I’ve probably never had so many mixed emotions about a local coach as I have had about Mike Yeo.
He’s a bundle of admirable characteristics. He’s likeable. He’s about as honest as anyone in his profession. And he probably became an NHL head coach before any team other than the Wild would have even considered him.
To avoid irrational exuberance after the two best Wild games/game experiences I’ve ever witnessed, I’ll keep this simple:
Yeo, faced with a messy goalie situation and lacking any pure goal scorers, has had his team in position to win three of the four games in the series. In the other – the Game 2 loss – his team dominated the first period before crumbling.
I’ve been debating some of my 1500ESPN friends about Yeo. I can’t say I would have hired him. But I think he’s doing the job admirably.
The Wild’s energy level, defensive system and puck support have been outstanding. Young players like Mikael Granlund and Jonas Brodin have developed, and role players seem to shine when he calls upon them.
I think that has something to do with coaching.
Wrote about the Wild’s sheer dominance for my column.
Postgame, when I asked Zach Parise about Granlund’s three blocks in the final two minutes – one when he didn’t even have his stick – Parise gushed, ``That was awesome!’’
That sums it up.
Wild fans can be rather passive during the regular season. The last two games, and especially on Thursday, they created one the best game-day experiences in recent Twin Cities history. (At least the past four years.)
I had friends in the stands who said this is as good as its gotten at Wild games since their one playoff run.
Now we see if they can shut down Nate MacKinnon on his home ice, when Yeo doesn’t have the advantage of matching lines.
I love playoff hockey almost as much as I hate regular-season hockey.
Best moment of the night: When time expired, half the bench rushed to Darcy Kuemper for the traditional post-win goalie hug...and the rest of the bench rushed to envelop Granlund.
I'll b on 1500ESPN at 12:15 or so tomorrow with Mackey & Judd. I'll be in Colorado for Game 5, and will call in to Sunday Sports Talk, 10-noon on 1500ESPN, before heading back for Game 6.