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As Wild slump reaches six games, Koivu sticks up for coach Yeo

Jan 1, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

mikeyeogetty Getty Images

Remember yesterday when we wrote the Wild could really use a win? Well, they didn’t get one, falling 2-1 to St. Louis for their sixth consecutive loss.

Is it time for head coach Mike Yeo to go? Depends who you ask, but captain Mikko Koivu wasn’t willing to pin any of the team’s slump on the bench boss.

“It’s our job to play the game,” said Koivu, per the StarTribune. “It’s not systems, it’s not coaching. It’s on us. The system works. We have to be better. We didn’t change as players and a team in two, three weeks. We have it here. It’s a matter of how we execute. We can’t worry what’s going on around us. We’ve got to get better as a team, and we will.”

Koivu’s message was similar to the one general manager Chuck Fletcher gave recently, when he said: “If every time you have a five-game winning streak or a five-game losing streak you start to overreact either way, you’re going to be in trouble in this business.”

Still, it’s never a good sign for a coach when the local newspapers are listing his potential replacements.

Minnesota hosts Buffalo tomorrow and Washington Saturday.

  1. vstar1us - Jan 1, 2014 at 10:27 AM

    This will probably be the only comment this article gets, Minnesota may claim to be the State of Hockey but it may not really mean it for the Pro team the Wild. Yeo is not a head coach, the Wild ownership bought a lot of expensive players for Yeo to lead, well where is the leadership. The Wilds team “C” should be removed from Koivu, you see more leadership out of the two $98 million dollar men and Spurgeon. I am a season ticket holder that has invested a lot in the team as well as thousands of fans. As a fan in the ” state of hockey” it would be great to see some return on the investment. The Wild have some good to great players it is leadership they lack and if Mr. Fletcher does not do something now he and Yeo maybe looking for jobs again. I hope Wild ownership has a heart to heart with the GM.

  2. vstar1us - Jan 1, 2014 at 10:32 AM

    One more thing, Koivu should be sticking up for Yeo because he is not playing up to his potential either! Koivu could be so much more with a better coach, and the commentators saying the Wild is a defensive built team sounds great but if you can’t score and get scored on it really does not matter! A 2 to 1 game or a 4 to 1 game is still being beat.

  3. esracerx46 - Jan 1, 2014 at 10:32 AM

    For the most part I think Koivu is right no matter what team. If a team doesn’t have talent, the best coaches ever can’t help. This isn’t football where their is a whole playbook on trying to beat an opponent. This is hockey, where we have dry erase boards on the bench. Coaches help prepare a team for a game. Help players work on their own game. During the course of a game their is very little a coach can do to help a team win besides line changes and matchups.

    Sure some coaches are bad, some good, some wear out their welcome. Change is sometimes needed. But for the most part, coaches get fired to buy their boss/gm more time for themselves.

    • esracerx46 - Jan 1, 2014 at 10:48 AM

      For the record. I was speaking very generally. I don’t follow the Wild close enough to know if Yeo is a bad coach or not.

  4. lordfletcher - Jan 1, 2014 at 11:05 AM

    Simply. The wild are not scoring. They badly lack two elite level goal scorers. When your best forwards are 60-80 point set up men (for the most part), your going to lose more games than most. You can’t play shut down hockey each and every night.

    The wild getting a top 7 pick isn’t the worst thing. Just need to land a quality nhler that someday can score 40 goals.

    • esracerx46 - Jan 1, 2014 at 11:28 AM

      Didn’t Parise score 40 goals? A lot of playoff teams lack a guy that has scored 40goals. Very few have 2 guys that have done it in recent history.

      • lordfletcher - Jan 1, 2014 at 3:29 PM

        @ esracerx

        Yes, it is rare to see a club have two former 40 goal scorers. Off the top of my head the only team I can think of would be Pittsburgh.

        Just looking at the Wilds roster, they have very quality forwards, just not the type to me that can get it done on an every night basis (as for lighting the lamp). Most of our forwards either have double or higher the amount of assists than goals in a year and the other forwards are in their second year in the league and too much is realistically being expected from them.

        Just saying this club badly needs another shoot first guy that has 40 goal potential. Could that be someone that gets draft this year, maybe. Wishful thinking on a season that (again) has gone down the $hitter. sigh

    • polegojim - Jan 1, 2014 at 11:33 AM

      C’Mon fletch… they just bought two top guns and ‘had’ some youth coming up. It was all roses… now you say it’s ‘getting a top 7 pick’ and ‘landing a quality nhler’ – What’s up with that???

      I warrant to you that they don’t need to ‘land’ anyone… they need to get themselves a true Player Development system… theirs system is broken and they don’t have their active coaches aren’t making it any better.

      I think the Wild have exactly what they need…. on the ice.

      • lordfletcher - Jan 1, 2014 at 3:17 PM

        getting a top 7’ish pick is out of my control, just saying it is not the worst thing that can happen. Clearly, this year is more than likely lost and Yeo’s coaching career with the MN Wild will be over.

        Landing Suter and Parise was a major boost to this organization but that doesn’t guarantee instant results. Sometimes you just have a bad year. Look at a Anaheim for example…

        I agree there is a broken system somewhere within the walls of the X, but I can’t pinpoint what that is, luckily its not my job. The Wild haven’t scored goals in almost 7 years or however long it has been and with several different “systems”. This is a personal ordeal just as much as you can blame Yeo. Not saying Fletcher has made bad moves, he just inherited a horrible situation and has done very well as a rookie GM. If the Wild were able to add a cold blooded scorer, it would really benefit this squad greatly.

        I have no clue if my first post was clear, or even this one… still a bit foggy from last night.

        Cheers! :)

  5. rebekah319 - Jan 1, 2014 at 11:21 AM

    Why is it every time a team hits a road block Wild fans seem to just think taking away a letter on someone’s jersey is going to solve set problems? It amazes me how many times I have heard that I could win a prize for even keeping track. Mikko is the captain of this team for a reason and taking it away from him is not the answer so I do not know where Wild fans get off by saying just take the C away and everything will be better. Does not work that way. It does not matter who wears a letter on their jersey it does not change anything. You all rag on him when he does not say anything to the media ( which wild fans have not learned by now why he does not like talking to them) When he does say anything you bash him!! Did it ever occur to fans the problem is not all on Mike Yeo its beyond him. The Players need to look themselves in the mirror and take some responsibilty for what has happened during this bleak time. They got themselves into this they can get themselves out of it. So dear Wild fans stop bashing the Captain of the team just because he does not do what you want him to do! If you actually pay attention he is doing more than you know… I am sorry that you all just do not see that.

    • polegojim - Jan 1, 2014 at 11:43 AM

      Because Rebekah… it happens every year.

      Wild fans are tired of seeing the perennial situation and hearing the same excuses.

      Coaches coach, motivate, strategize and develop players… Yeo has done little of that.
      1) Which of those items do you think Mike Yeo has been successful with?
      2) What evidence is there – situations and names that show his success?

  6. joeyashwi - Jan 1, 2014 at 1:05 PM

    Lemaire brought a young expansion team deep into the playoffs. Yeo can’t get a talented team to reach .500. (Don’t fool yourself as OTL is still a loss)
    It might not be the players or the system but it is definitely the attitude and swagger not being brought out by good coaching. Not hiring Hitchcock is a mistake that will set this Wild team back for the next decade.

  7. mzwildfan - Jan 1, 2014 at 1:21 PM

    I keep ready and hearing everywhere of people talking about taking the “C” from Mikko or trading him. I really don’t understand this. He is, in my opinion one of the best 2 way players in the league. His defensive style of play, forecheck, and back check is something that is greatly underestimated. I think fans are too quick to jump on players and coaches when they are in a slump. Remember San Jose went on a 7 game losing streak and are still considered a top Western Conference team. Slumps, shutouts, losing by 4 goals to horrible teams all happen to every team. Personally I’m glad this slump is happening now rather than in April (last season). We just need to get hot! Pull out a 8 out of 10 streak and hope for a 5 -8 seed in the West

    • mnwild169 - Jan 1, 2014 at 4:34 PM

      I’m ok with your assessment of Koivu as a 2 way grinder. The problem is, they pay him as a 1st line center, they play him on the first line and he is a 2nd line grinder. This team needs a 1st line center-sniper in a bad way. I am ok with Koivu playing 2nd line with 2 vey good wings, but for Heavens sake, get us a goal scorer. Also, please rid this team of Rupp, Konopka, Mitchell, Heatley, Veileux, Brodziak, and for that matter Stoner. Also, if you have a smallish team that is not especially physical, why do we insist on a system of playing with the puck behind the net, cycling and grinding, and then turning it over. That works in Pittsburgh where you have a 6’3 Crosby, Malkin and some huge puck handling forwards who can bury the puck in the net. But Koivu, Pominville, and Granlund are going to get run over and then turn the puck over. YEO HAS TO GO!!!!!! PERIOD.

  8. rebekah319 - Jan 1, 2014 at 2:46 PM

    Mike Yeo can only do so much he can put information into every single guy on the team. Its up to the players to listen to him. He can force them to score goals on the ice, he cant force them to shoot on the ice. He can say whatever he wants does not mean the players are going to listen to him. Key word here is the guys on the ice have not taken one word in into what he has said. He can motivate them all he wants its up to them to clean their ears out and start putting words into action. Enough with the lack of motivation or the lack of growth in the young guys. The young guys are who and are not going to stop growing just because they are the ones not choosing to pay attention. It goes both ways. Wild fans honestly need to stop blaming set guy who is not on the ice to make them do things during the game. All Mike Yeo can do is tell them what they need to do and its up to the players to do what is said! End of discussion! Wild fan rants are the same over and over again I could write a book on very comment that has been said. If things were not bad right now and going good- I bet you 95% of the fan base would still be ranting about someone or something the team has done wrong- so my point is nothing is good enough for anyone here whether its the good times or the bad ones!!!!

  9. vstar1us - Jan 1, 2014 at 3:49 PM

    I am very excited that I started the string of comment that ruffed some feathers! I am a season ticket holder from Eau Claire, I love the Wild, but if you keep doing the same thing in and out every game and expect different results we are all kidding ourselves.
    I am not upset getting beat by teams overs 500, but when we get beat by teams the Gophers can beat it is very concerning. Yes the Yeo is the coach and he is not out there on the ice, but watch him in the box he just looks over his head. Koivu being one of the best two way players is a stretch not hating on him just say in’

  10. hennessey1200hp - Jan 1, 2014 at 4:01 PM

    So this is Coach Yeo’s magic fix……Heatly on the first line.
    Heatley-Mikko Koivu-Pominville
    Nino Niederreiter-Mikael Granlund-Zucker
    Matt Cooke-Coyle-Justin Fontaine
    Stephane Veilleux-Brodziak-Torrey Mitchell

    He should be fired for that alone. Time to move on from Yeo, Like Rick Spielman said we have the utmost confidence in our Coach, think that is what Leipold said this week. See ya Yeo. Rather see a bunch of youngsters that most these Veterans playing badly…

    • clarke16 - Jan 2, 2014 at 12:59 AM

      He’s trying to find some magic in the scoring chemistry…that’s what coaches do when their team isn’t scoring–and, as far a Heater goes…have you been paying attention? He’s been playing much better lately…

      Some of you are like a pack of old ladies whining at the yarn shop because them special yarn you ordered for little Jimmy’s sweater-vest didn’t come in in time for Christmas. Poor goaltending while Harding was out put the team in a funk and now they’re working their way out of it while suffering the loss of Parise. This team is still a couple of pieces away–but continue to move in the right direction. The coach isn’t the problem.

  11. rebekah319 - Jan 1, 2014 at 8:36 PM

    Again you all prove my point the complaining and the ranting never stops nothing is ever good enough for the fans. Its like someone does something it all sudden calls for a out burst! Heatley has to succeed somewhere on this team and if he is going to stay on this team until his contract is over you have to put him on a line where he can actually be successful. And second of all its not going to last long especially when Zach comes back so give it a rest!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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