Charlie Coyle switches positions again for Wild. What else is new?
ST. PAUL -- Well, so much for Charlie Coyle finding a new home.
Not even 10 days after after talking about how he had grown comfortable playing center for the Wild on a regular basis, Coyle was switched back to wing with the arrival of two-way center Victor Rask. He played alongside Eric Staal and opposite Jordan Greenway during Saturday’s win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, and while he’s pretty much become the team’s version of a nomad, bouncing from place to place, don’t expect Coyle to complain.
“Anything can be frustrating if I let it,” Coyle said. “We got a good player in Rask, and think he’s going to fit nicely. He’s a good player down that middle. As far as me going back to wing, I think what I do best is getting in on the forecheck and winning wall battles. That’s going to be big for our line. That’s what I’m trying to do.”
It always seems to go back to Coyle being versatile, which has been a blessing and a curse throughout his career. He hasn’t ever really found an established role simply because he can play both forward positions.
“If we look at it, we’re not going to move Eric Staal, we’re not going to move Mikko Koivu, and Eric Fehr when he comes back is a much better center,” coach Bruce Boudreau explained. “So Charlie has been the one who has moved back and forth (because) he feels equally comfortable. When he’s good at center, he’s really good. He’s had his moments on the wing, too.”
As much as Coyle has moved around throughout his career, switching positions has become almost second nature for him. He can seamlessly change the way he thinks, relearning the nuances of each position quickly.
“It should be easy now,” Coyle said. “It’s been a million times. It’s nothing new. Just translate the brain over and play hard. That’s all.”
While the Greenway-Staal-Coyle trio will need to prove it can produce consistently, early indications are there is potential there.
“I think Charlie works really well with us,” Greenway said. “He can do it all, really. I think when Eric and I are together we like puck below the circles and Charlie does great down there. He fit right in with us. He did a lot of good things for us. He was a great addition.”
Now if only Coyle could stay in one spot for the foreseeable future.
“There’s definitley potential there,” Coyle said. “Some good practice time is obviously what we need to build the chemistry and all that. We just have to talk a lot. I think we’re going to be really good together. It’s there for us. It’s just up to us to make sure we bring that every game.”
After missing the past couple of weeks with an undisclosed injury, it appears Fehr is closer to returning than originally thought. He participated fully in Sunday’s practice, and the coaching staff wouldn’t rule out the possibility that he returns to the lineup on a two-game road trip.
“There’s a chance,” Boudreau said. “He’s looking better than we anticipated that he would. He’s going on the trip with us. Let’s put it that way.”
Louie Belpedio logged 13 minutes, 35 seconds of ice time during Saturday’s win, spending most of his time alongside Jonas Brodin. While he didn’t match the production of his two-point NHL debut last season, Belpedio did enough to impress the coaching staff.
“It was adequate,” Boudreau said. “It’s a tough thing coming into his first home game. For a young guy, I thought he handled himself quite well.”