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Wild coach Yeo: ‘This was another important step for us’

May 10, 2013, 1:33 AM EDT

MIke Yeo AP

The Minnesota Wild entered this season amid elevated expectations after signing forward Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter to matching 13-year-old, $98,000,000 contracts over the summer.

This is also a team that failed to make the playoffs in their previous four campaigns and finished 12th in the Western Conference in 2011-12. The additions of Suter and Parise were huge, but it’s not like they were joining a team on the cusp of greatness.

This is still a growing club and with that in mind, Wild coach Mike Yeo can see the silver lining even after being eliminated in five games by the Chicago Blackhawks.

“This was another important step for us, and even feeling this feeling that we feel right now,” Yeo said, according to the Star Tribune’s Michael Russo. “This is going to help us.”

Minnesota has some decisions to make over the summer. They already have $55,812,201 committed to 17 players, according to Cap Geek, so they’re not in a great position to make another big splash.

All the same, 35-year-old netminder Niklas Backstrom is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent, so the Wild need to address that situation. Otherwise they’ll enter the 2013-14 campaign with a tandem of 23-year-old Darcy Kuemper and Josh Harding.

The Wild also have several young players that might take a step forward in 2013-14, but perhaps the most notable is 21-year-old forward Mikael Granlund. The expectations surrounding him were high going into this season, but he wasn’t able to make a seamless transition to the NHL. Perhaps next season, he’ll be a difference-maker for this club.

  1. northstarnic - May 10, 2013 at 1:44 AM

    Who’s more likely to be gone for next season, koivu or yeo?

    • 19to77 - May 10, 2013 at 2:22 AM

      Backstrom.

    • rsmaggiemae - May 14, 2013 at 1:49 AM

      Yeo should go… Koivu is untouchable in minn, dont know why, didnt show a thing in the play offs… granted Yeo did not have the top notch players but on the other hand he has made some huge mistakes in his coaching that cost the Wild games with the Blackhawks, the Oilers, Flames and Blues… I was at the Oilers game and when I saw his decision to put his 4th line out againt thier 4th line instead of the Wilds first line, I left the game, and it was only 2 minutes into the game. the Wild lost 6-1 and if we had won, we would have faced the Canucks in the playoffs…
      the owner passed up Hitchcock, Tippit, La Violette for Yeo 1 1/2 years ago, so I wonder how the Wild would have made out with one of those coaches…

      I have never heard any of the Wild players say in any interviews, how much they love the coach and his system and with him as coach went this far.
      Ottawa’s players think the world of thier coach.
      I am sure if Yeo does not do well in the opening of the season, he will be gone with Fletcher as he traded Hackett and Larrson to the Sabres, and he gave up way too much for Pomanville, as we now need a goalie,… and Fletcher said he would never trade the upcoming youth but look what he did…
      Koivu in my opinion needs a change of scenery… he is stuck ….
      he should not be captain of the team, as he is very stoic and I cant imagine him getting the players up for a game.
      I want a coach like Herb Brooks, who got the best out of every player at every position for every game, one who gets mad, throws the table at the players …
      Yeo does nothing at a game… but stand there and stare.
      I did not renew my season tickets when I found out Yeo was coming back.
      Heatly should be bought out when he is well enougH, Bouchard will go, and Cullen is getting old at almost 37…. so there will free up money for other players.
      I would also get rid of Brodziak, Gilbert, Clark, Spurgeon and Setogucuccvi, as they did nothing in the playoffs…
      Everyone talks to highly of these players but i just dont see it.
      and Mr Lennon-Mikael Granland is a waste of money, he will never play in the NHL TOO SMALL and its too fast for him, he should go back to Finland where is is a star like john lennon, and play there.
      bring up Haula from the farm team and see what he can do…, cant hurt..
      I have spent so much money on the Wild and was so disappointed. not that I thought they would win the CUP but that they would play much better and get inspired for the game, but I saw nothing like that at all.

  2. noozehound - May 10, 2013 at 2:26 AM

    I dont understand why all the hate for Yeo. He’s a 2nd year coach, who had, basically, a brand new team with tons of players who had never played together before. He had 5 rookies start through out the year. There are a lot of things he can learn on, but he has an incredibly young, talented team around him. Rome wasn’t built in a day, freaking out and cutting Yeo loose after this season is a terrible idea.

    • ray2013 - May 10, 2013 at 2:52 AM

      I think it was a tough year for coaches. If you were a new coach, or added a bunch of new players, you didn’t have enough prep time, in my opinion.

    • dtrb10 - May 10, 2013 at 4:01 PM

      So did Todd Richards

  3. 950003cups - May 10, 2013 at 2:38 AM

    Backstrom totally dogged it woth his fake fake “tweak”. Yeo couldn’t get a real game going with guys like Pominville, Parise, Suter, Setoguchi, Koivu, Bouchard, and Heatley. I say KICK HIS CARCASS OUT OF THIS LEAGUE!!!

    How could you keep that epic failure?

    • credible316 - May 10, 2013 at 6:52 AM

      Aren’t there some Devils playoff articles you could be posting in? Oh wait, nevermind!

      Stick to make up, tanning and steroids.

    • howiehandles - May 10, 2013 at 1:18 PM

      Too bad, unless you played that roster on EA 13, they wouldn’t have beaten the Hawks this year. Plus, he didn’t have all those guys for the series…but thanks for paying attention.

    • mnhockey24 - May 10, 2013 at 4:29 PM

      did you read the story about backs having a sports hernia so much for his “faking it”

    • gooterbaby - May 10, 2013 at 4:34 PM

      Backstrom is having surgery to repair his “tweak” sports hernia…Heatley was out of the playoffs because of shoulder surgery and Pominville barely played because of a concussion. You are BRILLIANT!!!

    • 950003cups - May 10, 2013 at 7:15 PM

      WOW! You hicks are dumber than you look. Do any of you hillbillies know what a “sports hernia” is or do you hear some fancy medical term and oggle over your team. Let me clue you cheerleaders in on something the rest of the free world is in on. A sports hernia is a broad term describing pain in the lower abdominal or upper groin region. Which is kind of like saying low back pain, it gives you no real information, but just tells you where the pain is located. Blame the nature of this injury for its vague definition.

      A sports hernia MAY be slightly more painful than an regular hernia, but the sports hernia doesn’t go through the abdominal wall.

      Surgery is the only sure method to CONFIRM a diagnosis. In Backstrom’s case, he could’ve worked through it. He’s not some nerd in law school. He’s a professional athlete. Unless the pain was unbearable, which I don’t really buy in to because of all the circumstances and timing involved.

      Just because someone is getting surgery, doesn’t mean he actually has it. He may not have faked the injury but he certainly could have exaggerated the pain. I believe he dogged it.

      For this lesson, I ask that you all donate to one of the many NHL sponsored charities in the name of Mr 950003cups. Thank you, and try not to leave the country if possible. You’ll embarrass the rest of the USA

      • 950003cups - May 10, 2013 at 7:25 PM

        You didn’t believe me when I said the Parise is allergic to ice in April.

        You didn’t believe me when I said these two contracts are going to haunt you when the cap goes down, and your younger RFA’s need to be compensated for each of the next 12 years.

        You didn’t believe me when I said Yeo doesn’t have a staple system in place to win with the all star (I’m not kidding) roster you currently have.

        And.

        You didn’t believe me when I said Backstrom was dogging it because he knew he would choke and was afraid of getting shelled right before FA

        I should charge you people for this, but I’m a charitable man, so just donate to one of the charities I mentioned and we’re even

  4. lofty35 - May 10, 2013 at 3:11 AM

    Cups, you’re an idiot. Backstrom has a sports hernia. I’d love to see you do anything with that kind of injury

  5. hammerhead5573 - May 10, 2013 at 6:55 AM

    @950003cups. Ok you are embarrassing hawks fan everywhere. You can keep thinking backstrom dogged” it all you want but breaking news for you. He is having hernia surgery. Give it up bro. The hawks were the better team and would have won with or without backstrom in net. There would have been absolutely no benefit for him to dog it. What you are tryin to sell, no-one is buying. I’m a hawk fan and am certain he didn’t tank it just to save face.

    • chicagobtech - May 10, 2013 at 9:33 AM

      950003cups is not a ‘Hawks fan.

  6. martysbetter - May 10, 2013 at 8:23 AM

    There’s nothing quite like paying $98 million dollars for a player who goes for 1G 0A and a -7 in the playoffs.

    But apparently getting knocked out in the first round of the playoffs is a victory for Wild fans, so congrats guys!

    When’s the parade?

    • polegojim - May 10, 2013 at 8:48 AM

      Exactly Marty… that’s the point.

      Total SPIN by Yeo to save his job… you don’t spend 200 MIL on Parise and Suter to win 1 playoff game…1 game??? Plus having Koivu… Setoguchi… Heatley.

      You don’t bring in ALL those guys for a long term rebuilding effort… this was a complete FAILURE.

      • ignath - May 10, 2013 at 9:12 AM

        Anyone else noticing a trend of butt-hurt fans crying about the Wild’s acquisitions over last summer…seems like they are always coming from the teams that the 2 all-star players either came from (Devils, Preds) or were “projected” to go to (Pens, Wings)…tears like sweet, sweet nectar.

        On Yeo, he’s done an exceptional job pulling a team of young players together with the 2 new acquisitions in order to make the playoffs. Remember, the Wild came in with 0 practice together, a new 1st line, new 1st D pairing and NO OFFSEASON to speak of…also starting multiple rookies or 2nd year players. Also, remember the season before this one, where the Wild led through the halfway point until INJURIES completely decimated them (similar to what happened in the last few weeks of the season/post season this year….lost Heater, Pommer, Backstrom, Cullen was out for a couple weeks, etc…). Yeo should not have to worry about his job at all…best coach the Wild have had in a long time…certainly better than the man he replaced.

        Your ridiculous inference that the Wild were expecting to make a full run at the cup this year and that this effort of bringing those guys in was a failure is completely and totally off the mark polegojim…much more off the mark than saying the Wings will need a full rebuild in a season or 2. Wild have their pieces in place now…a full offseason to practice together and have the system down before the season starts will do wonders I believe.

        Any rational and/or sane fan should have expected to see the Wild bounced in R1…at least they pulled off a win, unlike the loser Canuckleheads (and against an arguably better team than the Canuckleheads played)!

      • wingsdjy - May 10, 2013 at 9:23 AM

        I was definitely disappointed that Suter went to the Wild, but on the plus side the Wings won’t have to blow up their roster to stay below the cap next year.

      • ignath - May 10, 2013 at 9:39 AM

        And the Wild will likely not need to either wingsdjy. Wild have 3 pretty large contracts that will be coming off the books next year (Backstrom, Heater, PMB) and a majority of the talent we have now is young. The Wild will certainly not have to “blow up their roster” next year to pay for Suter and Parise.

      • wingsdjy - May 10, 2013 at 9:53 AM

        Heatley still has another (overpaid) year on his contract.

        If the Wild resign Backstrom for anything close to what he made this year ($6M cap hit), that leaves them a whopping $2.5M to resign/replace: Bouchard, Cullen, Clutterbuck, McMillan, Clark, Falk, and Spurgeon. Those guys were a combined $11.8M cap hit this year.

        The numbers do not look good unless you buy out the last year of Heatley’s contract.

      • ignath - May 10, 2013 at 10:11 AM

        >Heatley still has another (overpaid) year on his contract.

        Agree completely that it’s overpaid…and I know he’s got 1 year left. It has been an assumption from most things I’ve heard/read that Heater will likely be bought out in the offseason. We’ve got much younger talent to bring up to replace him (in fact, Coyle is doing a pretty good job of it already, for MUCH cheaper).

        >If the Wild resign Backstrom for anything close to what he made this year ($6M cap hit), >that leaves them a whopping $2.5M to resign/replace: Bouchard, Cullen, Clutterbuck, >McMillan, Clark, Falk, and Spurgeon. Those guys were a combined $11.8M cap hit this >year.

        With Harding’s performance this post season, the noticeable swap to Kuemper for the last 2 periods last night (when I didn’t think Harding wasn’t really doing that bad), and the large cap hit that is Backstrom…I think the Wild move away from him as well. Those 2 contracts (Heater and Backstrom) pretty much make up that $11.8M right, plus I don’t think some you’ve mentioned (Bouchard for one) will be back in a Wild sweater next year anyway.

        >The numbers do not look good unless you buy out the last year of Heatley’s contract.

        Again, think Heater’s gone…

      • wingsdjy - May 10, 2013 at 10:15 AM

        Fair enough. Maybe “blow up” was a poor choice of words, but they’ll definitely have to make some roster changes in the off-season. Time will tell if it’s for the better or not.

      • polegojim - May 10, 2013 at 4:17 PM

        You’re very very wrong ignath… completely and totally.

        Your comment consists of a TON of apologetic crap.

        The Wild stars were HEALTHY all season long.

        I can’t argue that Wild fans expected less… but rational and educated Hockey fans know better.

      • rsmaggiemae - May 14, 2013 at 1:53 AM

        I agree with you 100 percent

    • williplett - May 10, 2013 at 9:08 AM

      “There’s nothing quite like paying $98 million dollars for a player who goes for 1G 0A and a -7 in the playoffs.”

      How about making it to the Stanley Cup finals and then falling to last place in your division the next season? There is nothing quite like THAT, is there? That is why two or three bitter Devils fans have been acting like sad little trolls since their own season collapsed. Don’t let the dim present and future outlook of your own squad turn you into haters, guys.

      • idonthavethebloodyoucrave - May 10, 2013 at 9:27 AM

        Your team has made it past the first round of the playoffs ONCE. ONE TIME! The rest of the time they either missed the playoffs altogether or got bounced in the first round.

        I don’t have a horse in the race but a Wild Fan trying to talk trash to a Devils fan, who’s team has been to the big dance .. what .. 20% of the time in the past 20 years? And has three Cups to show for it?

        The only thing I’ve seen Devils do on these boards is point out that the Wild overpaid for a good regular season player who goes “No Show” during big games and the playoffs. Which they were right about and WERE PROVEN RIGHT ABOUT AGAIN.

        1 Goal, 0 Assists and a NEGATIVE Twelve for a player with a cap hit of 7.5 Have fun with that year in and year out. Good regular season player but they didn’t call him “No Show” in New Jersey for nothing.

        Wild Fans, Get some perspective.

      • thecheeman - May 10, 2013 at 11:03 AM

        I’m a butthurt Devils fan who posted a lot early in the year about Parise. It sucks the Devils missed the playoffs this year, I wish Zach was still on the team, I’m totally reveling in Zach’s failure I’ll admit.

        HOWEVA everything I and other Devils fans said about Zach was absolutely true. I didn’t call him a playoff choker or anything because you can spend your life calling a guy that and then one year they go all Lebron or A-Rod in 2009 on you. He is however a star player with some significant limitations to his game, he’s not a superstar and he can never be the type of offensive player who you get on his back on a deep playoff run. Kovalchuk is that type of player and if we had to keep one I’m glad we got Kovy (with a better cap hit!)

        So yes Wild fans expect us Devils fans to gloat in your face for a day or two despite our pathetic season.

        Also the Devils have made the finals 5x in the last 18 seasons. that’s a 17% cup winning percentage and a 28% finals achievement rate.

        You can throw missing the playoffs this year in our face but we didn’t take your players so I don’t know why you’d be so bitter at Devils fans for throwing some Parise truths at you.

  7. joeyashwi - May 10, 2013 at 8:25 AM

    Nice post hammerhead. I agree, the Blackhawks were by far the better team. As a Wild fan I truly hope we get better next year or our division record is going to be brutal. Backstrom played 42 games this season. That’s way too many! No wonder he was running on empty even the last couple weeks before the playoffs.
    I watch the Wild on offense and we have three guys behind the net with nobody to pass to in front. I watch the Hawks and they always have somebody in front of the net. Are the Wild players out of position or is that the “scheme” they are using? If it’s the scheme, Yeo should be fired. Good luck Blackhawks! You deserve the cup this year.

    • howiehandles - May 10, 2013 at 1:20 PM

      Be patient. The Wild’s best years should be ahead of them.

  8. jessejames182 - May 10, 2013 at 10:59 AM

    Yeah the devils didn’t make the playoffs, but barely making it in on the last game of the season after spending 200 million isn’t much to brag about. And signing the type of contracts that caused the lockout just before the lockout is pretty cheap too.

    • spiciercheez - May 10, 2013 at 11:22 AM

      Caused the lockout? Dohkay bud.

  9. gdeli - May 10, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    Should this coach be fired? probably. Rookie defenseman gives up the puck in a no look dump, mega buck suter to slow to catch up to play, just bad play. harding wasn’t able to catch up. The wild are screwed.

  10. quizguy66 - May 10, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    Parise averaged just under -$1 million per +/- in this year’s playoffs :)

    -QG

  11. 950003cups - May 10, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    Praise? Ha!

    Wild fans, we welcome you to the playoffs. Hope you enjoyed your brief stay. See ya in another seven years!

    LOSERS! Now go choke on some fried Walleye! I need to go tanning and juice up on some steroids.

    • spiciercheez - May 10, 2013 at 4:54 PM

      Mmmm good call on the walleye!! Sounds pretty tasty..LOSER

  12. 950003cups - May 10, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    Now… I want you all to kneel down, lower your heads, and recite these words:

    “Lord Cups, you were right. We embarrassed ourselves by doubting you when you said ‘Parise will disappear in the post season’ please accept our humble apologies”

    I’ll wait… :)

    • profsudz - May 10, 2013 at 1:22 PM

      Guys on their knees in front of you is something that occurs a lot in your life isn’t it?

  13. 950003cups - May 10, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    @Profsudz

    Why are you assuming all of the Wild’s fans are male? If that’s true, that’ll explain why they threw 100 mil at a handsome postseason choker.

    I’ll bet, for 200,000,000 you kind of expected more than winning one game.

    A word of wisdom to my fellow losers in the Land Of 1000 Floods. Change those home jerseys. They’re ugly and bad luck. NJ had the same color combination and the team sucked. They went to Red N Black and haven’t stopped rockin’. Just saying.

    • comeonnowguys - May 10, 2013 at 3:24 PM

      They used their green and gold “thirds” for both home playoff games. And they were awesome. Make those the home sweaters and change the away sweaters to match the dark green and gold. Great look.

    • spiciercheez - May 10, 2013 at 4:57 PM

      It’s 10,000.

  14. northstarnic - May 10, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    They haven’t stopped rocking? Actually, I think they stopped rocking on the last day of the regular season.

  15. northstarnic - May 10, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    But regardless, you and your spray tan are correct. The Christmas sweaters are awful.

  16. northstarnic - May 10, 2013 at 3:40 PM

    My perspective on Yeo is that he should be given at least one more year. A carousel of coaches where they are swapped out every couple years is no recipe for success. Getting to the playoffs, as ugly as it was, can be considered progress. And any knowledgeable hockey fan knew that this year was all about progress for MN. The wilds have a young core that did some great things this year and will only improve. Some of the chaff will be separated out this year and the vets and young’uns will have time to grow together. Yeo should also be considered part of this team’s young core. He is learning on the job and hopefully picked up some valuable knowledge, particularly in these last 5 games.

  17. kingsforever - May 10, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    Well they made the playoffs and they haven’t for a awhile. Step in the right direction

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