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Updated: March 12th, 2013 3:23pm
Granlund ‘too important to us to have him sitting here and not play'

Granlund ‘too important to us to have him sitting here and not play'

by John Heidt
1500ESPN.com
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St. Paul, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild announced Tuesday they've reassigned forward Mikael Granlund to the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League. Coach Mike Yeo made it clear it's just a move to help the youngster.

"Kids have to play. The lineup we have now, they deserve to go out there again." Yeo said. "As an organization he's too important to us to have him sitting here and not playing. We need to make sure he's on top of his game and continues to develop, play important minutes and play an important role." The coach adding later, "It's just a step in his development."

The coach said that same kind of development is what's making young Jason Zucker a better player.

"I think when he came up he was a bolt of energy, then there was a bit of a drop. His last couple of games for me he's gotten back up to that level."

Learning the game has been a part of Zucker's growth.

"Learning how to compete, to be consistent at this level, it requires a lot more than skill or just speed," Yeo said. "You know the way you think the game, the way you prepare, compete and battle, these are things that he's learning and because of that his game has been stronger as well."

Confidence growing

The Wild have been playing well enough the last month to move atop the Northwest Division with the Vancouver Canucks.

Tuesday morning, Zach Parise said the team is feeling it.

"I think we're playing with a lot more confidence, a lot more authority to our game." The Wild's big free agent signing said. "I think we're starting to get that expect-to-win mentality, so that goes a long way."

With a 13-9-2 record, powered by a recent 9-4-1 run, Parise said a win Tuesday night against Anaheim would be big. "We want to maintain where we've gotten in the standings. We want to stay up there, so winning three in a row would be big for us along with the confidence we've been building up."

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