If you were a paying stakeholder or happened to be watching at home on your couch, coach Mike Yeo shares in your pain, your aggravation.
Yeo, in a measured, composed manner, lit into his team after its 5-2 loss to Vancouver tonight to open a four-game homestand. Practice could be an interesting one Friday.
He spoke of players not willing to pay a price, battle, play the right way and players who want to continually try to outskill teams like Columbus, which boast Rick Nash and Jeff Carter, and Vancouver, which have the Sedins and Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows, etc.
“We flat-out stink the last two months. We stink,” Yeo said, his team 5-14-5 since Dec. 13 and now 10th in the West. “I’m concerned about the fact that we come into games and we don’t have enough guys when we should have absolute desperation in our game.”
The Wild had three hits in the first period, five shots through 30 minutes. It was dodging checks left and right, not putting in the second and third efforts, not throwing pucks on net, etc.
Just an aggravating game to watch. The power play, 1:40 in the zone in the second period, and one weak shot.
Yeo: “We’re 28th in the league in offense and you look at the goals that they scored: They have a point shot and a deflection, they have a point shot and rebound, 5-on-3 is a point shot and a rebound. And we still want to either skate the puck into the net or pass the puck six times to get the puck into the net.
“You’d think that we would look at a team that skilled and has scored as many goals and say, ‘Wow, they score goals like that, that might be a good idea for us to try it.’ Or we might say, ‘We we don’t have that much skill, it might be a good idea for us to do that,’ yet it’s tough to get that across right now.”
All year long, the Wild has to work exhaustedly to score while teams just do so, well, so, so, so easily against the Wild. Sure doesn’t help that Guillaume Latendresse and Pierre-Marc Bouchard are hurt and sitting up here with me.
The Wild’s scored five goals in four games now.
“When you have five shots halfway through the game, it’s not a good sign,” said Devin Setoguchi, who played with jump all night. “We didn’t have one for 20 minutes. You can’t expect to swing momentum when we don’t shot the puck.”
Matt Cullen had another tough game. Offensive-zone penalty, and he sure seems to be in the box a lot when the other team scores. He has one goal in the last 11 games and is minus-6.
Kyle Brodziak, maybe his worst game of the year. Minus-4, one shot, lost 7 of 8 draws. Nick Johnson minus-3. Nate Prosser a penalty that led to a 5-on-3 tying goal and minus-3. Justin Falk minus-3.
Just not a good game for a team with few answers after most losses. Yeo is certainly exasperated.
The frustration was apparent tonight. Cal Clutterbuck didn’t want to comment after the game, but just look at how many times he slammed the bench door shut. He got into his first fight in two years tonight (Maxim Lapierre, who was kicked out in the final seconds for spearing Brad Staubitz). He also tangled with Dan Hanhuis after the game, took a swing at him and watched as Kevin Bieksa threw his glove at him in a somewhat funny moment.
This team can be maddening at times. And as I’ve mentioned over and over, I don’t see what Chuck Fletcher’s able to do to fix things before the trade deadline. He’s not about to throw top prospects away for quick-fix rentals. A couple more losses like this, and it won’t even be in an option anyway. Fletcher could quickly find himself in sell mode.
Friday should be a lively practice. Yeo will be looking for a big response vs. Columbus on Saturday.
-- Canucks are 4-1 against the Wild this year. The Sedins have 17 points.
-- The Sedins have 27 goals and 107 points all-time vs. the Wild, yet tonight was the first time they scored goals in the same game.
--Daniel has a point in seven straight games vs. the Wild (13).
--Dany Heatley’s goal 13 seconds in was the fastest in Wild history, beating Matt Johnson’s 2003 record by eight seconds.
--Devin Setoguchi had a goal for the third time in 16 games and two points for the third time this season.
--Mikko Koivu returned. Thought the Wild was “right there.” Not kidding. Read his quote in the gamer.
--The Wild is 1 for 16 on the power play against the Canucks this year.