MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild have not been playing up to the preseason hype or their potential.
In this lockout-shortened season, the time for a turnaround is tight.
Winless in four road games this season, the Wild (4-4-1) returned home. They’ll host Vancouver on Thursday. Seven of their next nine games are against Northwest Division teams, and the 48-game season is about 20 percent gone.
So at practice on Wednesday at the St. Thomas Ice Arena, coach Mike Yeo shuffled his forward groups again.
Dany Heatley was taken off the first line to skate with center Matt Cullen and Pierre-Marc Bouchard. Rookie Charlie Coyle replaced Heatley, joining center Mikko Koivu and star Zach Parise.
"I wouldn’t say it was unexpected," said Heatley, who has no points in his past four games after tallying four goals and two assists in the first five games. "I’m playing with two real creative guys, so hopefully we can get something going."
Devin Setoguchi and Mikael Granlund rotated spots on the third line with center Kyle Brodziak and Cal Clutterbuck. New acquisition Mike Rupp was on the fourth line with Torrey Mitchell and Zenon Konopka.
Rupp, who came in a trade with the New York Rangers, will make his Wild debut against the Canucks.