One day after blowing a three-goal lead in a loss to the NHL’s worst team, Wild coach Bruce Boudreau followed some advice Friday, opting against a grueling practice.
With another test looming Saturday against Chicago, Boudreau held a pointed film session, dissecting Thursday’s 4-3 overtime loss to Arizona, then holding practice to 28 minutes.
Boudreau said each player wears a heart monitor that helps strength and conditioning coach Sean Skahan track fatigue and long-term endurance.
“We were up to the level of where we we’re getting overtired,” Boudreau said. “So the strength guy, Sean, comes in and, rightfully so … said, ‘Hey, listen, we’re up there, so it shouldn’t be too taxing.’ ”
The Wild looked notably slower than a younger Coyotes team in an ominous start to this crucial five-game homestand. Desperate for a reset before facing slumping Chicago, Boudreau wanted to make Friday “more of a teaching thing.”
“If this was the olden days, it would have been a two-hour skate out there,” the team’s second-year coach said. “But it’s important — we’ve got a lot of 30-something players — that they understand what we’re doing. But at the same time they need their rest.”
Loov at first sight
Newly acquired defenseman Viktor Loov had his first practice with the Wild, but Boudreau doesn’t expect Loov to play Saturday.
“It’s a lot to throw a guy in against the Chicago Blackhawks right away, even though I’m sure he’d be excited to play,” Boudreau said.
Loov, 25, has just four games of NHL experience, all two seasons ago with Toronto. He played 36 games this season with New Jersey’s AHL affiliate in Binghamton, scoring five goals with 12 assists, 45 penalty minutes and a minus-17 rating.
The Wild traded for him Thursday in a deal that sent minor league forwards Mario Lucia and Christoph Bertschy to the Devils.
“I was really happy,” the Swedish-born Loov said. “I’ve been playing AHL like all season and felt like I’ve been a little bit stuck there. Hopefully I’ll get the chance here. We will see.”
The 6-3, 216-pound defenseman said he can do “a little bit of everything,” including playing physically and occasionally dropping the gloves. Boudreau noted that Brendan Woods, son of Wild assistant coach Bob Woods, faced Loov in the AHL.
“I think [Loov’s] one of those disturbers because [Brendan Woods] says he really wanted to beat him up,” Boudreau said. “So I mean, he must be like a guy that gets under people’s skin.”
Olofsson’s wild ride
Gustav Olofsson had mixed results Thursday, thrust into a bigger role on the Wild’s second defensive pair with Matt Dumba because of Jonas Brodin’s hand surgery. Olofsson notched an assist but finished minus-2 in 20 minutes, 31 seconds of ice time — or 8:11 more than his season average.
Olofsson hopped the boards with about 1:40 remaining in regulation and the Wild leading 3-2. He made a turnover, then saved a goal when a shot got past Devan Dubnyk, swatting away the puck at the post.
Then, with fatigue setting in, Olofsson managed to clear one puck only to midice, preventing a change. On Arizona’s tying goal with 18.9 seconds left, Derek Stepan’s zipped goal mouth pass from the corner got through the sticks of Dumba and Olofsson, and Nick Cousins buried it.
“It’s extremely frustrating,” Olofsson said.
Boudreau said Olofsson played “OK,” overall.
“I mean, there were a couple areas like everybody else where he made vital mistakes,” Boudreau said. “But we obviously had enough faith to put him out in the last minute.”
• The Wild will play the Blues in a preseason game on Sept. 19 in Des Moines.