Writing satire is a high-risk, high-reward business. Do it well, and the results reflect humor and depth. Do it poorly, and the reader might bleed from the scalp from so much head-scratching.
The Onion always has done satire well. One of the best examples, lampooning decades of future supposed sightings of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll: A “story” from 1977 carrying the headline in bold type: “Elvis Dead,” followed by a smaller headline underneath with the words: “Is Elvis alive?”
Strangely, that fake headline sprung to mind recently when thinking about the Wild. We’ve been through so many incarnations of “Wild in crisis” stories recently that in June of 2011 it almost would have been fitting to have a large bold headline with the words, “Mike Yeo Hired,” followed quickly by the smaller headline, “Will Mike Yeo be fired?”
His job status has at least been a subject of discussion in each of his four completed seasons with the team, and fans at least are rumbling in Year 5. It’s arguable that some of it is unfair given that Yeo has coached the Wild to three consecutive playoff berths (and two trips to the second round) with a fourth straight trip still a likelihood despite the team’s recent slump.
But it is reality. To prove it, I dug back through the Star Tribune archives. Here is the rundown:
• 2011-12: The Wild started 20-7-3 in Yeo’s first season but tumbled from there, at one point losing 29 of 37 games and prompting this sentence to be written in March of 2012: “As lousy as the team is right now, word from the highest offices inside the Wild is that neither Yeo nor [GM Chuck] Fletcher’s job as general manager is in jeopardy.”
• 2012-13: The Wild slumped at the end of the regular season, barely making the playoffs. What if the Wild had missed the postseason? This, from April of 2013, about a possible organization shake-up: “It could have almost certainly started with the coach, Mike Yeo, whose job was in danger.
• 2013-14: A midseason swoon was the cause of the heat in this particular season, as evidenced by this from early January of 2014: “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.”
• 2014-15: The Wild was stumbling badly before acquiring Devan Dubnyk. In the story announcing that move, which ran Jan. 15, 2015, there was this: “Yeo said Fletcher has been ‘unbelievably supportive’ despite speculation running rampant that Yeo’s job is in jeopardy for a second season in a row. ‘To say that I’m not worried, of course I am. I’m a realist. I know what’s going on,’ Yeo said.”
• 2015-16: We’re not there yet, though seven losses in nine games this calendar year and six of the next seven games on the road will test that. However, if past years have taught us anything it’s this: just when Yeo’s seat appears to be getting hot, he tends to find a way to cool it off.