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Wild GM gives Yeo vote of confidence: ‘Mike and the coaches are doing a very good job’

Feb 8, 2013, 4:03 PM EDT

Chuck Fletcher, Mike Yeo

With his team mired in a funk and criticisms of his coach mounting, Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher extended a vote of confidence on Friday.

“Mike [Yeo] and the coaches are doing a very good job,” Fletcher told the Minnesota Star-Tribune. “We’re giving up almost five shots a game less than we did last year and we’re doing a good job. We’ve got a lot of pieces to juggle in a short amount of time.

“We’re trying to find chemistry and frankly we can’t get caught up in the angst and outside opinions and reaction. We just have to stay focused and concentrate on doing a better job and executing at a better level.”

The Wild lost its third straight game on Thursday — 4-1, at home, to Vancouver — and has now lost six of its last eight.

Most distressing is Minnesota’s lack of offense. The team has scored just three goals in its last three games and averaged 24 shots per contest over that period.

The shots on goal total isn’t freakishly low (the NHL median is around 28 per game) but Minnesota seems to go through huge stretches of inactivity at key times.

In the third period of Monday’s 2-1 loss to Phoenix, the Wild put four shots on goal (when they were trying to rally to tie.)

In the first period of Thursday’s loss to the Canucks, the Wild had three shots (after a players-only meeting, the trade for for Mike Rupp and juggled/new-look lines.)

Fletcher said he’s not ready to hit the panic button over the lack of offense — yet. The Wild underwent a number of changes in the offseason, and he feels the talent level will eventually see more shots on goal and pucks in the net.

“We have too many good players for it not to turn,” he explained. “Obviously players are struggling with confidence right now.

“Things will turn, they always do. Players will play to their level.”

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  1. sonvar - Feb 8, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    A vote of confidence is never a good thing as it just means you’re one step closer to being fired

    • davebabychreturns - Feb 8, 2013 at 4:47 PM

      Needing a vote of confidence is bad. Needing one and not getting it is vastly worse.

  2. thecheeman - Feb 8, 2013 at 4:39 PM

    “Minnesota seems to go through huge stretches of inactivity at key times”

    this is why earlier in the year I described Zach as the most limited superstar in the league. He doesn’t create except on the power play or working along the boards. He doesn’t carry the puck up the ice, he can’t create his own shot with a man on him. Going into the offensive zone Zach is all about gaining good position, not working hard once you’re in that position. He’s not the kind of player who can snap a team out of the doldrums by just forcing the issue and getting an attempt off. Not to compare him with Rick Nash, but against the Devils the other day I saw Nash on a few occasions just decide to skate in on Brodeur, leaning into a defender who had good position on him to try and make something happen. He was able to get a few decent chances off and it can change the flow of the game.

    Now, I’m not blaming the Wild’s poor play on Zach, just making a point about the kind of offensive superstar Minnesota was getting for $98M

    • thecheeman - Feb 8, 2013 at 4:41 PM

      that should read “and working hard once you’re in that position”

    • spiciercheez - Feb 8, 2013 at 4:47 PM

      Not so sure about that…he leads the team in shots almost every single night….he creates more chances than anyone else on the team.

      • thecheeman - Feb 8, 2013 at 4:57 PM

        Link me a few highlights of goals that contradict what I’m saying. I’d be happy to look at them. Zach was always great on the power play, confident with the puck in space, but he just never created his own space. His positioning along the boards was unparalleled, and he could help create opportunities with his excellent cycling instincts, but he couldn’t just decide to take the puck and get off some kind of shot to break a poor stretch of offensive hockey. Also he couldn’t just decide to get the puck and create his own space to draw a defender and set up a teammate. Zach kind of makes plays within the game more than he can dictate how the game will be played.

    • nvandy42 - Feb 8, 2013 at 5:08 PM

      Zach is a consistent 30 goal scorer and one of the hardest working players in the league. watch him on the boards. you are an idiot. no offense. go watch a game. Effort shows up in more than highlights

      • thecheeman - Feb 8, 2013 at 5:42 PM

        Boy that’s a great point nvandy42. Maybe you heard them in my posts where I said Zach is all about getting position and WORKING HARD. Or where I mentioned his POSITIONING ALONG THE BOARDS WAS UNPARALLELED.

        I only formed my opinions being a multi-year Devils season-ticketholder though. Where did you get your Zach Parise expertise from?

  3. 950003cups - Feb 8, 2013 at 5:12 PM

    One trying Wild fans will start to notice about Zach Parise is that he gets shut down a lot. He’s a great PK guy. AMAZING!! Creates SH chances over and over.

    But outside the PK he gets knocked off the puck A LOT!! It’s pretty frustrating. But he comes at his defenders over and over. Never stops moving his legs.

    But for 100 million dollars. You by no means got a game changer.

  4. vindicatus - Feb 8, 2013 at 5:18 PM

    You mean Captain Second Place isn’t able to throw the Wild on his back and be a hero? Hmm no, never would have guessed that would happen!

  5. mnwildfan15 - Feb 8, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    The whole team needs to start getting the puck on net. 3 shots in the first is inexcusable. Look at what Van. did last night, the put the puck at the net which created rebounds that they were able to put away. The past couple years the team has been like this they keep looking to make cute passes, that always get tipped, instead of shooting. SHOOT THE PUCK 3 things can happen, the goalie covers it, there’s a rebound opportunity, or hmmm IT GOES IN!!!

  6. 950003cups - Feb 8, 2013 at 7:14 PM

    I’m quite surprised at the issues the Wild are having. Maybe your front office has issues knowing real talent. They threw 100 million at Parise and Suter each when guys like Kovalchuk, Richards, and Nash were all at one point available. They traded for Mike Rupp??? They benched a talented Zidlicky, who is doing great in NJ.

    They have no idea what they’re doing. They draft decent considering they usually have top picks in hand.

    Now your stuck with a cap that’s going down, and 15 million in cap space tied up in two players with young talent that will soon be up for signing.

    I’m sorry if I offend any Wild fans. But it’s true.

    One more thing.

    I’m not saying you won’t make the postseason. You should. But Zach Parise has yet to show any leadership or any clutch play in April.

    If its any consolation, your 3rd jerseys are my favorite in the NHL.

    • kalishatownsell11 - Feb 8, 2013 at 7:38 PM

      well @950003cups, the reason why that zidlicky was traded is because that he no longer wanted to play for the wild, he was frustrated and he wanted to be moved. So anyway zidlicky got what he wanted by wanting to leave Minnesota. And I guess flecther didn’t want to tolerate zidlicky’s attitude so he got what he wanted and I guess they’re all satisfied.

  7. atwatercrushesokoye - Feb 8, 2013 at 7:33 PM

    So does all this mean that the Wild fans are tapping the brakes on the Stanley Cup parade they were planning after the first weekend of the season?

    A team width as many youngsters as they have was sure to be a work in progress this season, that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world though it just means this season will be full of ups and downs while experience is gained before they finally take a bigger step forward next year and in years after.

    Not sure who the right coach would be for this team, I would think it would be a good teaching coach who prefers an uptempo offensive style.

  8. 950003cups - Feb 8, 2013 at 7:48 PM

    Wasn’t aware of how bad it was for Zidlicky. He’s good. There’s no question. But he sure takes silly penalties. Maybe that was the issue. He knew he was good, and coaching thought he was a liability? I can see that being real. But when he’s on, HE’S ON!

    That being said. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to persuade Suter or Parise to accept a trade. The harder part is the guaranteed signing money that would be picked up by another club. Unless you call the Flyers. They might be open to either Parise or Suter. They went for Zach earlier and are in dire need of a top damn in Suter. You need to free up one of them.

    The Wild are in danger of becoming the Philadelphia Eagles of the NHL.

  9. duckmcnuggets - Feb 8, 2013 at 9:23 PM

    You overpay for pure scoring– you don’t overpay for scrappy offensive players who fight hard for position and grind it out in the zone. Parise is a fantastic player, but his style of play does not command his cap hit. Things might be better once they get Heatley’s contract off the books. Everything @thecheeman has pointed out is spot on. These are things we Devils fans noticed, and why we felt better about the Kovy deal.

  10. greatminnesotasportsmind - Feb 9, 2013 at 2:01 AM

    It amazes me how much Parise is getting hammed on here but such idiotic morons who apparently haven’t watched one Wild game.

    How is Parise over paid at his cap hit? The same player who leads the team in goals and most likely shots. He’s the captain of the team. Koivu does have the “C” but Parise is eventually going to have it.

    Instead of making statements with no knowledge, maybe you should really look at who’s not living up to their cap hits. Such as Heatley, who by the way, has the same cap hit as Parise. Heatley I don’t believe has taken 1 shot the last 2 games. He appears to be a shell of his former self. Don’t let his goal numbers fool you. He scored 2 during the season opener. He appears to be unengaged and seems to have a touch of only playing when he wants to.

    Maybe look at how over paid Clutterbuck and Brodziak are with their cap hits compared to their production this year. The same players who got contrast extensions with Yeo behind the bench. Or maybe you should look at what Setoguchi has done this year. This is the same clown who couldn’t score in the ECHL earlier this year. This tells me it’s more on the players than Yeo.

    As far as the trade went, are we really nit picking on a trade at involves a 4th liner? I suppose no team in the history of hockey has ever made a small trade when they were slumping.

  11. williplett - Feb 9, 2013 at 2:31 AM

    Of course, bitter Devils fans have made this comment thread into another chance to bash the guy who spurned their team. Parise has been a point a game guy through his first ten games, a majority of Wild fans seem ready to make him the new captain based on that small sample size and there are still 38 games left to be played in the season.

    Sour grapes and a solid first ten games don’t make good wine, Devils fans. Lets see what happens over time.

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