Wild's Charlie Coyle moves closer to getting back in the lineup
ST. PAUL — Things are looking up for the Wild.
In addition to entering Tuesday night's game against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Xcel Energy Center on a two-game winning streak, the team moved one step closer to getting big forward Charlie Coyle back in the lineup.
A slap shot from Jared Spurgeon on Oct. 12 at Chicago broke Coyle's right leg, and Tuesday's morning skate marked the first time he was on the ice with his teammates since the injury.
"It feels good," Coyle said. "I've made a lot of steps, a lot of strides. ... Not really thinking about it when I'm out there, either. It was nice to get back out there and skate with someone for a change."
Coach Bruce Boudreau liked what he saw from Coyle but confirmed there is no timetable for his full return.
"It's about getting stronger on his leg," Boudreau said. "I mean, he looks pretty good out there. ... I think when he feels ready to play, he'll let us know — and I'm sure the doctor will have some say. It's more up to those two right now."
Coyle had skated on his own only a couple of times before Tuesday, Nov. 14, so he appears to have a way to go. The initial prognosis was six to eight weeks, and he has been out for a little more than four.
"I'm just going step by step," Coyle said. "You know, I just want to make sure I'm 100 percent. You don't want anything to linger throughout the season ... so I'm just taking it step by step and making small improvements every day."
Coyle said it's difficult to be patient because he already feels good.
"You want to get back as soon as possible," he said. "You've also got to look at the (big) picture and make sure it's 100 percent. ... I want to do it the right way."
Coyle said the initial impact of Spurgeon's shot didn't have him worried.
"I got hit way harder in the ankles early on this season," he said. "I thought it was really one of those where I'd kind of get up and I'd stand up and it takes a little bit and then I'd get (back in). And I took two strides and then I kind of knew something was wrong."
Coyle said Spurgeon was "very upset" and apologized.
"I was like, 'It's not your fault. I shouldn't be standing there,' " Coyle said.
No eye contact
As most Wild fans know by now, Jason Zucker had scored the Wild's past six goals entering Tuesday's game.
He also entered the contest with a chance to tie or break the NHL record for most consecutive team goals set by Cy Denneny of the Ottawa Senators in 1920-21 and matched by Brian Noonan of the Blackhawks in 1991-92.
Asked whether he has been superstitiously avoiding Zucker during his hot streak, Boudreau joked, "That would be a goalie only. A player, I still give him crap."
So is he talking to goaltender Devan Dubnyk, who hadn't allowed a goal in 135 minutes, 5 seconds entering Tuesday's game?
"No," Boudreau said with a laugh. "I'm not."
Broad Street Bullies
With the Wild hosting the second half of a home-and-home against the Flyers, a reporter asked Boudreau what a home-and-home would've been like against the Flyers' Broad Street Bullies of the 1970s.
"They would've been coming, and I'm not meaning with playing the game," he said. "They were a tough team back then to play home and home. ... In two games (I played against them), there were bench-clearing brawls."