Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 12/27/11
The Minnesota Wild's current seven-game losing streak has been marked by a dramatic dip in the offensive output and by absences of key players, most notably Captain Mikko Koivu. The Wild went into the Christmas break on a 0-5-2 run while scoring only 9 goals in those seven games. That's why you bank as many points as possible early in the season, so when injuries strike the team there is some insurance built up to avoid dropping too far down in the standings. The Wild has at least bought enough time to stay in a great position and now the club gets Mikko Koivu back in the lineup this week. Seems like the perfect time for 5 Questions with Wild head coach Mike Yeo: KG: What kind of impact will the return of Mikko Koivu give your team? YEO: It is absolutely huge for our team right now. Mikko is a complete hockey player and he does a little of everything for us. Our special teams will improve and our faceoff numbers will improve. He gives us the chance to have some depth at the center position in our line rotations again. Mikko helps raise our battle level on and off the ice. He is tremendous in the room, and all of our players are excited to welcome him back. KG: How frustrating has it been not scoring goals in these last seven games? YEO: The last seven games have stunk, we have really struggled in all areas of our game. When you don't maintain control of the puck it's hard to score because you are always chasing the other team. We need to be a better team in all three zones and take back our game, which is creating turnovers and getting pucks to the net. KG: How important was the holiday break for your team? YEO: This past weekend could not have come at a better time for our hockey team. We have had so many key guys get hurt that everyone has seen their minutes played take a bump up. When you are constantly traveling and playing night after night it can really take a toll on a player's energy level. That three days off gave us time to recharge both mentally and physically so I expect we will be a much better team this week. KG: Is it comforting knowing that even through this last stretch that your team is near the top of the Northwest Division? YEO: Our guys have earned that position with their play throughout the first three months of the season. We put ourselves in position to have a little comfort zone there if there was a bump in the road. We believe that bump has passed and it better have because there is no more room for error. It is a very long season and teams that win understand that they are going to have slumps. The difference is that winners learn from their mistakes and get better down the road. We are expecting our guys to do just that. KG: Did you have a nice Christmas break with your family? YEO: It was fantastic to get together with my family and have a couple of days to just relax. I did take a high stick from one of my youngsters and I have the battle scar on my head to prove it (laughing) . . . but it was a great couple of days. I am pumped to get back to coaching now and see if we get back on track now.
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