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Wild's Zucker shares reaction to Fenton firing

Updated: August 01, 2019 11:56 AM

Paul Fenton's firing on Tuesday caught a lot of people off-guard, that includes current Wild players like forward Jason Zucker.

"A bit of an odd time for it to happen, but it was something that Craig (Leipold) felt was necessary to happen," Zucker said before his game at Da Beauty League Wednesday night in Edina. "At that point timing doesn't matter."

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Owner Craig Leipold called Zucker to tell him about the decision before it was announced publicly. Fenton traded Nino Niedereitter, Charlie Coyle and Mikael Granlund late in the season and the Wild struggled after the moves. 

"I don't think it matters who the general manager is if your friends are being traded and the team is transitioning -  things are a bit off," Zucker said. "Things are a little bit different. It doesn't matter if it's Chris Stewart a few years ago or Charlie or Granny or Nino this year. You're still losing a teammate and a friend so it always throws things off a bit."

The Wild finished last in the NHL's Central Division with only 83 points in the 2018-2019 season. It proved to be the first and last season of Fenton's tenure in Minnesota.

"I think it was a lot of big changes, and it's tough for teams to manage sometimes," Coyle added. "There are tough moves to make.  There are key guys on our team and Paul brought in guys he thought were gonna be key parts to our team. You can't fault him for moves that he felt were gonna make us better. Ultimately Craig disagreed and didn't like what was happening and decided to go in another direction."

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