Wild riled, but still can't find the answer

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 20, 2012 - 6:43 AM

Mike Yeo and his players are angry and frustrated after their 15th loss in 17 games, failing on all levels against Toronto.


Toronto goaltender Jonas Gustavsson makes a save on the Wild's Dany Heatley.

Photo: Frank Gunn, Canadian Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

TORONTO - Mike Yeo was asked Thursday morning if he was stressed to wake up and see the Wild outside the top eight in the West for the first time in 11 weeks.

"Nope," the coach said. "It's not how you drive, it's how you arrive."

But in four excruciatingly long weeks, the Wild's gone from driving a snazzy red Ferrari to a beat-up yellow Chevy Cavalier, a Cavalier that looks like it has been in a 50-car pileup.

In a game Yeo said was a chance for the Wild to "remind everybody that we're not going away," the team was a complete no-show in a 4-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre.

"There's no excuses right now. It's embarrassing," perturbed defenseman Nick Schultz said in an expletive-laced rant. "We've got to be a lot better. The season's going to be over before we know it if we don't snap out of it.

"We've got to realize it now. We can't wait for anyone to come back to save the day. It's got to be us in here. It's got to come out of this group. Right now, it's not good enough."

It has been 11 games since the Wild last won on the road. It was the 15th loss in 17 games overall.

As usual, the Wild talked a tremendous game since getting pasted in Philadelphia 5-1 on Tuesday night. The Wild spoke of a productive practice, a healthy team meeting. And just when you started to believe remedies were found ... Toronto had a 1-0 lead 50 seconds in.

"I've been coaching for quite awhile, and I've been part of a lot of games I didn't like, and this one ranks right up there," Yeo said.

In a maddening display, the Wild passed into skates, coughed up pucks in the neutral zone, looked like bullfighters olé-ing at the blue line, played pylon in the defensive zone and refused to lay bodies on net-crashing Maple Leafs.

In the offensive zone, instead of playing dump-and-chase, the Wild dumped and stood as the puck came right out. The Wild generated two, maybe three scoring chances in the first two periods. Nick Johnson's goal with 2:27 left in the third period ruined Jonas Gustavsson's shutout and was the Wild's 11th goal in the past 11 road games.

In the second period, the Wild took six minor penalties.

"We can't have 12 minutes in one period. We can't even have 12 minutes in a game," said goalie Niklas Backstrom, who made his first start since Jan. 7 and gave up three-plus goals for the seventh consecutive start (1-6).

"We have to be a team that's going to be tough to get into our zone. Today it felt like every time they got into our zone. Three goals were from that. But me and [Josh Harding], we have to find a way to cut it down to two or less."

Epitomizing the Wild's frustration, Brodziak became the third Wild player in three games to get an extra two minutes for yapping at a ref (Cal Clutterbuck in Philadelphia, Clayton Stoner in St. Louis).

"It's stupid. I just know I can't do that," Brodziak said.

Added Yeo: "Every one of us has to take a good, hard look at ourselves and quit looking at the refs or another player or anything else that could possibly be going on, and say, 'Am I doing enough, can I be better? And if so, how?'"

Backstrom said the Wild can't give up.

"If you give up, it's better to stay home," he said. "You're proud to wear this jersey. We've just going to fight. If we fight, sooner or later, it's going to turn around."


    Up next: 8 p.m. Saturday vs. Dallas

    Xcel Energy Center • TV: FSN (100.3-FM)

  • 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
Washington 102 FINAL
New York 91
Oklahoma City 114 FINAL
San Antonio 106
Cleveland 91 FINAL
Miami 101
LA Lakers 93 FINAL
Chicago 113
Golden State 86 FINAL
LA Clippers 100
DePaul 69 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 72
Ohio 58 FINAL
Nebraska 71
Colorado 66 FINAL
Hawaii 69
George Washington 60 FINAL
Wichita State 54
Central Mich 48 FINAL
Western Ky 49
Fresno State 6 FINAL
Rice 30
Illinois 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 7:00 PM
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
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
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