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

Cincinnati - LP: M. Latos 4 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: B. Norris 5
Boston - WP: J. Kelly 9 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: S. Greene 4
Detroit - WP: P. Coke 4 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Allen 2
NY Mets - WP: J. Niese 8 FINAL
Miami - LP: B. Penny 6
Philadelphia - WP: K. Kendrick 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: M. Minor 0
Toronto - WP: R. Dickey 8 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: J. Hellickson 2
Milwaukee - LP: Y. Gallardo 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 7
LA Angels - LP: C. Wilson 3 FINAL
Houston - WP: B. Peacock 8
Chicago WSox - WP: D. Webb 6 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: L. Oliveros 3
Texas - LP: M. Kirkman 1 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Frasor 2
Pittsburgh - LP: J. Locke 4 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: A. Wainwright 6
San Francisco - WP: G. Kontos 12 FINAL
Colorado - LP: M. Belisle 7
Seattle - WP: J. Paxton 6 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Gray 5
Washington - LP: D. Fister 1 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: C. Kershaw 4
Arizona - LP: B. Ziegler 1 FINAL
San Diego - WP: K. Quackenbush 2
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
Buffalo 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
New Orleans 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta
Minnesota 9/7/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Cleveland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Jacksonville 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Oakland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Cincinnati 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Washington 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Tennessee 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
New England 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Tampa Bay
San Francisco 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Indianapolis 9/7/14 7:30 PM
Denver
NY Giants 9/8/14 6:10 PM
Detroit
San Diego 9/8/14 9:20 PM
Arizona
Miami-Florida 13 FINAL
(25) Louisville 31
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(7) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(19) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(18) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(23) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(2) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Washington
(14) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(13) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(15) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(7) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(17) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(21) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(15) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(12) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(16) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(9) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(21) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(8) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(11) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Toronto 12 FINAL
Hamilton 13
Edmonton 13 FINAL
Calgary 28
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Minnesota 78 FINAL
Phoenix 96
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