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Wild coach Yeo to players: Don’t feel sorry for me

Jan 2, 2014, 12:06 PM EDT

Mike Yeo AP

The Minnesota Wild have lost six straight games. That by itself is a bad, but not terrible thing for the team. The real problem is that with more than half the season in the books, the Wild can’t be happy with where they are right now.

They’re four games behind Phoenix in the battle for the second Wild Card spot despite the fact that the Coyotes have played in three fewer contests. That’s a significant gap for the Wild to overcome in a season where they were expected to not only to make the playoffs, but go on a decent run once they got there.

So naturally it’s led to speculation about Wild coach Mike Yeo’s job security, especially given that this is the final campaign of his contract. He’s aware of that and so are his players, so he decided to talk to them about it on Wednesday.

“‘I don’t want anyone feeling sorry for me,'” Yeo recounted to the StarTribune. “‘What I want is for you guys to know I still believe in this group and you’re going to see that I’m still going to come in here and I’m going to coach not to try to save my job, I’m going to coach to try to give us a chance to get things going, get back on track and get back in the playoff race and keep building toward our ultimate goal.'”

Even still, captain Mikko Koivu felt the need to stick up for the bench boss yesterday.

The Wild will face the basement-dwelling Sabres tonight, minus Buffalo’s leading scorer, Cody Hodgson. It will be particularly demoralizing if they lose this one.

  1. lowenni - Jan 2, 2014 at 12:37 PM

    At least he’s handling it with class, trying to keep his team focused. He’s not feeling sorry for himself, not pointing blame, he’s still trying to win games. Those comments could win him a longer look as coach, very admirable.

    If Minnesota doesn’t make it past the first round of the playoffs this year (or just misses it altogether), I expect Yeo will be fired however.

  2. rgledz - Jan 2, 2014 at 12:59 PM

    Yeo is a good dude. I have respect for him, just don’t think he’s the guy right now. If he goes, I would like Laviolette behind the Wild bench.

  3. clarke16 - Jan 2, 2014 at 1:12 PM

    Yeo is a solid coach. The team is still lacking a couple of key pieces and he’s done well with what he has been given to work with.

    Many fans are, of course, ignorant. They see a team in a slump and they immediately think *fire the coach* Problem solved, right? In reality this slide started when Harding went out and Backstrom just can’t stop the puck well enough to allow a team like this who needs an additional goal scorer or two to consistently win…especially with Parise out. Now that Harding is back they are trying to regain the confidence and mojo they had going…and it will return. Why? Because Yeo is handling this exactly as he should. I see through this some impressive reasons why Yeo should stay–and all the arm-chair team captain’s fire their torches, reach for their rope and herd the mob of all the other idiots who similiarly lack true understanding of the game. Ho-hum…

  4. joeyashwi - Jan 2, 2014 at 2:53 PM

    A slump? Do you watch the Wild? They absolutely can’t score to save their lives and do not make any adjustments from game to game, much less period to period. There never seems to be a sense of urgency on this team and it starts with the coach. It is safe to say that many coaches in the NHL could do more with this team than Yeo has. He constantly fiddles with lines and doesn’t allow the team to get any kind of chemistry. Slump? Yes, they have been in a slump since inception and it needs to end. The honeymoon is over.

    • clarke16 - Jan 2, 2014 at 7:14 PM

      LOL! Good laughs. First you say that Yeo *makes no adjustments from game to game or period to period* then in the next breath you castigate him for *constantly fiddling with the lines.*

      Ahhhh–yeah… You humor me, son. Learn the game and come talk to me again… I’ll give you another chance to not look silly…

    • mp1131211 - Jan 2, 2014 at 7:35 PM

      You do know that the Wild started the year near the top right? Its a slump.

  5. rebekah319 - Jan 2, 2014 at 3:25 PM

    If every wild fan is angry at this team currently right now then don’t watch. No one is forcing you to turn your TV on or to go watch a team that just upsets you. Its on the entire team to turn this around tonight or the aftermath will not be good at all! Its on all of them so stop pointing such fingers on one guy! This is on them and fans can complain all they want but you cant change the results. Your complaining does not do anything but make yourselves mad. So I suggest you all cool off and think about what you go too or turn on to save your anger. You either support your team through hard times or you get off the wagon. I leave the choice to you!

    • mp1131211 - Jan 2, 2014 at 7:33 PM

      The exact same thing could be said about you and getting your back up about Wild fans. Again. If you don’t like to hear what varying Wild fans say, then don’t read the comments section. Especially when its negative publicity because, predictably, it will be complaints. Like every sports team’s fans’ comments.

  6. greatmiamisportsmind - Jan 3, 2014 at 12:48 AM

    For those who don’t think coaching changes mid season don’t work. Look at Florida. When Dineen was fired, the Panthers were 3-9-4. Since Horachek took over the Panthers are 12-11-2.

    When Dineen was fired, the Panthers were scoring 2.1 goals a game. Since Horachek took over they are now scoring 2.4 goals a game.

    When Dineen was fired, the Panthers were giving up 3.38 goal a game. Since Horchek took over they are now giving up 3.03 goals a game.

    When you add up the goal differential between the 2 coaches, it’s nearly .75 goals a game combined better for the Panthers.
    When the Sabres fired Ron Rolston they were 4-15-1. Since Nolan took over they are a little better 7-11-1.

    When Roston was coaching they scored, 1.6 goals a game. Now slightly less at 1.3 goals a game.


    When Rolston was coaching they gave up 3.15 goals a game. Now they give up 2.5.

    Combine those the Sabres are a better .3 goals a game better combined.

    • clarke16 - Jan 3, 2014 at 2:34 AM

      Yeah? Now give me the numbers on all the times it turns out about the same or worse…

      Throwing change at a problem when you lack understanding of what the nature of the problem is–is called s t u p i d…

      It’s really quite simple. You only replace the coach when existing problems related to COACHING go unaddressed. That’s not the problem as of now here…

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