Lulls grab Yeo's attention

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 20, 2011 - 8:21 AM

The Wild coach reacted quickly and early to his team's lapses, calling for his players to maintain maximum effort.


The Wild won its home opener, but players such as Dany Heatley and Matt Cullen (left) are now hearing coach Mike Yeo demand more consistency.

Photo: Tom Wallace, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

First-year Wild coach Mike Yeo said he expected this.

You know, the mid-period lulls. Or the sleepwalking -- Yeo's word -- that characterized the first period of Tuesday's loss to an injury-depleted Pittsburgh team.

Yeo doesn't like it one bit. And he promises it will change.

Still, he expected it.

"I knew, to start the season, there would be some inconsistency in our game, whether it's game-to-game, whether it's within the game," he said. "I know that's our toughest challenge as a group -- how do we approach every game with the right urgency, mindset and focus? ... I didn't expect it to happen overnight. That's something you build."

Everyone with the Wild, which has lost four of five, would like the construction process to move quickly. And while the team has pulled a point out of a couple of those losses, the bottom line is that Yeo is seeing too many lapses in execution.

After an overtime loss to Detroit Saturday, Yeo lauded his team's effort. But it sounds as if effort might have been part of the problem in Tuesday's loss.

"For me, effort is a more than skating in a straight line," Yeo said. "It's the second effort and third effort you show me. If you're in on a forecheck and they move the puck somewhere else do you say, 'My job is done?' or do you stay on the hunt, keep pursuing and tracking. ... It's jumping on a loose puck and taking a hit to make a play. It's making a hard play, winning your one-on-one battles. And I don't think it was at the level we needed last night."

But Yeo resisted the temptation to take it out on the players during practice Wednesday. It was a crisp, but brief, workout that focused on breaking out of the defensive zone cleanly and hitting the offensive zone at high speed.

Yeo talked with several players on-one-one during the practice. Yeo said he believes the Wild attack has lost a lot of its speed in recent games and hasn't had the puck in the offensive zone enough.

After practice, he said the players had a "bit of snarl" to them.

"We were a little upset with ourselves, and for me, that's real important," he said.

Snarl perhaps, but not frustration.

"Sometimes we don't work as smart as we need to, in terms of staying with the system and being sharp," center Matt Cullen said. "We just were not sharp [against Pittsburgh]. We have to be crisp in order to get to our forecheck. That's been the issue."

Yeo said solutions won't come overnight.

"We're asking a lot of the players," he said. "And to think you can come in a flip a switch? It doesn't happen. You're changing habits. But it will come. I know that. I know it."

Given the Wild's upcoming schedule, it better happen sooner than later. The Wild plays at Vancouver on Saturday, returns home to play Anaheim, then has a home-and-home with red-hot Detroit.

"We have to be prepared to play the right way," Devin Setoguchi said. "When we're doing that we're as good as anybody in the league. It's just the consistent effort, sticking to a game plan, preparing to start games the right way."

Yeo said it will be a process.

"No team in the league plays their game well for 60 minutes," he said. "But how do we recover from that two-minute span where we've gotten away from it? How do we get back to our game when we've had a bad first period? We have to eliminate the bad games, then eliminate the bad periods, then start to minimize the amount of time things aren't going well."

  • related content

  • Wild-Edmonton game preview

    Wednesday October 19, 2011

    The Wild has lost four of five and Edmonton has lost three of its past four games.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Brooklyn 109 FINAL
Boston 107
Cleveland 98 FINAL
Orlando 89
Indiana 109 FINAL
Detroit 119
Milwaukee 107 FINAL
Atlanta 77
Houston 117 FINAL
Memphis 111
San Antonio 90 FINAL
New Orleans 97
Charlotte 75 FINAL
Oklahoma City 98
LA Lakers 98 4th Qtr 0:00
Dallas 102
Minnesota 84 4th Qtr 7:34
Denver 84
Philadelphia 37 2nd Qtr 5:49
Portland 48
Phoenix 47 2nd Qtr 4:43
Sacramento 44
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 31 4th Qtr 14:06
UCF 13
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
(15) Arizona State 12/27/14 1:10 PM
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite pro sports coach in the Twin Cities?

Weekly Question