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

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

The end of the season came much too soon for Wild coach Mike Yeo.

The day (Thursday) and time (1 p.m.) didn’t escape Mike Yeo.

If the Wild had beaten the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday, the coach would have just been wrapping up his morning-skate availability at the United Center in preparation for a Game 7 rather than standing in front of the assembled media at Xcel Energy Center talking about what could have been.

“I wish we were playing a hockey game tonight,” said Yeo, the disappointment still in his voice and on his face after the Wild’s season-ending overtime loss two days before. “I’m still a little bit bitter.

“You wake up in the morning and you think, ‘OK, I’m on my way to work.’ You have a season. It’s long, it’s hard. There’s a lot of incredibly great emotions that go along with some of the tough parts, and then it just comes to a grinding halt.”

Yeo admitted that he has watched Patrick Kane’s winning goal “too many times over and over again” and joked that he’s “surprised I haven’t gone down there and broken the darn” partition that caused the fluky bounce that led to the Wild’s demise.

“There’s a lot of things to feel good about, but in the end, we didn’t win,” Yeo said. “I think it’s important that pretty soon here we start turning our sights toward next year.”

What’s next?

Expectations will rise next season.

On Thursday, players took their end-of-the year physicals, began getting their offseason fitness programs and started going through exit interviews with Yeo and General Manager Chuck Fletcher. On Friday, Fletcher and players will talk to the media before heading off their separate ways for the summer.

The contracts of the entire coaching staff expire June 30. That Yeo held his own news conference is evidence Fletcher wants him to remain coach.

They will meet next week to discuss a contract. Unlike three years ago, when Yeo was promoted from the franchise’s Houston farm team, this contract will require actual negotiations. Yeo’s first deal came when he was handed a three-year term and salary on par with rookie coaches.

In three seasons, the 40-year-old is 104-82-26 in the regular season and made the playoffs twice.

“There’s plenty of time to sort that out,” Yeo said of his contract. “There’s a lot of what-ifs and there’s a bit of an empty feeling that there was more hanging there for us. But what I want [the players] to take out of it is the belief that we can beat anybody. We have an end result in mind here, and that’s to win the Stanley Cup.”

Stepping up

The Wild scored only two goals in Games 5 and 6 against Chicago, both by rookie Erik Haula. Yet, in both games, the Wild outchanced the Blackhawks. It didn’t lose Tuesday because of a bad bounce off a stanchion. It lost because it didn’t capitalize on its chances.

The Wild’s season-long lack of scoring finish was an issue, but Yeo said, “We’re not sitting around just saying, ‘OK, we’ve arrived.’ As a coaching staff, we will take a hard look at our game and see the areas we need to improve.”

Yeo stood up for veterans Mikko Koivu, Jason Pominville and Matt Moulson, who combined for four goals in the playoffs, saying “it becomes tougher and tougher to score in the playoffs” and they were contributing in other areas.

He lauded his players for the price they paid. Charlie Coyle, for one, played with two separated shoulders. Yeo wouldn’t disclose any specific injuries, although Fletcher might Friday.

“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.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
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
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
Toronto 110 FINAL
LA Clippers 98
Boston 88 FINAL
Washington 101
Orlando 102 FINAL
Charlotte 94
Memphis 103 FINAL
Miami 95
Indiana 110 FINAL
Brooklyn 85
New Orleans 100 FINAL
Chicago 107
Atlanta 90 FINAL
Milwaukee 85
Philadelphia 71 FINAL
Utah 88
New York 129 FINAL
Sacramento 135
Minnesota 97 FINAL
Golden State 110
NY Islanders 3 FINAL(SO)
Buffalo 4
Detroit 3 FINAL(OT)
Ottawa 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
New Jersey 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 3
Boston 2 FINAL
Columbus 6
Winnipeg 4 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 3
Washington 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 0
Dallas 4 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Nashville 4
Anaheim 1 FINAL(SO)
Arizona 2
Chicago 5 FINAL
Colorado 2
Edmonton 1 FINAL
Calgary 4
San Jose 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 3
Indiana 87 FINAL
Georgetown 91
Maine 43 FINAL
Seton Hall 72
UNC-Wilmington 82 FINAL
Minnesota 108
Georgia State 61 FINAL
Green Bay 78
Jacksonville St 61 FINAL
Jacksonville 75
Kentucky 58 FINAL
Louisville 50
Northern Ky 55 FINAL
Northwestern 76
UAB 58 FINAL
North Carolina 89
IUPUI 55 FINAL
Pepperdine 53
Santa Clara 60 FINAL
St Marys-CA 73
Oakland 56 FINAL
Maryland 72
Gonzaga 87 FINAL
BYU 80
Mercer 77 FINAL
Georgia 86
San Francisco 77 FINAL
Pacific 71
Wright State 55 FINAL
Ohio State 100
Presbyterian 65 FINAL
Virginia Tech 87
Brescia 42 FINAL
Western Ky 89
Tennessee St 46 FINAL
Tennessee 67
Kennesaw St 45 FINAL
Illinois 93
Colorado State 58 FINAL
New Mexico St 57
Portland 61 FINAL
San Diego 58
Wayland Baptist 63 FINAL
Utah State 75
Bristol University 59 FINAL
Weber State 109
Sacramento St 74 FINAL
Utah Valley U 49
Southern Utah 45 FINAL
UNLV 79
SD Christian 50 FINAL
San Diego St 72
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 42 FINAL
(24) USC 45
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
Texas
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
Stanford
(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
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Florida
SMU 45 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 96
UCF 64 FINAL
Houston 50
BYU 62 FINAL
Gonzaga 78
Pacific 92 FINAL
San Francisco 54
St Marys-CA 62 FINAL
Santa Clara 61
San Diego 87 FINAL
Portland 65
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