The Minnesota Wild were sitting pretty early last month.
Injuries were starting to fade away, Josh Harding was going strong as the best goalie in hockey, and the team was top-three in the West.
What a difference a flip to 2014 makes, as the Wild have now been bitten by the injury bug again with winger Zach Parise, defenseman Jared Spurgeon, and top-scorer Mikko Koivu out for at least the next few weeks, Harding also heading to injured reserve as he continues to adjust his MS medication, and the team now sitting out of the top eight in the conference.
With today's news of Koivu and Harding heading to injured reserve coming down the pipe, new lines had to be set, and saying the combinations head coach Mike Yeo set forth lack a punch would probably be an understatement, with all respect to Erik Haula and Stephane Veilleux.
Koivu had played every game this season, and with Parise formed two-thirds of the top line for Minnesota.
Without their first- and fourth-leading scorers, the top line of Dany Heatley, who was a fourth-liner earlier this year and is a team-worst -14 in the plus-minus this season, Charlie Coyle and Jason Pominville have combined for just 54 points this season. Parise and Koivu have 62 combined on the year despite Parise missing the past six games.
With the recent slide, a lack of offense isn't exactly what Yeo envisioned to turn things around, though 1500 ESPN's Judd Zulgad seems to think the lack of stars on the ice can only help the job security of the current head coach.