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.

“A lot of guys were battling through things,” Yeo said. “It’s pretty impressive for them to lay it out on the line the way that they did.”

Still improving

Mikael Granlund broke through this season. Youngsters such as Coyle, Haula and Nino Niederreiter came on strong late in the year and in the playoffs. In exit meetings, Yeo plans to tell all his youngsters that he expects them to come to next fall’s training camp with the objective of becoming difference-makers.

“The real potential for growth in our team is our young players,” Yeo said. “As our young players continue to get better, our team will continue to get better. We play in the toughest division in the NHL. … Next year is going to be hard again. We should have higher goals, we should have higher expectations for ourselves, but we have to know it’s going to be hard.

“For me, it starts right now in the offseason, how you prepare, how you train. That’s your foundation for the season you’re going to have next year.”

Big goals

Yeo said he feels the Wild outplayed the Blackhawks and could have advanced to the conference finals. The Wild feels incomplete by not reaching its goal.

“We could have [won the Cup] this year. That’s the hard part for me. I know it’s hard, but we could have,” Yeo said. “We were playing great hockey night in night out, consistent hockey. Never perfect, but it never is. We’re playing the best teams in the league.

“I believe that we’ve taken some real steps toward that goal, but I’m also realistic that it’s really hard. It’s really hard. We should look forward to that challenge. That’s what makes it so great. That’s why one team’s left standing at the end of the year, and they’re happy and everybody else is trying to get that way.”

  • related content

  • Video: Wild’s Yeo talks about playoffs, next season

    Thursday May 15, 2014

    Mike Yeo had his end-of-the-year press conference Thursday afternoon at Xcel Energy Center. It came on the day the...

  • 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.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles - LP: B. Wilson 7 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Grimm 8
Detroit - WP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 2
Philadelphia - WP: J. Williams 3 FINAL
Oakland - LP: D. Otero 0
Toronto - WP: M. Stroman 6 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: C. Capuano 3
Arizona - LP: T. Cahill 1 FINAL
Colorado - WP: E. Butler 5
Boston - LP: R. De La Rosa 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: C. Tillman 7
Milwaukee - WP: Z. Duke 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: M. Melancon 0
Washington - WP: J. Zimmermann 3 FINAL
Miami - LP: J. Cosart 2
NY Mets - WP: J. Niese 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: M. Minor 2
Chicago WSox - LP: H. Noesi 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: C. Archer 3
Cleveland - WP: T. House 7 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: T. May 3
Seattle - LP: C. Young 1 FINAL
Houston - WP: D. Keuchel 10
Cincinnati - LP: M. Leake 4 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: J. Motte 8
San Francisco - LP: Y. Petit 2 FINAL
San Diego - WP: A. Cashner 3
Texas - LP: C. Lewis 5 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: J. Weaver 8
San Diego 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(13) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(11) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
North Carolina 41 FINAL
East Carolina 70
Army 21 FINAL
Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(21) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
SMU 6
Rutgers 31 FINAL
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 FINAL
Kansas 24
Utah 26 FINAL
Michigan 10
Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
Louisville 34 FINAL
FIU 3
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
(18) Missouri 27
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Minnesota 24
Texas State 35 FINAL
Illinois 42
Massachusetts 7 FINAL
Penn State 48
Georgia State 14 FINAL
Washington 45
Appalachian St 20 FINAL
Southern Miss 21
Miss State 34 FINAL
(8) LSU 29
Northern Ill 14 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Middle Tennessee 17 FINAL
Memphis 36
Utah State 14 FINAL
Arkansas State 21
Miami-Ohio 24 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Idaho 24 FINAL
Ohio U 36
Ball State 23 FINAL
Toledo 34
(14) So Carolina 48 FINAL
Vanderbilt 34
(4) Oklahoma 45 FINAL
West Virginia 33
Ga Southern 28 FINAL
South Alabama 6
UNLV 14 FINAL
Houston 47
Miami-Florida 31 FINAL
(24) Nebraska 41
New Mexico 38 FINAL
New Mexico St 35
(22) Clemson 17 FINAL
(1) Florida State 23
California 45 FINAL
Arizona 49
San Diego St 7 FINAL
Oregon State 28
(2) Oregon 38 FINAL
Washington St 31
Louisiana 9 FINAL
Boise State 34
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(20) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(23) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
(18) Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(14) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(8) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(9) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(17) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Vancouver FC 0 FINAL
Portland 3
Houston 0 FINAL
Philadelphia 0
New England 0 FINAL
Columbus 1
San Jose 0 FINAL
Montreal 2
Seattle 1 FINAL
Red Bull New York 4
D.C. 3 FINAL
Chicago 3
FC Dallas 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan

ADVERTISEMENT

Advertisement
Golden Gavel by Star Tribune

Countdown to great deals

Bid Sept. 21-29

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings do on Sunday in New Orleans?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close