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

Chip Scoggins • ascoggins@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Toronto - LP: D. Hutchison 2 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Tanaka 5
Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 2 FINAL
Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi 1
NY Mets - WP: J. deGrom 10 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: E. Santana 2
Boston - WP: J. Kelly 3 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: M. Gonzalez 2
Milwaukee - LP: W. Peralta 0 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 1
Chicago WSox - WP: J. Danks 10 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: N. Karns 5
Cleveland - WP: C. Kluber 7 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: A. Swarzak 2
Detroit - LP: R. Porcello 2 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Guthrie 5
Seattle - LP: H. Iwakuma 3 FINAL
Houston - WP: C. McHugh 8
Los Angeles - WP: C. Perez 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Turner 5
Texas - WP: S. Tolleson 2 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: H. Street 1
Philadelphia - LP: M. Gonzalez 6 FINAL
Oakland - WP: S. Doolittle 8
San Francisco - LP: R. Vogelsong 2 FINAL
San Diego - WP: I. Kennedy 8
Arizona - LP: W. Miley 3 FINAL
Colorado - WP: C. Bergman 8
Cincinnati - WP: A. Simon 7 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: L. Lynn 2
San Diego 22 FINAL
Buffalo 10
Dallas 34 FINAL
St. Louis 31
Washington 34 FINAL
Philadelphia 37
Houston 17 FINAL
NY Giants 30
Minnesota 9 FINAL
New Orleans 20
Tennessee 7 FINAL
Cincinnati 33
Baltimore 23 FINAL
Cleveland 21
Green Bay 7 FINAL
Detroit 19
Indianapolis 44 FINAL
Jacksonville 17
Oakland 9 FINAL
New England 16
San Francisco 14 FINAL
Arizona 23
Denver 20 FINAL
Seattle 26
Kansas City 34 FINAL
Miami 15
Pittsburgh 37 FINAL
Carolina 19
Chicago 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Columbus 4 FINAL
Carolina 3
Buffalo 0 FINAL
Washington 1
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Columbus 4
Calgary 1 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Edmonton 0 FINAL
Calgary 1
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(12) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(9) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
North Carolina 41 FINAL
(23) East Carolina 70
Army 21 FINAL
Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(20) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
SMU 6
Rutgers 31 FINAL
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 FINAL
Kansas 24
Utah 26 FINAL
Michigan 10
Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
Louisville 34 FINAL
FIU 3
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
Missouri 27
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Minnesota 24
Texas State 35 FINAL
Illinois 42
Massachusetts 7 FINAL
Penn State 48
Georgia State 14 FINAL
Washington 45
Appalachian St 20 FINAL
Southern Miss 21
(14) Miss State 34 FINAL
(17) LSU 29
Northern Ill 14 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Middle Tennessee 17 FINAL
Memphis 36
Utah State 14 FINAL
Arkansas State 21
Miami-Ohio 24 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Idaho 24 FINAL
Ohio U 36
Ball State 23 FINAL
Toledo 34
(13) So Carolina 48 FINAL
Vanderbilt 34
(4) Oklahoma 45 FINAL
West Virginia 33
Ga Southern 28 FINAL
South Alabama 6
UNLV 14 FINAL
Houston 47
Miami-Florida 31 FINAL
(21) Nebraska 41
New Mexico 38 FINAL
New Mexico St 35
Clemson 17 FINAL
(1) Florida State 23
California 45 FINAL
Arizona 49
San Diego St 7 FINAL
Oregon State 28
(2) Oregon 38 FINAL
Washington St 31
Louisiana 9 FINAL
Boise State 34
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Chivas USA 0 FINAL
Toronto FC 3
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 15 FINAL
Montreal 31
Ottawa 32 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
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