Minnesota Wild enter season with renewed optimism

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- A new coach and new offensive weapons have helped create a new sense of optimism for the Minnesota Wild.

All are necessary after the team missed the playoffs last season for the third straight spring.

Before acquiring new talent, general manager Chuck Fletcher needed a new bench boss because Todd Richards was let go after two unsuccessful seasons. Passing on veteran coaches such as Craig MacTavish and Ken Hitchcock, Fletcher opted for Mike Yeo, who led Minnesota's AHL affiliate in Houston to the Calder Cup finals.

On the ice, Minnesota scored the fifth-fewest goals in the league last season (203), a number that should improve with the acquisitions of Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi in separate trades with San Jose.