Nothing could’ve prepared interim coach Dean Evason for the whirlwind 36 hours that followed him accomplishing his lifelong dream of becoming an NHL head coach.

It started on Friday morning when former head coach Bruce Boudreau was abruptly fired by general manger Bill Guerin, continued on Friday afternoon when Evason had to hurriedly game plan for his first game, and culminated on Saturday night with the Wild suffering a 2-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks at Xcel Energy Center.

While it certainly wasn’t the result Evason wanted, he latched onto the fact that he once again felt at home behind the bench.

“It just feels so good,” Evason said. “It’s so much fun watching the guys work. It’s exciting for me. Hopefully what we do in practice (translates) to the rest of our games.”

In that sense, Evason was extremely grateful to have a few days before the game against the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night at Rogers Arena.

Not only does it give Evason a chance to catch his breath, it gives him some extra time to further establish his message, which is predicated on accountability and communication.

“Those are the two words we’ve focused on,” Evason said. “That’s what we’re asking from our group. As a former player, and then as a coach, I think players want that. They want to be communicated to even if it’s negative. They want it straight up. They also want to be accountable and want to hold their teammates accountable.”

That’s something winger Marcus Foligno noticed right away now that Evason’s voice is more prevalent.

“Just hearing his voice a little bit more and getting direction from him has been great,” Foligno said. “He’s been positive and come in here with a great attitude. I think the guys are really responding to what he has to say. I think the biggest thing he’s preached is accountability and that’s what it’s going to take to get over the hump.”

There likely won’t be many changes stylistically. It’s way too late in the season to install new systems.

That said, according to winger Mats Zuccarello, the Wild might benefit from a different voice moving forward.

“Obviously it’s no fun when someone loses their job,” Zuccarello said. “It’s just that sometimes change can be healthy. I think it’s been so far, so good, and the boys are responding well to him. We just need to win games.”

That’s the type of pressure the Wild are feeling amid playoff push in the gridlocked Western Conference. There’s no time for any drop off with only 24 games left.

Not that Evason wants his players putting too much pressure on themselves.

“We were able to do some stuff in practice today and then to have the day off tomorrow,” Evason said. “It’s a good thing to get away from the rink. There’s a lot of times it’s like hockey, hockey, hockey. Sometimes it’s good to get the heck away from hockey for a little bit.”


Eric Staal did not participate in Sunday’s practice after falling awkwardly during Saturday’s game against the San Jose Sharks.

“It’s nothing serious,” Evason said. “Just a maintenance day.”

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