In a stunning though perhaps not unreasonable move, it appears head coach Mike Yeo will scratch center Kyle Brodziak for Game Three of the Minnesota Wild’s Western Conference Quarterfinal series with the Colorado Avalanche.
Brodziak, Minnesota’s third line center, has struggled this series, coughing up costly turnovers and playing a poor defensive game for a player labeled as one of the team’s top defensive players. In two games, he has a goal, two penalty minutes and a negative-3 rating. At least his shooting percentage is 100 percent–something Brodziak couldn’t exactly claim during the regular season when he could hardly buy a goal.
In his place steps former two-time 50-goal scorer Dany Heatley, who was scratched the previous two games. With Heater back, it looks like he’ll join Cody McCormick and Nino Niederreiter on the fourth line. That said, rookie Erik Haula appears to be centering a speedy, rugged third line between wingers Matt Cooke and Justin Fontaine. They’ll be tasked with the difficult duty of shutting down Colorado’s top line of rookie Nathan MacKinnon, captain Gabriel Landeskog and Paul Stastny. Stephane Veilleux would join Brodziak as a healthy forward scratch in this scenario.
Scott will have the full game preview up shortly, but this is certainly a stunning move by the Wild.