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Wild won't bring back long-time goalie coach Bob Mason

 

 

The Wild began its offseason makeover Monday, cutting ties with longtime goaltending coach Bob Mason, who has been with the organization since 2002.

“He had an incredible run here,” General Manager Bill Guerin said on a video conference call. “I have nothing negative to say about him. Sometimes you just need change, and at that position we needed a change.”

Guerin was disappointed with the Wild’s performance in net this past season, which ended on Friday when the team was eliminated from the Stanley Cup qualifiers by the Canucks in four games.

Although both Devan Dubnyk and Alex Stalock are under contract for next season, Guerin said the hierarchy is not clear.

“Al had a tremendous year and Devan had an off year, and it needs to be better,” Guerin said. “That's just the way it is. And if I told you anything different, I'd be lying to you. It was not a strong point for us.”

This was Mason’s 18th year as the organization’s goalie coach. The native of International Falls played two seasons at Minnesota-Duluth, was a member of Team USA at the 1984 Olympics and spent parts of eight seasons in the NHL with Washington, Chicago, the Quebec Nordiques and Vancouver.

In addition to hiring a new goalie coach, the Wild also plans to bring on a new assistant coach. Current assistant Bob Woods and Darby Hendrickson will be back, Guerin said.

 

Win or leave Canada: Wild trying to stave off elimination tonight

EDMONTON, Alberta – The months of uncertainty, a second edition of training camp and then relocating to a bubble in Edmonton, all of that could end up culminating in just four games for the Wild unless the team staves off elimination Friday night when it takes on the Canucks in the best-of-five play-in series.

Puck drop for Game 4 is 9:45 p.m., barely a day after Vancouver blanked the Wild 3-0 in Game 3 on Thursday afternoon.

 

 

“Right back at them,” winger Marcus Foligno said.

Perhaps the urgency of a must-win game will help the Wild, the reality of what’s at stake perfectly clear. But the team still has some questions to answer.

First of all, will Ryan Suter play? The defenseman left the action late in the third period Thursday and did not return. Coach Dean Evason didn’t have an update on Suter’s status after the game, and the team didn’t hold media availability before Game 4.

If he can’t go, Matt Bartkowski seems to be next in line on the depth chart.

The other issue with the Wild is its scoring woes; not only has the team yet to convert at 5-on-5 through three games, but the power play is in a 0-for-14 rut.

Whether or not the offense gets going will likely decide the Wild’s fate.

“We just have to be smart with the puck and maybe a little more patience and get some get some shots on the net,” winger Kevin Fiala said.

Projected lineup:

Jordan Greenway-Eric Staal-Kevin Fiala

Zach Parise-Joel Eriksson Ek-Luke Kunin

Marcus Foligno-Alex Galchenyuk-Mats Zuccarello

Ryan Donato-Mikko Koivu-Ryan Hartman

Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin-Matt Dumba

Carson Soucy-Brad Hunt

Alex Stalock

Key numbers:

2-1: Record for the Wild all-time in the second game of a back-to-back in the playoffs.

39: Hits in Game 3 by the Wild.

0: Power play goals for the Wild in its last 14 opportunities.

3: Assists by Quinn Hughes in Game 3 to set the Canucks franchise record for most points in a playoff game by a rookie defenseman.

2: Goals over the last two games for Burnsville’s Brock Boeser.

About the Canucks:

After his first career shutout in the playoffs Thursday, Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom improved his save percentage in the postseason to .946. His goals-against average is 1.68. Vancouver continues to have the edge in faceoffs, with its 55.8 percent efficiency among the best in the playoffs. Captain Bo Horvat has been the team’s leader in that department, winning 57.4 percent of the faceoffs he’s taken. The Canucks have also blocked more shots in the series than the Wild at 49; the Wild has 36.

Final, 8/7 1 2 3 OT F
Vancouver 3-1 1 2 1 1 5
Minnesota 1-3 2 2 0 0 4

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