Mike Yeo 'still a bit bitter' about Wild's loss

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 16, 2014 - 10:23 AM

The end of the season came much too soon for Wild coach Mike Yeo.

The day (Thursday) and time (1 p.m.) didn’t escape Mike Yeo.

If the Wild had beaten the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday, the coach would have just been wrapping up his morning-skate availability at the United Center in preparation for a Game 7 rather than standing in front of the assembled media at Xcel Energy Center talking about what could have been.

“I wish we were playing a hockey game tonight,” said Yeo, the disappointment still in his voice and on his face after the Wild’s season-ending overtime loss two days before. “I’m still a little bit bitter.

“You wake up in the morning and you think, ‘OK, I’m on my way to work.’ You have a season. It’s long, it’s hard. There’s a lot of incredibly great emotions that go along with some of the tough parts, and then it just comes to a grinding halt.”

Yeo admitted that he has watched Patrick Kane’s winning goal “too many times over and over again” and joked that he’s “surprised I haven’t gone down there and broken the darn” partition that caused the fluky bounce that led to the Wild’s demise.

“There’s a lot of things to feel good about, but in the end, we didn’t win,” Yeo said. “I think it’s important that pretty soon here we start turning our sights toward next year.”

What’s next?

Expectations will rise next season.

On Thursday, players took their end-of-the year physicals, began getting their offseason fitness programs and started going through exit interviews with Yeo and General Manager Chuck Fletcher. On Friday, Fletcher and players will talk to the media before heading off their separate ways for the summer.

The contracts of the entire coaching staff expire June 30. That Yeo held his own news conference is evidence Fletcher wants him to remain coach.

They will meet next week to discuss a contract. Unlike three years ago, when Yeo was promoted from the franchise’s Houston farm team, this contract will require actual negotiations. Yeo’s first deal came when he was handed a three-year term and salary on par with rookie coaches.

In three seasons, the 40-year-old is 104-82-26 in the regular season and made the playoffs twice.

“There’s plenty of time to sort that out,” Yeo said of his contract. “There’s a lot of what-ifs and there’s a bit of an empty feeling that there was more hanging there for us. But what I want [the players] to take out of it is the belief that we can beat anybody. We have an end result in mind here, and that’s to win the Stanley Cup.”

Stepping up

The Wild scored only two goals in Games 5 and 6 against Chicago, both by rookie Erik Haula. Yet, in both games, the Wild outchanced the Blackhawks. It didn’t lose Tuesday because of a bad bounce off a stanchion. It lost because it didn’t capitalize on its chances.

The Wild’s season-long lack of scoring finish was an issue, but Yeo said, “We’re not sitting around just saying, ‘OK, we’ve arrived.’ As a coaching staff, we will take a hard look at our game and see the areas we need to improve.”

Yeo stood up for veterans Mikko Koivu, Jason Pominville and Matt Moulson, who combined for four goals in the playoffs, saying “it becomes tougher and tougher to score in the playoffs” and they were contributing in other areas.

He lauded his players for the price they paid. Charlie Coyle, for one, played with two separated shoulders. Yeo wouldn’t disclose any specific injuries, although Fletcher might Friday.

  • related content

  • 2013-14 Wild statistics

    Friday December 13, 2013

  • Instead of a Game 7, Mike Yeo and GM Chuck Fletcher began their exit interviews with Wild players on Thursday.

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Tennessee 7:25 PM
Jacksonville
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Atlanta 127 FINAL
Cleveland 98
Phoenix 111 FINAL
Charlotte 106
Dallas 117 FINAL
Detroit 106
Utah 105 FINAL
Miami 87
Orlando 92 FINAL
Boston 109
Brooklyn 89 FINAL
Toronto 105
Memphis 117 FINAL
San Antonio 116
Milwaukee 97 FINAL
Portland 104
Houston 115 FINAL
Denver 111
Indiana 100 FINAL
LA Clippers 102
Ottawa 2 FINAL
New Jersey 0
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 2
Dallas 2 FINAL
Vancouver 0
Langston 65 FINAL
North Texas 78
Delaware State 72 FINAL
St Francis-NY 64
James Madison 72 FINAL
Ball State 52
SIU Edwardsville 65 FINAL
Campbell 70
St Francis-PA 67 FINAL
Duquesne 52
North Florida 77 FINAL
Florida State 93
Catawba 69 FINAL
George Mason 99
Ferrum 48 FINAL
High Point 106
Hampton 55 FINAL
Illinois 73
Gardner-Webb 65 FINAL
Jacksonville 68
Longwood 60 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 71
Arkansas State 69 FINAL
Miss State 55
Tennessee 72 FINAL
NC State 83
NC A&T 55 FINAL
Ohio State 97
Manhattan 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 65
Robert Morris 57 FINAL
Toledo 83
Char Southern 58 FINAL
Wofford 64
Kennesaw St 90 FINAL
Youngstown St 84
Barber-Scotia 52 FINAL
NC Central 108
Detroit 70 FINAL
UCF 75
Liberty 70 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 73
TX A&M-CC 73 FINAL
Denver 83
Ark-Pine Bluff 61 FINAL
Houston 56
UT Martin 54 FINAL
Illinois State 64
Milligan 76 FINAL
Louisiana 115
Abilene Christian 44 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 83
USC Upstate 73 FINAL
Memphis 83
Alcorn State 56 FINAL
Murray State 94
Central Mich 80 FINAL
Northwestern 67
Georgia State 54 FINAL
Old Dominion 58
TX-Pan American 69 FINAL
Saint Louis 75
Ill-Chicago 46 FINAL
SMU 67
Texas State 60 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 66
SC State 39 FINAL
Texas Tech 101
Missouri State 70 FINAL
Tulsa 74
Chicago State 60 FINAL
Western Ky 75
Morehead State 50 FINAL
Green Bay 66
Northern Colorado 82 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 92
Winthrop 62 FINAL
Auburn 80
New Mexico St 55 FINAL
Baylor 66
San Diego St 62 FINAL
Cincinnati 71
Eastern Mich 46 FINAL
Michigan State 66
Loyola Marymount 58 FINAL
Stanford 67
Incarnate Word 82 FINAL
Grand Canyon 80
Northeastern 58 FINAL
Cal Poly 60
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New Mexico 76
Howard 45 FINAL
Pepperdine 53
Portland 73 FINAL
UNLV 75
CS-Northridge 56 FINAL
Oregon 79
Grambling St 38 FINAL
Washington 86
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Western Carolina 79 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 66
(21) Miss State 66 FINAL
Louisiana 51
(25) DePaul 109 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 84
Liberty 64 FINAL
NC State 67
Elon 77 FINAL
Campbell 51
Akron 73 FINAL
UCF 64
Richmond 77 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 67
Montana 70 FINAL
Seattle 64
(7) Stanford 46 FINAL
Chattanooga 54
Florida A&M 69 FINAL
Southern U 80
Oklahoma 72 FINAL
(13) Duke 92
Savannah State 56 FINAL
Auburn 62
Northern Colorado 43 FINAL
South Florida 84
Youngstown St 73 FINAL
Robert Morris 65
Siena 75 FINAL
Sacred Heart 65
Vermont 63 FINAL
St Francis-NY 61
(1) South Carolina 69 FINAL
Hampton 49
Fla Gulf Coast 91 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 46
Texas Southern 92 FINAL
Houston Baptist 80
Northwestern 88 FINAL
UNLV 84
NC A&T 70 FINAL
Appalachian St 72
NC Central 52 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 67
Drexel 50 FINAL
Quinnipiac 74
Cincinnati 52 FINAL
Northern Ky 66
Alabama State 53 FINAL
Georgia Tech 77
Morehead St 69 FINAL
USC Upstate 75
Arkansas State 59 FINAL
Kent State 44
American Univ 60 FINAL
Manhattan 52
UNC Greensboro 60 FINAL
St Bonaventure 78
Arkansas-Monticello 56 FINAL
Northwestern St 61
Prairie View 70 FINAL
Sam Houston St 51
McNeese State 59 FINAL
(3) Texas 76
Yale 90 FINAL
Wagner 65
Oakland 61 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 54
Eastern Kentucky 62 FINAL
Alabama A&M 56
SIU-Edwardsville 47 FINAL
Northern Ill 69
McMurry 25 FINAL
TX-Arlington 82
Portland 65 FINAL
Eastern Washington 72
North Texas 42 FINAL
San Francisco 60

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