Yeo under fire as Wild mired in slump

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 2, 2014 - 12:41 AM

Mike Yeo said he’s coaching to get the skidding team back on track, not to save his job.

 

Mike Yeo knows he’s under fire.

He knows what the fans are saying in the Twittersphere. He sees the articles in the daily newspaper. And all along, there has been communication with General Manager Chuck Fletcher, who might soon have to make an excruciating decision about the Wild coach’s future.

Yeo’s job is on dangerous footing with the 10th-place Wild mired in a six-game losing streak and a 5-12-1 slide and facing a steep hike to get back into the playoff race.

“It’s business as usual for me. This has been a question before the season even started, right?” Yeo said, referring to the fact that he’s in the final year of his contract. “I’m actually quite happy with the way I’m dealing with it.”

Before the Wild’s New Year’s Day practice — one that conspicuously included owner Craig Leipold watching from the stands in a seat next to Fletcher — Yeo even talked about his job status with the players:

“I said, ‘I know it’s there, I know what they’re writing, I don’t want anyone feeling sorry for me. What I want is for you guys to know I still believe in this group and you’re going to see that I’m still going to come in here and I’m going to coach not to try to save my job, I’m going to coach to try to give us a chance to get things going, get back on track and get back in the playoff race and keep building toward our ultimate goal.’ ”

Thursday is a vital game for Yeo. The Wild’s opponent, the Buffalo Sabres, have one regulation road win this season, are 0-8-2 on the road since Nov. 5 and 0-6-2 on the road under new coach Ted Nolan.

Leipold declined to comment Wednesday. Fletcher said Monday that overreacting was not the right approach but he declined to give Yeo a vote of confidence.

Yeo tried to shake things up Wednesday by recalling winger Jason Zucker for the fourth time since Nov. 20 and by scrambling all four lines.

“We’re throwing a lot of stuff at the wall and we need something to stick,” Yeo said.

Yeo put together an all-veteran first line of Dany Heatley, Mikko Koivu and Jason Pominville and an all-21-year-old second line of Nino Niederreiter, Mikael Granlund and Zucker.

Charlie Coyle, also 21, moved from top-line right winger to third-line center with Matt Cooke and Justin Fontaine. Center Kyle Brodziak, who hasn’t scored in 30 consecutive games, was downgraded to the fourth line with Stephane Veilleux and Torrey Mitchell.

Yeo acknowledged that Brodziak’s offensive struggles led to the demotion, saying, “The play of the guys is probably going to determine a little more where they fit, and that’s a game-by-game, even a period-by-period thing.”

Heatley has two goals, no assists and 11 shots and is minus-4 during the losing streak, but Yeo said, “He’s moving well, he’s battling hard, he’s involved in creating some scoring chances every game.”

The second line could be considered a bit of a defensive liability. In the past three games, Granlund has committed errors with the puck and Niederreiter errors without it. And Zucker, who has gone 17 consecutive NHL games without a point, has been working to improve his defensive play.

“We’ve got to trust our players,” Yeo said. “It’s tough to be a good NHL hockey team if you’re trying to hide guys out there.”

Constant conversation

  • related content

  • U.S. men's hockey team will include 8 Minnesotans

    Thursday January 2, 2014

    Eight players from Minnesota made it, among them the Wild’s Zach Parise, joined by NHL teammate Ryan Suter.

  • Chart: Wild losing streak is team record

    Wednesday January 1, 2014

    Record lossWith its sixth consecutive loss Tuesday night, the Wild made team history with its longest losing streak. The prior...

  • Wild head coach Mike Yeo and his players looked for answers against the Blues, a 2-1 loss.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Minnesota 35 FINAL
Miami 37
Baltimore 13 FINAL
Houston 25
Detroit 20 FINAL
Chicago 14
Cleveland 13 FINAL
Carolina 17
Atlanta 30 FINAL
New Orleans 14
Green Bay 20 FINAL
Tampa Bay 3
Kansas City 12 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
New England 17 FINAL
NY Jets 16
NY Giants 37 FINAL
St. Louis 27
Buffalo 24 FINAL
Oakland 26
Indianapolis 7 FINAL
Dallas 42
Seattle 35 FINAL
Arizona 6
Denver 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Denver 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Portland 7:00 PM
Houston
Utah 7:00 PM
Memphis
Toronto 7:00 PM
Chicago
Atlanta 7:30 PM
Dallas
LA Clippers 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Sacramento 9:30 PM
Golden State
Ottawa 6:00 PM
Washington
Nashville 6:00 PM
Columbus
Pittsburgh 6:30 PM
Florida
Arizona 9:00 PM
Vancouver
San Jose 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Calgary 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Ark-Little Rock 1:00 PM
Bradley
Brown 1:00 PM
Central Conn St
Stetson 1:00 PM
Florida State
Ill-Chicago 1:00 PM
Northwestern
Ohio 1:30 PM
George Washington
Southern Utah 2:00 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff
Elon 2:00 PM
Kennesaw St
Dartmouth 3:00 PM
Penn State
Green Bay 3:30 PM
UC Irvine
DePaul 3:30 PM
Colorado
Lewis & Clark 4:00 PM
Portland
SC State 4:30 PM
Abilene Christian
Manhattan 5:00 PM
Fordham
Truett-McConnell 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Citadel 5:00 PM
Michigan State
Miami-Ohio 5:00 PM
Ohio State
Gardner-Webb 5:00 PM
Purdue
Idaho 5:00 PM
Northern Ky
Fairfield 6:00 PM
Albany
North Dakota St 6:00 PM
Alcorn State
UT Martin 6:00 PM
Butler
SE Louisiana 6:00 PM
UCF
Oakland 6:00 PM
Clemson
Florida A&M 6:00 PM
East Carolina
Eastern Ky 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
IUPU-Ft Wayne 6:00 PM
Illinois State
Norfolk State 6:00 PM
James Madison
Binghamton 6:00 PM
Mount St Marys
Towson 6:00 PM
Navy
Long Island 6:00 PM
New Hampshire
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Notre Dame
William & Mary 6:00 PM
Old Dominion
Liberty 6:00 PM
Princeton
Delaware 6:00 PM
Robert Morris
MD-Eastern Shore 6:00 PM
St Bonaventure
Colgate 6:00 PM
Syracuse
Kansas 6:00 PM
Temple
Mercer 6:00 PM
Tennessee
East Tenn St 6:00 PM
VA Commonwealth
Va Military 6:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Bucknell 6:00 PM
Wake Forest
Alabama A&M 6:00 PM
Western Mich
New Orleans 6:05 PM
Indiana
Columbia 6:30 PM
Connecticut
Long Beach State 6:30 PM
St Johns
Wofford 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Southern U 7:00 PM
Baylor
UAB 7:00 PM
Chattanooga
Char Southern 7:00 PM
Colorado State
North Florida 7:00 PM
Iowa
NC Central 7:00 PM
Jackson State
Rice 7:00 PM
Lamar
Central Mich 7:00 PM
McNeese State
Coppin State 7:00 PM
Michigan
Furman 7:00 PM
Minnesota
SE Missouri St 7:00 PM
Ole Miss
Weber State 7:00 PM
Oklahoma
Grambling St 7:00 PM
TCU
Loyola-Chicago 7:00 PM
Texas Tech
Incarnate Word 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Penn 7:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Chicago State 7:00 PM
SIU Edwardsville
Simpson 7:05 PM
Drake
Tenn Tech 7:05 PM
UMKC
Murray State 7:05 PM
Southern Ill
Oral Roberts 7:05 PM
Missouri State
Jacksonville St 8:00 PM
Air Force
Milwaukee 8:00 PM
Arkansas
Wisconsin 8:00 PM
California
Coll of Charleston 8:00 PM
LSU
North Dakota 8:00 PM
Marquette
Northern New Mexico 8:00 PM
New Mexico St
UC Santa Barbara 8:00 PM
Oregon
Miami-Florida 8:00 PM
Providence
Northeastern 8:00 PM
St Marys-CA
Kent State 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
UC Davis 8:00 PM
Northern Colorado
Lewis-Clark State 8:05 PM
Eastern Wash
Walla Walla 8:05 PM
Portland State
TX A&M-CC 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Marshall 9:00 PM
Nevada
Boise State 9:30 PM
Houston
UC Riverside 10:00 PM
San Diego St
Tulane 10:00 PM
Washington
Loyola Marymount 10:00 PM
Wichita State
Nebraska 12/23/14 12:00 AM
Hawaii
Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 21 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 6
(23) Utah 45 FINAL
Colorado State 10
Western Mich 24 FINAL
Air Force 38
South Alabama 28 FINAL
Bowling Green 33
BYU 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
UMass Lowell 10:15 AM
Holy Cross
Temple 10:30 AM
Villanova
Georgia Southern 11:00 AM
Southern U
Xavier 11:00 AM
Kennesaw St
Eastern Michigan 11:00 AM
Michigan
Brescia 12:00 PM
Marshall
(22) West Virginia 1:00 PM
Ohio State
UMBC 1:00 PM
MD-Eastern Shore
Cornell 1:00 PM
Loyola-Maryland
St Bonaventure 1:00 PM
Georgetown
New Hampshire 1:00 PM
Northeastern
Eastern Washington 1:30 PM
Florida
Rice 2:00 PM
Texas Southern
Butler 3:05 PM
Illinois State
UC Davis 4:00 PM
(7) Stanford
Washington St 4:00 PM
Loyola Marymount
Sacramento St 4:00 PM
San Jose St
SIU-Edwardsville 4:30 PM
UMKC
Oakland 6:00 PM
IUPU-Ft Wayne
Belmont 6:00 PM
(15) Georgia
George Mason 6:00 PM
Longwood
Kansas 6:05 PM
Creighton
Abilene Christian 7:00 PM
Kansas State
UT Martin 7:00 PM
Missouri
Hampton 7:00 PM
(25) DePaul
Florida State 7:00 PM
Tulane
Murray State 7:00 PM
Illinois
Fla Gulf Coast 7:05 PM
Arkansas State
BYU 8:00 PM
Utah State
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 pro sports coach in the Twin Cities?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close