Scoggins: Yeo deserves some blame for Wild's failures, but only some

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 10, 2013 - 11:47 PM

The coach did not have nearly as talented a team as advertised.

hide

Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo watches his team during the second period of Game 5.

Assuming he actually closed his eyes and slept, Wild owner Craig Leipold awoke Friday to the stark reality that his $196 million power play failed to deliver the results that he and his fans anticipated.

The Chicago Blackhawks needed only one game more than the minimum to brush aside Leipold’s high-priced team in the opening round of the playoffs. And to rub the Wild’s nose in it even further, the Blackhawks noted that they didn’t play up to their potential in the series. In other words, the Wild was nothing more than a speed bump to a team with legitimate postseason credentials.

It will be interesting to hear how the Wild labels its season in its postmortem. Though not a failure, it wasn’t exactly a success either. Sobering is probably the right term.

Remember, the Wild tooted its own horn and welcomed those bold predictions in wake of the Zach Parise and Ryan Suter signings last summer. In hindsight, we overestimated the team’s talent level, but the Wild didn’t discourage it.

Apparently, an organizational shake-up is not in the plans, though. Indications are that Leipold intends to retain both General Manager Chuck Fletcher and coach Mike Yeo. Those two will address the media together Saturday, another sign that the structure will remain unchanged.

The knee-jerk response by frustrated fans in times like this is for the owner to clean house and fire everybody. And do it yesterday. Leipold is an ambitious and aggressive owner who supports one of the league’s highest payrolls. Knowing him, he probably had steam rising off his forehead as the Wild got run out of the United Center in the series clincher.

Frustration and disappointment are understandable, even healthy. But the Wild needs to see if this blueprint can work and another change in leadership would start the cycle over again.

That’s not to suggest that this season was acceptable. And Fletcher and Yeo will open training camp next season firmly on the hot seat. Their job status will serve as an overarching theme that will only intensify if the Wild starts slowly.

The notion that Fletcher might fire Yeo gained steam because of the Wild’s late-season collapse, but Fletcher had to realize that a dismissal would serve as an indictment of his hiring acumen more than anything.

Fletcher hired an inexperienced Todd Richards in 2009 and then fired him after two seasons. He followed that by hiring another inexperienced coach. If he fired Yeo after two seasons as well, Fletcher’s job would be in jeopardy, too.

Leipold seems willing to give both men more time to move the organization forward. Fletcher has done a nice job in re-stocking the feeder system and infusing the organization with young talent. But he has also swung and missed on some personnel matters (more than just that ill-conceived Nick Leddy trade), and the roster still lacks overall depth, size and enough true scorers. The Blackhawks exposed the Wild’s deficiencies and inexperience in the lineup.

That’s why it seems a little unfair to lay all the blame at Yeo’s feet. There’s no excuse for the Wild limping into the playoffs by virtue of a tiebreaker, but it’s delusional to suggest this team is good enough to contend for the Stanley Cup championship right now.

Is it Yeo’s fault that Mikko Koivu and Parise disappeared in the playoffs? Or that the blue line is so short on talent that Ryan Suter and Jonas Brodin were forced to log ridiculous minutes? Or that Kyle Brodziak and Cal Clutterbuck played poorly all season? Players should be held accountable, too.

Yeo certainly is culpable for some of the problems and coaches bear ultimate responsibility when things don’t go as planned. His team struggles to score and finished near the bottom of the league in goals scored again this season. And a second consecutive late-season death spiral caused the Wild to draw Chicago in the opening round, which should have been entirely avoidable.

In terms of setting an overall tone, Yeo comes across so tightly wound that some nights it looks as if he might chew his arm off during his postgame news conference. And when a team yo-yos to the degree that the Wild did this season, that’s a poor reflection of a coach’s ability to prevent such inconsistency.

Yeo believes his team is on the right path and that the organization has changed the culture inside the locker room. The Wild obviously is in better shape now than in recent years. It’s just that most of us expected more than five playoff games as an overmatched eighth seed. The Wild made the postseason but still managed to disappoint.

That’s not enough to make wholesale changes. But patience is running thin, and this won’t be good enough next season.

 

Chip Scoggins • ascoggins@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Diego 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Indiana 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Philadelphia 6:30 PM
Detroit
Dallas 7:00 PM
New Orleans
NY Islanders 6:00 PM
Boston
Pittsburgh 6:30 PM
Detroit
Vancouver 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Chicago 7:00 PM
Nashville
Arizona 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Carolina 8:00 PM
Calgary
Buffalo 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Columbus 9:30 PM
San Jose
Connecticut 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
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: Who is your favorite Wild player?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close