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Michael Russo gives you complete coverage of the Minnesota Wild and the NHL

Russo: Mike Yeo fired as coach by the Wild

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Not long after Mike Yeo said he not “quitting on this group” and was “operating under the assumption” he would be the Wild’s coach on Sunday, General Manager Chuck Fletcher informed him he would not be.

A week after Fletcher said Yeo’s job was safe, the 42-year-old confirmed to me via text that he was fired Saturday night not long after the Wild lost, 4-2, to the Boston Bruins. With the team spiraling uncontrollably in the Western Conference standings, the Wild was swept in a three-game homestand for the second time in four weeks.

It has lost eight in a row overall (0-6-2), eight in a row at home (0-5-3), 13 times in the past 14 games (1-11-2) and 16 times in 19 games in 2016 (3-12-4).

“I’m a realist. You can’t lose every game and expect to think that there’s not going to be changes,” Yeo said after the game.

Yeo was 173-132-44 in parts of five seasons with the Wild. He was the league’s fifth-most tenured coach.

There was no immediate word on who would be taking over. Iowa coach John Torchetti has been an interim coach in the past with Florida and Los Angeles and won a Stanley Cup as an assistant with the Chicago Blackhawks. 

Mike Yeo news conference after 8th straight overall loss and home loss

Mike Yeo after today's 4-2 loss to Boston

I’m not going to try to pretend that that was good enough, that’s for sure.

Was that jittery, frustrated team? Everybody has nerves, everybody has emotions, good and bad, and you have to find a way to deliver, you have to find a way to play, and we didn’t

Are you worried this is going to cost you your job? “I’m a realist. You can’t lose every game and expect to think that there’s not going to be changes. I’m operating under the assumption that I’ll be the coach tomorrow, and I know what I’m going to do and it’s going to be something different from what we’ve done. That’s what happens. When you lose, you’re looking for a response, you need a response, and so you can try to, whether it’s change players, whether it’s change coach, whether you don’t do anything, you’re either going to get a response  from the group and you’re going to change things or you’re not and you’re not going to change things. And that’s what we need right now. We need a response because that was not good enough.

I’m disappointed in that game. Very. Very disappointed with that game. I thought we had three games where I thought the outcome could have been different. I thought there were three games where I thought that we were coming, and I was expecting a much different performance of our group today.

What changes will you make tomorrow? That’s between me and them

Pominville to the fourth line, then third: “A response, and he did. Wasn’t planning on playing him with Thomas and Haulzy there, but with the penalties, I wanted to give him a shift because Fonzie was killing. They drew a penalty, had a good shift in the offensive zone. Kept rolling with him, that group gave us the most offensive zone time and a little bit more sustained pressure than anybody else.

Microcosm giving up a goal 35 seconds after tying it? It’s almost more difficult to do what we are doing right now than it is to win a whole bunch of games. We just keep finding different ways to lose hockey games and tonight we give up a shortie, we give up a breakaway goal and we give up a 2-on-1 with a forward defending it. That’s not exactly a recipe for winning hockey.

Do you believe this core is still good enough? “I had a chance when we Mikey scored, you’re down two goals and we’ve got 30 seconds left, are we going to tie the game up? No. So I could have not pulled the goalie, but the message is pretty simple: I’m not freaking quitting here, and I’m not quitting on this group. I’m going to show some fight, and I believe in the group, but better start believing in each other and better start delivering.

Have they quit on you? I don’t worry about that. Those are things that are out of my control. I worry about the things that are in my control. Like I said, I know what I’m going to do tomorrow and I’m ready for that.

TV Listings

Local Schedule

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  • Gophers men's basketball at Iowa

    6:30 pm on BTN, 1500-AM

  • Iowa at Gophers women's basketball

    7 pm on BTN, 88.5-FM

  • Wild at Vancouver

    9 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Wild at Calgary

    9 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Gophers women's basketball at Indiana

    6 pm on 88.5-FM

  • Maryland at Gophers men's basketball

    7 pm on BTN, 1500-AM

  • Wild at Edmonton

    8 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Timberwolves at Memphis

    7 pm on FSN, 830-AM

  • Wisconsin at Gophers women's hockey

    7:07 pm

  • Wisconsin at Gophers women's hockey

    3 pm on BTN

  • New York at Timberwolves

    7 pm on FSN, 830-AM

  • Chicago at Wild

    2:30 pm on Ch. 11, 100.3-FM

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