He was promoted to head coach a month ago and — stop me if you’ve heard this one — the Blues have been all over the map ever since. They started 7-1 under Yeo, then had a five-game losing streak before snapping that with a win Sunday.
“I think we’re past that now,’’ Yeo said, when asked if there was any extra significance to playing the Wild. “I want to win the game for a number of reasons. I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a personal part of it, but I’d like this one for our team.”
So he thinks it’s in the past, but then says it isn’t. Got it.
The Blues could very well wind up as the No. 8 seed in the West, which could set up a first-round playoff matchup with the conference-leading Wild. That would be a terrifying scenario for some Wild fans, especially considering Yeo did his best work here in guiding two first-round playoff upsets while new Wild coach Bruce Boudreau has been on the other side of those upsets in previous stops.
To get there, though, St. Louis needs to stack up some points. Getting two of them against the Wild at Xcel Energy Center would be big — and hardly unprecedented for a former Minnesota coach facing his former team for the first time. Here is some recent history along those lines:
KURT RAMBIS: The former Timberwolves coach, who had a dismal 32-132 record in two season here, got another chance last season as interim coach of the Knicks. He compiled a 9-19 record, but one of those wins — the first one, actually — came Feb. 20, 2016 against the Timberwolves in Minnesota. Carmelo Anthony went for 30 points and the Knicks shot 50.6 percent from the field in a 103-95 win.
TODD RICHARDS: The Wild coach Yeo replaced found work with Columbus, taking over the Blue Jackets midway through the 2011-12 season. His first game against his old team was Feb. 7, 2012 — a 3-1 victory in Columbus. Richards and the Blue Jackets defeated the Wild again by the same score, this time at Xcel Energy Center, four days later.
KEVIN MCHALE: Another ex-Wolves coach came back to defeat his former team on Jan. 23, 2012, when McHale — then with the Rockets — led his new squad to a 107-92 victory at Target Center in his first try against the Wolves. Darko Milicic started for the Wolves, which should tell you a lot about Minnesota at that point.
FLIP SAUNDERS: A year after the Wolves dumped Saunders in the middle of the 2004-05 season, he landed with the Pistons and guided them to a 64-18 record. Among those wins was a 107-83 thrashing of the Wolves at Target Center on Jan. 24, 2006 — in the first game between the teams since Saunders switched benches.
DENNIS GREEN: Finally, we find a Minnesota victory in these battles against old coaches. Green brought his Cardinals to the Metrodome on Nov. 26, 2006 — his third season in the desert but his first meeting with his old team. The Vikings led 31-13 in the fourth quarter and held on for a 31-26 victory.