Ken Hitchcock hoped to be the Wild coach, but he understands why it hired Mike Yeo and thinks it was the right move.
St. Louis Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong called at 3 p.m. on Nov. 6.
Ken Hitchcock was on the highway by 6:30 p.m.
The 59-year-old veteran coach, who took over the Blues that day, would have jumped as quickly in June if Wild GM Chuck Fletcher had called.
Fletcher instead went with now-38-year-old Mike Yeo. When Hitchcock missed on his chance to be the Wild coach, he wondered if his coaching career had officially ended.
"You know the way it works: Your time comes and goes," said Hitchcock, who got his first NHL gig in 1996 with the Dallas Stars and has won 540 regular-season games, 66 playoff games and a Stanley Cup since.
"You're not going to live in this malaise the rest of your life. I wasn't going to live my life waiting for the damn phone to ring."
Hitchcock felt he had a legit shot at the Wild job ... if Fletcher went outside the organization.
"I understand going local because that was me. I mean, Mike Yeo was me," Hitchcock said.
In 1996, Stars GM Bob Gainey could have gone 10 different directions to replace himself as coach. He went with Hitchcock, who spent 2 1/2 years with Kalamazoo.
Two years ago, Fletcher could have hired experienced Dave Tippett or Peter Laviolette. He went with Todd Richards.
This time, Fletcher chose Yeo, who had coached Houston for one year after being an assistant with the Pittsburgh Penguins for five, over more experienced Hitchcock and Craig MacTavish.
"I understood and respected that because in fairness, that was Ken Hitchcock in 1996," Hitchcock said.
Two months into Yeo's tenure, it looks like Fletcher has hit a home run.
Now, you can say it's early, and it is. But two months into Richards' tenure, many felt he was in over his head. Maybe it's unfair, but his blank face on the bench during games at least gave the impression he was overmatched and not in control. With Yeo, there's zero doubt who's running the bench, and his in-game adjustments have been stellar.
After games, Yeo can convey exactly what went right or wrong and can dissect plays, goals or breakdowns. He can explain it for the layman to understand or for the hockey expert to absorb ("the F3" should have been here, not here).
Richards had to "look at the tape."
Yeo's practices are up-tempo and difficult. He and his staff have the ability to take problems in games and create drills to address them. And when he needs to lighten the mood, Yeo gets the players howling.
Yeo just seems to have an incredible sense of the pulse of this team. In L.A. earlier this month after a blowout loss, Yeo said he was "embarrassed," how we'll really get to find out now how much leadership and character the Wild had, how "winners respond to adversity."
Yeo said: "I'm glad we play in less than 24 hours. Can't wait to see how we respond."
Before that subsequent game against Anaheim, Yeo said, "Maybe two weeks from now, we'll look at this and say, 'Thank goodness we got our butts whipped in L.A. and got reminded what we have to do night in and night out to be a successful hockey team.'"
If the Wild laid an egg, Yeo said a dozen things that could have been regurgitated to make the Wild look bad. But he had such confidence that the Wild would respond. By the end of the first period, the Wild led 3-0 and has been on a roll since.
Yeo's communication skills are impressive. His players adore him and play hard for him.
Simply, he's pushing all the right buttons. Wild players have bought in so visibly that even Hitchcock -- the man Yeo beat out for the job -- sees it and praises it.
"They've bought in to Mike Yeo's program," Hitchcock said.
|Golden State||16||1st Qtr 5:45|
|Oklahoma City||9:30 PM|
|Vancouver||2||2nd Prd 5:56|
|Arizona||3||2nd Prd 7:31|
|Montreal||3||2nd Prd 4:12|
|St. Louis||0||1st Prd 6:19|
|East Tenn St||73||FINAL|
|Winthrop||36||2nd Half 7:09|
|Delaware||56||2nd Half 7:27|
|Jacksonville St||48||2nd Half 4:25|
|Northeastern||56||2nd Half 3:04|
|Sacred Heart||74||2nd Half 7:50|
|Western Carolina||37||2nd Half 9:09|
|Char Southern||57||2nd Half 11:29|
|Western Ill||39||2nd Half 11;16|
|Nebraska Omaha||44||2nd Half 11:32|
|Radford||50||2nd Half 10:46|
|St Francis-NY||38||2nd Half 14:27|
|Wofford||50||2nd Half 7:05|
|Minnesota||55||2nd Half 10:56|
|High Point||58||2nd Half 9:58|
|Samford||43||2nd Half 11:29|
|Nebraska||41||2nd Half 7:49|
|Wagner||42||2nd Half 11:00|
|Mount St Marys||40||2nd Half 10:20|
|Houston||41||2nd Half 9:08|
|Vanderbilt||43||2nd Half 8:59|
|Chattanooga||47||2nd Half 10:35|
|Milwaukee||38||2nd Half 11:02|
|Coastal Carolina||40||2nd Half 11:13|
|Central Conn St||58||2nd Half 7:40|
|Ga Southern||36||2nd Half|
|SIU Edwardsville||10||1st Half 12:09|
|Green Bay||17||1st Half 8:17|
|Texas-El Paso||12||1st Half 7:50|
|FIU||15||1st Half 9:26|
|Rider||15||1st Half 7:41|
|Eastern Ill||2||1st Half 11:38|
|Charlotte||14||1st Half 8:17|
|North Dakota St||12||1st Half 6:25|
|Old Dominion||20||1st Half 7:58|
|TX-San Antonio||21||1st Half 6:58|
|UT Martin||18||1st Half 8:24|
|Fla Atlantic||23||1st Half 9:07|
|Northern Ariz||18||1st Half 10:14|
|Grand Canyon||19||1st Half 9:30|
|Utah Valley U||8||1st Half 11:10|
|Georgia State||7:45 PM|
|Tenn Tech||8:00 PM|
|Southern Utah||8:00 PM|
|Montana State||8:05 PM|
|UC Davis||9:00 PM|
|UC Santa Barbara|
|UC Irvine||9:00 PM|
|Cal State Fullerton||9:00 PM|
|Arizona State||9:30 PM|
|San Diego||10:00 PM|
|St Marys-CA||10:00 PM|
|Oregon State||10:00 PM|
|Long Beach State||10:59 PM|
|William & Mary||77||2nd Half 4:42|
|Coll of Charleston||42|
|Delaware||57||2nd Half 5:34|
|UMBC||17||2nd Half 17:12|
|UMass Lowell||60||2nd Half 6:26|
|Albany||50||2nd Half 6:52|
|Stony Brook||51||2nd Half 8:07|
|Boston College||46||2nd Half 12:00|
|(23) Syracuse||48||2nd Half 12:19|
|(16) Duke||40||2nd Half 10:50|
|Florida||31||2nd Half 12:14|
|NC State||36||2nd Half 11:49|
|(9) Florida State||55|
|Miami-Florida||52||2nd Half 7:10|
|LSU||39||2nd Half 9:24|
|(11) Miss State||33||2nd Half 14:48|
|(2) South Carolina||45|
|Fairfield||62||2nd Half 3:59|
|Marist||49||2nd Half 5:54|
|Quinnipiac||72||2nd Half 13:20|
|Virginia||51||2nd Half 9:45|
|(15) North Carolina||61|
|Pittsburgh||42||2nd Half 9:27|
|(4) Notre Dame||71|
|Ohio State||63||2nd Half 9:48|
|Massachusetts||48||2nd Half 9:41|
|(22) George Washington||51||2nd Half 10:43|
|Saint Louis||30||2nd Half 16:19|
|Wright State||65||2nd Half 6:25|
|Green Bay||56||2nd Half 8:00|
|Western Ky||67||2nd Half 8:30|
|Indiana||55||2nd Half 9:10|
|North Texas||36||2nd Half 11:31|
|Central Arkansas||33||2nd Half 19:22|
|Sam Houston St||22|
|SE Louisiana||36||2nd Half|
|Incarnate Word||13||1st Half 3:34|
|Stephen F Austin||20|
|Denver||21||1st Half 8:58|
|No Dakota State||20|
|IUPU-Ft Wayne||7||1st Half 7:59|
|IUPUI||13||1st Half 8:52|
|Lamar||21||1st Half 10:18|
|Western Ill||13||1st Half 10:33|
|South Dakota St||20|
|Missouri||0||1st Half 20:00|
|(12) Texas A&M||0|
|(13) Kentucky||24||1st Half 6:50|
|(20) Rutgers||14||1st Half 7:54|
|Southern Miss||10||1st Half 11:24|
|Wisconsin||17||1st Half 9:37|
|North Dakota||7:30 PM|
|Northern Colorado||8:00 PM|
|Eastern Washington||8:00 PM|
|(6) Tennessee||8:00 PM|
|(24) California||8:00 PM|
|(19) Stanford||8:00 PM|
|(7) Oregon State|
|Chicago State||8:00 PM|
|Utah Valley U|
|San Francisco||8:00 PM|
|Santa Clara||9:00 PM|
|Cal State Fullerton|
|UC Santa Barbara||9:00 PM|
|Long Beach St|
|Cal Poly||9:00 PM|