Yeo has no time to relive glory days

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 18, 2011 - 12:50 PM

The Wild coach focuses on the present, not his Cup-winning days as a Penguins assistant.

Mike Yeo

Photo: Paul Sancya, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

You'd think the subject would make Wild coach Mike Yeo smile, maybe force a nostalgic right turn down memory lane. But Monday, after practice but a day before the Wild's game with Pittsburgh, Yeo wasn't about to go there.

Just another game, he insisted.

Just another quality opponent, he noted.

Just another step in the Wild's work in progress, he said.

"I'll be honest," Yeo said. "We're playing Detroit [or] we're playing Pittsburgh, whatever. We want to win hockey games."

Wow. Yeo probably has a steamer trunk's worth of experience tied to the Penguins organization. Not to mention a bunch of warm and fuzzy memories.

At 38, Yeo is the youngest head coach in the NHL. One reason he got to this point so quickly was the experience he gleaned out East. Yeo was a Penguins prospect who entered the coaching ranks after a knee injury ended his playing days. An assistant with the team's American Hockey League affiliate, Yeo came to Pittsburgh with Michel Therrien when Therrien was promoted to the Penguins job in 2005. Yeo stayed there for the next four-plus seasons, being kept on when Therrien was replaced as head coach by Dan Bylsma.

Yeo was an assistant on two teams that reached the Stanley Cup Finals, including the 2009 champions.

And yet there was a clear sense Monday that there was no time for reminiscing. Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher, who spent three years as assistant GM in Pittsburgh before coming here, made it quite clear he didn't want to talk about it at all. Yeo did, but he was clearly more interested in talking in his team now than he was discussing his past.

"Certainly I took a lot of strategic things from my time out there, both from Michel Therrien and from Dan," Yeo said. "But, as much as anything, I think it's sort of a winning culture that they've done a great job creating out there. Right from the top, from off-the-ice, the people who are working there, to the players on the ice."

But, you think, there must be more. Yeo exudes a confidence that exceeds his years, but he clearly has learned to keep an even keel. Perhaps some of that came during his time with the Penguins. There was a time during the 2008-09 season when, after a spike in blood pressure and related health issues, Yeo took a two-week leave of absence. Yeo was in charge of the Penguins' power play and was getting some heat. Yeo talked about that difficult stretch before training camp this fall. And he sounded like a fellow who had learned a lot about himself.

"I'm a pretty intense guy, but even my wife was surprised," he said. "I usually don't let things eat me up. I usually have a pretty good way of dealing with things. I do a lot more exercise now, I take medicine and I haven't had an issue since. ... I didn't do a very good job dealing with it. Internally, I have a better way of dealing with things."

Monday, though, Yeo was mainly interested in talking about what he's trying to create here.

"I learned from all my experiences there," he said. "I was in that organization a long time."

"I'm not trying to bring Pittsburgh [here]. Pittsburgh definitely has a winning culture there, and that's what we want to build here. We don't want to build Pittsburgh's winning culture here, we want to build the Minnesota Wild's winning culture here. And we have our own way of doing it. We have our own players. And we have great players. So it's up to us to find our own way of doing it.''

And tonight's game? It's just another opportunity to do that. But really, Coach, isn't playing your old team add a little extra spice to a regular season game?

"I'm not going to pretend that it wouldn't feel good to win that game," Yeo said. "But not because I was there, or anything before, but for our players' sake."

Staff Writer Michael Russo contributed to this report.

  • related content

  • Game Day: Wild vs. Pittsburgh

    Monday October 17, 2011

    Preview: Coming off an overtime loss to Detroit -- one in which it lost a two-goal lead -- the Wild...

  • WILD VS. PITTSBURGH

    6:30 tonight • Xcel Energy Center

    TV: Vs. (100.3-FM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 7:07 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
Washington 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Carolina 6:00 PM
Columbus
Pittsburgh 6:30 PM
Detroit
Montreal 7:30 PM
Chicago
Arizona 8:00 PM
Edmonton
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close