On Tuesday, Minnesota Wild Coach Mike Yeo and New Jersey Devils Coach Pete DeBoer made two decisions with varying degrees of ballsy-ness; two decisions that, in the end, should earn these guys a lot of respect in the room and around the NHL.
Yeo made winger Devin Setoguchi a healthy scratch before the Wild were to host the San Jose Sharks on national television, citing violation of team rules. He scratched a capable offensive player at time when the Wild are near the bottom of the League in goal scoring and with Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Guillaume Latendresse out of the lineup.
While Setoguchi didn't hit the board in two previous games against the Sharks, there's always the potential for him to get rolling against his former team.
But the Gooch missed a team meeting for a rather regrettable reason, according to Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune:
Multiple sources tell me Setoguchi missed a team meeting this morning the night after going out with a bunch of his Shark buds.
I give Yeo credit for standing by his convictions. He's vowed to hold players accountable, and even though the Wild's had trouble scoring, even though the Wild's without top-6 forwards, even though the Wild needs to win games, even though Setoguchi's been good in his two games back from a knee injury with nine shots and an assist, Yeo sent Setoguchi and the team a message: Be a professional. Yeo said Setoguchi will start with a clean slate Wednesday.
As for DeBoer, he did what used to be the unthinkable for a Devils coach: He benched Martin Brodeur after giving up two goals in 7:32, in a Canadian city no less, leaving the legendary goalie puzzled after the game.
Brodeur surrendered goals to Jay Bouwmeester, on which he was screened, and Cory Sarich, on which he whiffed. He then was replaced by Johan Hedberg, who surrendered two more goals on the period and four in total during the 6-3 loss.
It's the fourth time Brodeur has been pulled this season, and the quickest hook. DeBoer replaced him after the first period vs. Ottawa on Dec. 8 and the Devils eventually rallied to win in a shootout.
"He makes his own decision on it," Brodeur said of DeBoer. "Definitely I'm not going to say I deserved it or whatever. He probably felt it worked once in Ottawa and he'd try to do it again. I don't know his thinking process on that one.
"Especially games like that you have to give me a chance to play. Seven minutes into the game, it's not over yet. Maybe he tried to spark the team or something. It just didn't work this time."
DeBoer's explanation was, indeed, that he tried to spark a team that would give up four goals in the first period.
"You have two choices," the coach said. "You let him work through that or we try to spark the team. I chose to try and spark the team. it didn't work."
No, it didn't, but it was worth the try, and it took some guts to pull Marty Brodeur that early. Because even if he's Marty Brodeur-in-name-only in 2012, he's still Marty Brodeur.
One interesting note about Brodeur, via Fire & Ice: "Brodeur has been pulled in two of the three starts he's made when there's been a time change (also pulled after giving up three goals on four shots in Minnesota) and allowed 11 total goals on 34 shots."
C'mmmmmon realignment! (Oh, who are we kidding? He's probably done after this season.)
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