Wild: 'If someone messes with one of us, they mess with all of us'
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- It seemed like a fairly inconsequential sequence in the grand scheme of things. Not to Minnesota Wild coach Bruce Boudreau, though, and certainly not to defenseman Christian Folin.
ST. PAUL, Minn. - It seemed like a fairly inconsequential sequence in the grand scheme of things. Not to Minnesota Wild coach Bruce Boudreau, though, and certainly not to defenseman Christian Folin.
A mere 56 seconds into Thursday night's game against the Boston Bruins, Minnesota-born right-winger David Backes took a run at Wild left-winger Nino Niederreiter, slamming him head-first into the boards.
In that moment, instincts took over for Folin, who immediately jumped Backes.
"It happened so fast. I honestly wasn't even thinking," Folin said. "I saw what looked like a dirty hit and felt like I needed to do something. I was the closest guy, so I jumped in. I'm sure Nino would've done the same thing for me."
That is exactly the mentality Boudreau has been preaching since taking over as the Wild's head coach. Regardless of the two-minute minor Folin was tagged with, Boudreau was one of the happiest people at Xcel Energy Center.
"The coaches love that. The players love that," he said. "If we want to be successful as a team, we have to have our brother's back, so to speak. To see him jump in so quick, with no hesitation, it was great."
Boudreau has managed to foster that familial dynamic across the team, and while it's not fair to say it wasn't in place before his arrival, it's certainly been more conspicuous this season.
"We are a family in here," right-winger Charlie Coyle said. "If someone messes with one of us, they mess with all of us. ... It's nice to see us sticking up for each other and not letting that stuff go unnoticed."
As Niederreiter recalled laying facedown on the ice following the Backes hit, he said, "it meant a lot" to see Folin jump in without thinking twice.
"It shows that we play as a team," Niederreiter said. "It's little things like that make a huge impact. ... That is what we need to be successful. If someone is in trouble, they have to be able to count on someone else to help them out."
Although parts his coaching style are predicated on that mentality, Boudreau doesn't spend a lot of time preaching it. "They know when they have to do it," he said.
Coyle, who has gotten into a few kerfuffles this season, agreed.
"I don't think he has to say too much in here," Coyle said. "We aren't a big fighting team by any means. That said, we play tough and physical. And we'll step in when that stuff arises to show other teams that we aren't going to take that."
So would Niederreiter have jumped in for Folin had the roles been reversed?
"Absolutely," he said. "I'm not a fighter. At the same time, if someone is a position like that, I have no problem going in to help them out. We have to be able to count on each other."
Boudreau hadn't spoken to Folin about that particular sequence, and the defenseman didn't expect him to.
"We talk a lot about being a team," Folin said, "and I think those things are what goes into that."