Thursday, October 24, 2013

Splitting Up Koivu and Parise

Could Koivu and Parise be on different lines soon?

This morning, Paul Allen of KFAN did one of his "Vox in the Box" shows from the Xcel Energy Center penalty box during the morning skate. It has become a popular show (given the fact that there really are no big daytime radio shows in this town that focus on hockey) for the Vikings play by play voice, as he puts a quality show together featuring Wild coaches, players, analysts, etc.

This morning, PA was greeted early on by Wild head coach Mike Yeo and the two (and Brandon Mileski who produces the Common Man show on KFAN from 12-3) discussed a wide variety of topics, including the top line of Zach Parise-Mikko Koivu-Justin Fontaine.

Yeo raved about Fontaine first, but then PA asked a question that one would think would never be thought of by the Wild's bench boss, "Have you ever considered separating Koivu and Parise?"

To the surprise of many, including myself, Yeo replied by saying that he has but he will not consider splitting up the pair until Charlie Coyle returns from injury (which took a nice turn the last two days as Coyle has resumed skating with the team). It was something he looked at during training camp last month, but has yet to do in the 58 games the pair has played together.

This would be a bold move by Mike Yeo, considering the chemistry between the two (especially this year). But if the team continues to have issues scoring goals from all lines, it may be something he has to do to spark the offense.

There has been no real consistency as to who plays right wing alongside Parise and Koivu since Parise arrived last year. Its been a rotating door in fact of players who have tried to maintain that spot, the only real one who stuck was Coyle to finish out last season, but was moved to center this season. The list includes, Dany Heatley, Devin Setoguchi (for a game or two I believe), Charlie Coyle, Jason Pominville, Jason Zucker (again, for a game or two?), Nino Niederreiter, and Justin Fontaine.

So what would the lines look like when Coyle returns and Yeo splits up Koivu and Parise? A guess would be:

Again, this is just a guess. Heatley, Granlund, Pominville, Fontaine, or Niederreiter could very well grab that top line right wing spot. Koivu could stay on the top line and Parise goes down to the second. Fontaine could stay on a line higher than the fourth with the way he is playing. Point here is, this is a rough guess.
So what we learned today is that Mike Yeo is open to splitting up Koivu and Parise for the sake of getting more depth from his lines. We won't get to see this, if it actually does happen, until Coyle returns which is still at least 10 days away if not more. But it is good to know that he is thinking this and doesn't have Koivu-Parise written in Sharpie on his line combinations.
To listen to the Paul Allen Show from today, click this link and select 10/24 HR 1, 2, or 3.
Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell

1 comment:

  1. If Koivu can spark Heatley that would be the only reason to make this move, otherwise, I just don't see the point.