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Is Mike Yeo’s job on the line this season?

Aug 20, 2013, 3:55 PM EDT

Mike Yeo AP

Being a head coach in the NHL is a perilous job. Turnover is high and guys are constantly shuffled in and out of jobs. Being the coach of a team with high-priced talent and big aspirations means having all the pressure in the world on your shoulders to win.

That’s the position Minnesota bench boss Mike Yeo finds himself in.

Entering his third season on the job, Yeo finds himself at the helm of a team that’s looking for more offense but made the playoffs last season even in spite of those troubles.

After getting bounced by Chicago in the first round of the playoffs, however, some fans in Minnesota were hopeful to see Yeo replaced, especially with the host of coaching talent available over the summer. Instead, GM Chuck Fletcher brought him back for another year.

With expectations perhaps being unreasonably high amongst Wild fans, especially considering many of their players are still very young and they just made the playoffs for the first time in five years, getting on Yeo’s case about coaching them the “right way” might not work out.

Think of the changes the team has seen over the past six years:

  • Three different head coaches (Jacques Lemaire, Todd Richards, Yeo)
  • Three different systems
  • Very little development of their prospects (until recently)
  • Little free agency success (again, until recently)

Stanley Cup championships just don’t happen overnight and Yeo did get the team going in the right direction last year…

That said, the team got out to a flying start two seasons ago under him only to crash and burn in December. Last season, they slowed down towards the end of the season going 6-8-1 before the playoffs. Those kinds of streaks stick out in people’s minds.

Getting out to a hot start only to hit a wall two months in will cause heartache with fans again, only this time they’ll be angry and looking for answers.

  1. bdnnbd - Aug 20, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    …there’s three!

  2. endusersolutions2013 - Aug 20, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    One thing in his defense was last year was very atypical with no real training camp, no pre-season to build a synch with their pricy free agents. Only got to the playoffs on the basis of a tie-breaker with the fast closing Blue Js. The elbow to the head of Pominville by Dustin Brown near the end of the year did not help.

    This year, they do have that chance. And without measurable improvement, he will likely be out.

    For whatever it’s worth, I’d project them as taking 3rd in the central, thus not only making the playoffs but also avoiding the Hawks in the 1st series.

  3. tdrusher225 - Aug 20, 2013 at 5:15 PM

    You don’t want to keep changing systems and coaches, as well as making sure your minor league team is on the same page. However I don’t think Yeo’s dump and chase, hardnosed grinding style is an ideal fit. But he certainly deserved another year to prove he can make it work. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

  4. vstar1us - Aug 20, 2013 at 5:34 PM

    Yeo a hard nose dump and run, well if you play dump and run you will never win!
    It seems to me maybe the Wild should watch the Red Wings and maybe the Hawks to see how you pass and work the puck in the zone. Then they might want to watch the Hawks on how to keep the puck out of the zone.
    Never a good ideal just to slap the puck if you can’t score with it.

  5. vstar1us - Aug 20, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    Oh, I would crap can the Wild coach in a heart beat you just can’t have someone standing there looking like a idiot

  6. mnwildfan15 - Aug 20, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    The dump and chase has to go, the speed isn’t there. Yeo knows the players coming up because he coached them down in Houston, we just need to stop the end of the year skids.

  7. cameltoews - Aug 20, 2013 at 6:00 PM

    I agree, I am a ranger fan and that type of game did not work well for them in the playoffs. It did get them there the last few years but its not enough to win. Coaches have to be able to change game plans and not just stick to one style and not change. The game is fluid and always changing and the head coach has to be the same way.

  8. nolockoutpricks - Aug 20, 2013 at 6:53 PM

    his system is not dump and chase. if you have four guys standing at the blue line its kind of hard to skate the puck into the zone. on the other hand if they are giving you space and time to skate the puck in, that is what will happen. it all depends on how the defense is playing your team. now maybe in the past the wild might not have had the personnel to skate by the four guys at the blue line to soften them up but with all the new guys im hoping that will change this year. it just get so annoying hearing that yeos system is dump and chase and he needs to go stop.

  9. greej1938l - Aug 20, 2013 at 6:57 PM

    If its Wild day…where are all the articles!? theres only two…minus the intro…

    • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 20, 2013 at 7:57 PM

      Agreed, a whole lot more on some teams with a much lesser chance of making the playoffs, such as the Yotes.

      • wilbs1959 - Aug 20, 2013 at 11:54 PM

        Yeo will be gone by midseason and the Coyotes will go farther in the playoffs

    • nolockoutpricks - Aug 20, 2013 at 8:16 PM

      thats what i was thinking too. what do you expect in fly over country? no one cares about us

      • jcmeyer10 - Aug 20, 2013 at 9:41 PM

        My grandma lives in Minneapolis and I care about her. You Wild fans were nothing short of friendly and gracious in the Xcel Center.

        Not lost on me. I am disappointed too.

    • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 20, 2013 at 9:11 PM

      Ah, but they did find the time to release some REALLY important hockey-related stories today

      Rugby Canada adds Brian Burke to board of directors
      EA releases NHL 14 demo on Tuesday
      Former Habs coach Tremblay headed to court for DUI charge
      Sharks unveil new, slightly tweaked uniforms

  10. porkchopexpress1969 - Aug 20, 2013 at 9:18 PM

    Richards was a better coach then Yeo. All that talent, you barely make the playoffs then get killed by the hawks.

    • kalishatownsell11 - Aug 21, 2013 at 4:07 PM

      Richards didn’t do any better than Yeo did.

  11. ashtongronholz8 - Aug 20, 2013 at 10:37 PM

    Minnesota nice

  12. vstar1us - Aug 21, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    The reasons the articles are not there is because the Wild are a small market team in the ” State of Hockey”

    What a joke, as a Wild season ticket holder, I am ashamed by the lack of coverage and PR from the Wild organization there is. I post more about the Wild on my Facebook page than the Minnesota writers.
    Go Wild Go

  13. kalishatownsell11 - Aug 21, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    I just feel that Yeo needs to realize that dumping and chasing isn’t going to win you that much games let alone in the playoffs. He needs to practice on zone exits, zone exits are undoubtedly a very important aspect of hockey, and understanding them better may help lead us to better understand defensive performance. In the playoffs I saw how the Hawks were exiting the zone, and they were doing it very well by creating odd- man rushes, with speed, their defensemen being solid with the puck, and had more scoring opportunities. With very little dump and chase. Yeo needs to be coaching the zone exiting project if this team is going deep into the season, and deep into the playoffs. If Yeo does more zone exits than dumping and chasing, then this team could be likely be a great competitive team in the making. I hope Yeo practices this, because he is a very cool guy and still is learning, I think it’s fair to give him another chance. If not then we’ll see. This is a very talented team, Yeo just needs to use it right.

    • hockeyisgreat - Aug 21, 2013 at 5:27 PM

      No I disagree, Yeo is good as gone. Get a coach that has playoff experience and has won a cup, someone who knows what it takes to win a cup. Yeo has done nothing but ruin our talent.

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