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RandBall: Give Yeo some credit for Wild's winning streak

  • Blog Post by: Michael Rand
  • January 9, 2014 - 1:19 PM

 

We might never know exactly how hot Mike Yeo's coaching seat was last week when the Wild lost for the sixth consecutive time, but we can at least be comfortable with the term beat writer Michael Russo used to describe the coach: under the gun.

 

A decent-to-good start to the year had given way to a 5-12-1 stretch as the Wild fell from decent playoff seed to hanging on by a thread to on the outside looking in.

Yeo had stopped talking to players in the locker room during games, a sign that even he was out of answers.

One of his top forwards, Zach Parise was out. Josh Harding was facing a period of uncertainty that turned into a stint on the  ... and nobody knew yet that Mikko Koivu, Jared Spurgeon and Niklas Backstrom were also going to miss time in the next three games.

As such, if we were all ready to bury Yeo a week ago, we probably need to give him at least a little praise as the Wild takes an improbable three-game winning streak into a huge game with Phoenix tonight (the teams are tied for the final playoff spot with 51 points, though Phoenix has played three fewer games).

The Wild's three victories since the start of 2014 aren't exactly works of art. The win over Buffalo that started it was solid, but the Sabres are awful. The Wild was outshot 30-11 in a 5-3 win over the Capitals, somehow making those shots count. And No. 3 goalie Darcy Kuemper stole the shootout win at Los Angeles.

But they are three wins nonetheless, at far less than full strength, at a time when everything could have fallen apart. Make it four tonight in Phoenix and the praise for Yeo will have to grow.

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