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Continued: Mike Yeo 'still a bit bitter' about Wild's loss

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Last update: May 16, 2014 - 10:23 AM

“A lot of guys were battling through things,” Yeo said. “It’s pretty impressive for them to lay it out on the line the way that they did.”

Still improving

Mikael Granlund broke through this season. Youngsters such as Coyle, Haula and Nino Niederreiter came on strong late in the year and in the playoffs. In exit meetings, Yeo plans to tell all his youngsters that he expects them to come to next fall’s training camp with the objective of becoming difference-makers.

“The real potential for growth in our team is our young players,” Yeo said. “As our young players continue to get better, our team will continue to get better. We play in the toughest division in the NHL. … Next year is going to be hard again. We should have higher goals, we should have higher expectations for ourselves, but we have to know it’s going to be hard.

“For me, it starts right now in the offseason, how you prepare, how you train. That’s your foundation for the season you’re going to have next year.”

Big goals

Yeo said he feels the Wild outplayed the Blackhawks and could have advanced to the conference finals. The Wild feels incomplete by not reaching its goal.

“We could have [won the Cup] this year. That’s the hard part for me. I know it’s hard, but we could have,” Yeo said. “We were playing great hockey night in night out, consistent hockey. Never perfect, but it never is. We’re playing the best teams in the league.

“I believe that we’ve taken some real steps toward that goal, but I’m also realistic that it’s really hard. It’s really hard. We should look forward to that challenge. That’s what makes it so great. That’s why one team’s left standing at the end of the year, and they’re happy and everybody else is trying to get that way.”

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