in that regard” Yeo said.
After watching the trio throughout the first three games of the season, you can see a chemistry building which is something to be expected with guys like Parise and Koivu who are notorious for outworking everybody on the ice. Then you have a guy like Heatley there ready to put the puck home, which has been the line’s M.O. over the first three games. Heatley has 3 goals over those 3 games.
“You put Mikko with him and Heater’s a great player and he’s even a better with Mikko, then you add a guy like Zach and that just compounds”, coach Yeo said.
The three know that they still have some work to do.
“I think we can still be better 5 on 5. I think we can spend a little more time in their zone”, Parise said. “Stop trying to be fancy. We will definitely get better”.
Captain Mikko Koivu added “We’ve been working on it a lot (getting better) and we will. We want to get better and each and every night there’s gonna be ups and downs, but that‘s part of the game.”
“I think we are all hungry to get better”, he continued.
– Rookie Mikael Granlund netted his first goal as an NHLer, and with the talent this kid has, it definitely will not be his last.
– Josh Harding recorded a shutout in his first start of the season against Dallas which was also his first game since being diagnosed with MS this summer.
- Zenon Konopka has already amassed 12 penalty minutes and 30 stitches over the first 3 games and said he would drop the mitts if needed, even with the 30 stitches in his face…man’s game.