Wild coach Yeo agrees to multiyear contract extension

Wild forward Zach Parise called the coach’s contract extension “very well-deserved.”

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The Wild, which advanced to the second round of the playoffs this season because of a solid corps and promising young talent, will continue to grow with the youngest coach in the NHL.

Mike Yeo, 40, agreed to a three-year contract extension Saturday that is believed to total close to $3 million.

“Very well-deserved,” first-line left wing Zach Parise, who led the Wild in playoff scoring, said during a phone interview. “I think he did a really good job — [the entire coaching staff] all did a really good job — down the stretch for us, especially in the playoffs. I mean, we were really prepared. We knew exactly what to expect. We exploited weaknesses. It’s a big chess game, the playoffs. I think they did a really good job making adjustments on the fly. It was real impressive.”

The Wild will hold a news conference Thursday because Yeo, General Manager Chuck Fletcher, assistant GM Brent Flahr and a few other team executives traveled to Exuma, Bahamas, on Saturday for budget meetings at owner Craig Leipold’s getaway.

This is the precursor to organizational meetings that will commence June 9. That’s when the coaches, front office and pro scouts meet to evaluate the past season and prepare for next season.

“I am very excited to continue to coach the Minnesota Wild and pursue a Stanley Cup for the State of Hockey,” Yeo said in a news release. “Our fan support has been amazing and it went to a new level during the playoffs. We are all motivated to reward them.”

Yeo is 104-82-26 in three years with the Wild. This season, the Wild amassed 98 points, tied for the second-most in team history, and advanced past the first round for the second time in team history.

Every member of Yeo’s coaching staff — assistants Rick Wilson, Darryl Sydor and Darby Hendrickson, goalie coach Bob Mason and video coordinator Jonas Plumb — is also in the final year of his contract. Their statuses are expected to be resolved once Fletcher returns from the Bahamas.

Yeo, who was an assistant coach in Pittsburgh when Fletcher was assistant GM, won a Stanley Cup as Dan Bylsma’s assistant in 2009 and coached Houston to the Calder Cup finals during his only season there in 2010-11.

As a young, first-time NHL head coach, Yeo has made his share of mistakes, but Parise saw several examples of growth this season. It began before the season when Yeo reacted to last year’s first-round loss to Chicago and adjusted his system to allow the Wild to be less of a dump-and-chase team.

Late this season and into the playoffs, Yeo tinkered with his lines more and was more apt to make in-game adjustments and hold underperforming players accountable.

“There’s a lot of things you can tell that experienced coaches do,” Parise said. “Even things as small as tinkering lines when someone’s going and when someone’s not or the way they run the benches. I can only imagine how tough it’s got to be [for a young coach].

“And on top of that, people don’t think about how you have to control 20 personalities and 20 different egos and try to keep everybody happy and make everyone feel that their role is just as important as everybody on the team. They did a good job of that.”

Parise was impressed how Yeo and his staff kept the team from unraveling during a turbulent, season-long goalie carousel and after a six-game losing streak. With Yeo under intense scrutiny from critics as the calendar turned to 2014, the Wild went an NHL-best 14-4-2 in its next 20 games. During parts of that stretch, Parise, Mikko Koivu, Josh Harding and Jared Spurgeon were sidelined.

“We had injuries and we had some extended losing streaks, and they did a great job during those,” Parise said. “It could be a delicate thing how you react to a team when things are going like that. If you react the wrong way, it could go downhill real quick.”

In Yeo’s previous two seasons, his emotions fluctuated in postgame news conferences, displaying the pressure from game to game. This season Yeo remained even-keeled. Defenseman Ryan Suter made mention of Yeo’s level-headedness after the season’s completion. Parise did again Saturday.

“We saw the same thing in the room and on the bench,” Parise said. “Even though sometimes it felt like there were such ups and downs, it wasn’t such an emotional roller coaster inside the room.”

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    Friday May 30, 2014

  • Wild head coach Mike Yeo, seen here in January, agreed to a multiyear contract extension with the team on Saturday.

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Houston 1 FINAL
Miami 1
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Minnesota 7
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Detroit 4
Baltimore - WP: T. Wilson 10 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: S. Baker 2
Boston 9 FINAL
Tampa Bay 6
Toronto 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 8
Atlanta 5 FINAL
Toronto 3
Washington 2 FINAL
NY Mets 10
Chicago Cubs 5 FINAL
Cincinnati 9
San Diego 3 FINAL
Texas 2
San Francisco 9 FINAL
Seattle 8
Colorado 4 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 18
Cleveland 3 FINAL
Milwaukee 2
Oakland 10 FINAL
Chicago WSox 4
Los Angeles 5 FINAL
LA Angels 4
Kansas City 10 FINAL
Arizona 5
Atlanta 100 FINAL
Charlotte 115
New York 80 FINAL
Chicago 111
Golden State 108 FINAL
Milwaukee 95
Oklahoma City 89 FINAL
Utah 94
Denver 114 FINAL
Portland 120
Nashville 4 FINAL
Washington 3
Arizona 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
San Jose 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 2
Anaheim 3 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Boston 4
Tampa Bay 0 FINAL
Detroit 4
New Jersey 1 FINAL
Carolina 3
Florida 2 FINAL(OT)
Montreal 3
Ottawa 3 FINAL(OT)
Toronto 4
Los Angeles 1 FINAL
Minnesota 4
Columbus 4 FINAL
St. Louis 2
Buffalo 3 FINAL
Colorado 5
Dallas 4 FINAL(OT)
Vancouver 3
Arizona 78 FINAL
Wisconsin 85
Canisius 73 FINAL
NJIT 78
Notre Dame 66 FINAL
Kentucky 68
San Jose 1 FINAL
New England 2
Orlando City 2 FINAL
Montreal 2
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
D.C. 1
Sporting Kansas City 1 FINAL
New York City 0
Red Bull New York 2 FINAL
Columbus 1
Portland 1 FINAL
Vancouver FC 2
Colorado 0 FINAL
Houston 0
Seattle 0 FINAL
FC Dallas 0
Texas 54 FINAL
(1) Connecticut 105
Dayton 82 FINAL
(8) Louisville 66
(16) Duke 55 FINAL
(4) Maryland 65
Gonzaga 69 FINAL
(6) Tennessee 73

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