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Wild believe they’re developing winning culture with Yeo

Jun 6, 2014, 3:41 PM EDT

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The Minnesota Wild held a press conference today to formally announce that they’ve inked head coach Mike Yeo to a multi-year contract extension. Even after three seasons with the team, Yeo remains the youngest head coach in the league at the age of 40, but the Wild are very happy with the direction he’s taking them in.

“We’ve started to create an identity of being a hard working, fast and resilient team,” Wild GM Chuck Fletcher said. “That has been very critical to our success, in establishing that identity.

“We’ve also become a team that’s won a lot of hockey games and we’ve done so while playing a lot of young kids — all of whom have developed nicely under Mike and his staff’s direction. We couldn’t be happier.”

Under Yeo, the Wild have posted a 104-82-26 regular season record and have made the playoffs in two of his three campaigns. They advanced to the second round of the postseason in 2014 despite losing starting goaltender Josh Harding and backup Niklas Backstrom for a good chunk of the season. Even third-string goaltender Darcy Kuemper dealt with injury problems during the playoffs.

Fletcher used that situation as an example of how Yeo has been able to handle distractions.

“I’ll never forget Zach (Parise), someone asked him about the goaltending in the playoffs, I think Zach’s quote was ‘we don’t even notice it anymore,’” Fletcher said. “I think that speaks to Mike and how he handled everything, from the losing streak in late December to a little bit of some up and down play in March, to the injuries, to losing Mikko and Zach at the same time, to the goaltending.

“Once we got into the playoffs, that Colorado series was a roller coaster and I think the team took on Mike’s demeanor. I think that helped up get through.”

Now that the Wild have won their first playoff series since 2003, the stakes are only going to be raised in Minnesota. Forwards Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu, and defenseman Ryan Suter are all in their prime, which means that the Wild have to establish themselves as serious contenders for the Stanley Cup soon if they want to take advantage of those players while they’re still at their best.

You can watch the full press conference below:

  1. purpleguy - Jun 6, 2014 at 3:50 PM

    Yeo is a good coach, really matured in the playoffs, and has a bright future, but lets be realistic — the Wild primarily now have a winning culture because they have an owner willing to spend money to sign FA’s (when many mid-market owners won’t) and a GM that has stocked the team with good, young talent.

    • clarke16 - Jun 6, 2014 at 4:28 PM

      Incorrect on this one, purpleguy… The examples in all four major sports are plentiful–spending money does not necessarily correlate to success… You really need look no further than the Washington Redskins to see that…

      Resources and talent acquisition are obviously huge…but the glue that pulls everything together is a head coach who can pull a room of men together–and have them PLAY FOR EACH OTHER– as ONE.

      That’s the difference between a team sport and individual sport…

      • 2dimesandanickelback - Jun 6, 2014 at 7:01 PM

        “Incorrect on this one, purpleguy… Resources and talent acquisition are obviously huge…”

        You can be the best coach in the world but if your talent just flat out stinks, most of the time you aren’t going to go anywhere. I know you always have to be right and put your 2 cents in, but c’mon. Purpleguy isn’t wrong on this one. The wild spent some money to bring in some high quality talent and a core of guys who want to win. When you have talent they can make the coaches look better than they are. If you want to see a guy who coached his AHL team to an incredible NHL season this year look no further than Detroit. If you think Yeo could have done that, then I’d argue you’re mistaken. Not to say Yeo is a bad coach, I just think that generally you give him a lot more credit than he deserves. I believe he will lead the Wild to many winning seasons in the future, but it will be behind the talent that has been brought in.

      • clarke16 - Jun 7, 2014 at 2:19 PM

        Believe whatever you want, my friend… Your view is certainly reflective of one without the insight of actually ever having *done* it, so let me help you out. A crappy chef delivers a crappy meal to your plate out of the finest ingredients. A great chef can take chicken sh!t and turn it into chicken salad…

        Like I said–resources and talent acquisition are huge–but coaching is where the greatest impact lies… When you’ve played for both types of coach with essentially the same squad you see things that maybe you don’t on X-box, eh? 😉

  2. yetidad - Jun 6, 2014 at 4:25 PM

    Although I was a doubter after living through the Todd Richards era (could there have ever been a more baffled coach in the history of the NHL than Richards iin MN??), I have come around on Yeo. I am willing to give him three more years of my confidence, especially if he stops favoring has been veterans like Heatley and Brodziak and makes total use of the Haulas, Coyles and Granlunds in his quiver of players. Good signing. MTC.

    • JoeAvg - Jun 6, 2014 at 5:04 PM

      “could there have ever been a more baffled coach in the history of the NHL than Richards in MN”.

      Pierre McGuire in Hartford.

    • homegrowntalentmn - Jun 6, 2014 at 11:01 PM

      2nd that on why he played heatley and brodziak. I want brodziak gone.. he’s got muscle but no smarts. The worst at break outs. And we all know about heatley…

  3. 950003cups - Jun 6, 2014 at 6:28 PM

    Not so sure about a winning culture. But it sure is an expensive one.

    • credible316 - Jun 6, 2014 at 9:41 PM

      We have the same cap as the rest of the league. How that pie is sliced up is up to the teams gm.

      You guys should have ALOT of cap space. Will we see any big moves out of Jersey?

      • fightingwild - Jun 6, 2014 at 10:51 PM

        I personally would love Zajac. He is great & fits well with Parise. Then Granlund, Haula & Koivu down the middle.

  4. homegrowntalentmn - Jun 6, 2014 at 11:05 PM

    Granlund fits with parise

  5. fightingwild - Jun 7, 2014 at 3:29 AM

    Once Yeo realized he was in charge of the team & not the veterans he improved. The turning point was when he benched Heatley & the team didn’t turn against him. I think he was actually afraid of taking a stand in fear that he would lose the team. Heatley of course handled it with class. Say what you will about him he is a team first player. Once Yeo realized that the rest was easy. He started actually coaching & making line changes in game. He is on a learning curve like everyone else. It was nice to see him improve.

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