This morning at Braemar Arena, Wild GM Chuck Fletcher and interim coach John Torchetti spoke to the assembled media, as did all the players.
For all the articles that will appear in Monday's paper, please go this afternoon and early evening to www.startribune.com/wild
There, you should find my main article, a John Torchetti story, player reaction story from Kent Youngblood, a column on the state of the franchise and Chuck Fletcher from Chip Scoggins and a video from today's presser.
Also, on that page, you can read my Torchetti profile from Sunday's paper, my main Mike Yeo firing story, a notebook on Saturday's loss and my Sunday Insider on the great job Barry Trotz is doing with Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals.
I'll be on KFAN at 11:35 a.m. Monday talking to our very own Lavelle E. Neal III, who is filling in for Paul Allen, and will be on Fox Sports North during Monday's pregame show and first intermission.
I'll also be on NHL Network on Monday and probably other outlets. If you didn't hear my interview with Dan Barreiro this morning with my reaction to the firing, go to KFAN's site and it's podcastable on Sunday Sermons.
Onward. I have a flight to catch to Vancouver, so I'll return from the flight after I clear my head a bit with a bigger blog on the news of the last day-and-a-half and trying to make sense of it all. But all of the articles have everything you need to know and my opinions are always out there on the airways.
My thanks to our Star Tribune star intern Cody Stavenhagen, who was a huge help today gathering quotes and helping me transcribe, including a fast and tidy transcription of John Torchetti's presser and player quotes.
If you don't hear from me tonight, it means the wi-fi wasn't working on my plane or I conked out. Regardless, you'll be reading plenty of more stuff on the whole situation during this upcoming road trip.
In the meantime, since the articles that'll be up on the main page have plenty of Fletcher and Torchetti, here are some player quotes from today's availability (courtesy of Cody and Kent):
Q. What have the last 12 hours been like?
A. Well, I’ve been through it once, where a coach got fired, and it’s no fun. It’s usually a reflection of the group. So he’s taken a hit for us, and now there is change. Obviously, as a group, we know we have to be better.
Q. Do you feel pressure as players?
A. I can’t talk about somebody else. But myself, I don’t know if you guys know me yet or now. I’ve been here a little while. I put enough pressure on myself. So that’s never an issue with myself. I know that I have to produce and let this team win and play a certain way. It won’t affect my game.
Q. Meeting with new coach
A. Well, I think it was just a quick intro, and he said over the course of today and tomorrow, he’ll grab guys and introduce himself.
Q. Talk to Yeo.
A. No. actually, no. I haven’t talked to Mike. But, again, he’s a good coach. Sometimes the business isn’t always the best. I’ve been there before. I’ve been traded to different teams. It’s not fun, but again I’m sure it’s hard for him. He’ll find a new job because he’s a good coach.
Q. How much can a new voice change things?
A. I think it can definitely help. Sometimes the message goes stale or whatever. And a new voice is a new beginning.
Q. Did the team quit on yeo?
A. I don’t think so. I think you look at our last few games, I felt we were in most games, and could have gone the other way. But it didn’t. I didn’t see anybody ever quit on mike.
Yeah, it’s a terrible thing. Obviously I have a lot of respect for mike, I felt he did a great job. At the end of the day it’s we weren’t performing, and it’s too bad he had to sacrifice for us.
Q. Enough time to salvage the season?
A. Definitely. We’ve been playing not terrible. Last night was maybe a step back. But we hadn’t been playing that terrible, and we can definitely get back into this thing. Everyone has to be at the top of their game if we want to make this happen, for sure.
Q. What was the difference in this slump
A. I think, everybody knows last year we just were struggling in net, and we made that change and it got us out of it. This year I think we were playing well and we just weren’t able to get the results. And that’s a tough spot to be in, when you can’t figure out what it is.
Q. Coach message grow stale
A. I don’t think so. Like I said, I have a lot of respect for Mike Yeo. I think he’s a very good coach. And it’s too bad that we get the wins we needed to turn this thing around. For him, and for ourselves.
Q. Talk to him.
A. I texted him last night.
Q. You said the team is fragile. What can you do as a leader to instill confidence
Q. Well, I think in practice, you have to have that high energy to let guys know, ‘go, keep going, it’s going to come.’ Before games you’re talking to guys, and at the end of the day you have to be good yourself so other players follow you. Those are the main things you can do.
Q. Know torch?
A. I don’t really know him at all, really. I met him at training camp. Just hi, that’s about it.
Q. what can we expect to see from a Torch-coached team.
A. He’s a guy who knows what he wants, and he is a firm believer in working hard and just working for your opportunities. Holding everyone accountable. That’s what I saw when he was my coach.
Q. disappointing news on yeo?
A. For sure. It sucks. Yeosie is a great guy. And it’s unfortunate that this was directily because of our poor play. You never want to see that. So it’s tough.
Q. couldn’t pull out of tail spin...
A. It just kind of felt like, here, you were stuck in the mud. Your tires were spinning, but you weren’t going anywhere .It’s tough. But it’s a new day, and we have to look forward to this next few games.
Take one game at a time.
Q. are players responsible for this?
A. Yeah. It has a lot to do with us, too. It sucks. I know we all wish we would have done better. But we have to look forward.
Q. message grow stale?
A. I’m really not sure.
Q. new coach with boston accent, sound familiar.
A. yeah, maybe I’ll get mind back. That will be nice. I played for torch before, my first year in pros. So there is some familiarity there.
Q. what was he like?
A. He’s hard-nosed. He says it how it is. he was my first pro coach, just coming in, having a coach like him, he tells you how it is. I mean, I don’t know how else to say it. I loved playing for him. He likes hard workers. That’s how you earn your ice time. And he likes that. He’s high on character, and I think we’ll play well for him.
Q. frustrating for Yeo to take the fall?
A. Yeah, that’s tough, and you have to feel for him. It was everyone in here. And he gets most of the blame, which is a touch thing. Hopefully… he was good to us. He was good to me and he was good to us, and my first coach in this league. He taught me a lot. I ow e him a lot and wish him the best.
Q. is it a new scheme or a new voice that will make the biggest difference.
A. I’m not sure. Never been through this, really. A lot of us haven’t been through this. We’ll treat it like a clean slate, I think, do what Torch says, and follow his lead and I think it will be good.
Q. good enough to be in playoffs? What has to change for that to happen?
A. yeah, I mean, we were a good team early in the year, then whatever happened happened. We have the guys in here to make the playoffs, and have a deep run. I think everyone else feels the same thing. It’s up to us. We have a clean slate. But we have no time to waste. We have to get going, right now.
Q. yeo’s voice get stale?
A. I don’t know. it’s tough to say. Like I said, this is my first time thorugh anything like this. Sitting and thinking about it, you just can’t put your finger on it. This is what happens, it’s a business, and things like this happen. It’s tough, but we’re going to go with what I have right now.
Q what happened?
A. It’s tough to say. It’s not a good feeling. It’s frustrating. You try to stay positive through it. when you’re winning you have fun, and come to the rink the next day and you feel good, have a good practice and another good game. … When things are opposite. It’s almost like it spirals down, and it’s a tough think, mentally, to try to get through.
Q. confidence level of this team now
A. It’s tough to say. We have a good game, we get a win, we feel good again. It’s crazy in this league. You lose and you feel like it’s the end of the world. You win and you feel like you’re on top of the world. We just have to stay on that even keel and have our confdidence. We have to grow that each game."
A. Practice was good, it’s always a weird day and a weird feeling for everybody, when something like that happens, something big like that, a change is made. As a player, you take a lot of responsibility in what happens when your coach gets fired. It should be, and it has to be a wake-up call for us that we need to start playing better and we need to start being a better hockey team.
Q. surprised it came to this?
A. you never expect it, it’s always a shock and a surprise when it happens. I don’t think any player in there was anticipating this happening right now. But it’s been tough for a while now, and I think that, in the back of peoples’ minds, I guess it’s human nature that you think something’s going to change. And today it did.
Q. you’ve been through this before.
A. too many times.
Q. how can it help?
A. I’ve seen it go both ways. I think for us, I would expect us to have a lot of energy in the next game, play a lot harder, compete hard. At the same time, I think we all have to understand we’re not going to go out and start playing like the 1972 Soviet Union; drop passes everywhere, tic-tac-toe plays, that’s a thing you can’t get caught up in. We have a lot of work to do to regain some confidence offensively. And it’s not just going to flip a switch and be there. We have to work.
Q. had coach’s message stopped getting through?
A. You know, what happens in there, that’s between us. I’m not going to sit here and say people stopped listening to Mike. Or anything. There was just, for whatever reason, it just … can’t sit here and say it was working. Because I feel we hven’t won a game in two months. We weren’t playing well. And that was it.
Q. this year’s slump more mystifying?
A. I don’t know. it’s hard. This shouldn’t happen every year. we talk about it like, here we go again. On our annual fall. That’s not OK. And we’ve all been searching, looking, trying to figure out why. What’s the solution, what is the problem? And you know what, we need to concern ourselves with going out and playing hard and competing and winning a game and going from there. Our effort level, our intensity level has to go up. I think we can really start there. And everyone has to hp on board, and well get out of it.
Q. what can you do now as a leader
A. I think it’s about playing for 60 minutes. And we haven’t been able to do that. There’s been some good periods, some good moments. But right after follows a bad one. This time of the year teams are getting better and you need to be able to do it for 60 minutes. There is a lot for that to happen. And then we build on confidence from there.
Q. mike took the fall, now it’s on you?
A. for sure. I think that’s the hockey business. It’s usually goes on the coach. But we’re all responsible for this. Every one of us in the room. We have to figure that out, find a way to win hockey games. You have to play good hockey and build the condidence as a group. What happened last year, two years ago, has nothing to do with this. We have to get ready for tomorrow, and that’s all that matters right now.