Mike Yeo (Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Wild have fired coach Mike Yeo. Minnesota, who have been the worst team in the league since the start of 2016, have lost 13 of their past 14 games and Satuday’s loss was their eighth straight.
The Minnesota Wild have been spiralling out of control since the beginning of January and following their eighth straight loss and 13th in 14 games, they’ve made the decision to part ways with bench boss Mike Yeo. No replacement has been announced.
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo reported Saturday evening that Yeo has been fired by the team, and Yeo himself confirmed the firing to Russo via text message. The Wild confirmed the firing in a statement.
“I would like to thank Mike for the hard work and dedication he provided behind the bench for the Minnesota Wild organization and wish him the best in the future,” Wild GM Chuck Fletcher said in a statement.
Hours before he was let go, Yeo was asked about his potential firing and said there had to be changes.
“You can’t lose every game and expect to think that there’s not going to be changes,” Yeo said post-game. “I’m operating under the assumption that I’ll be the coach tomorrow. I know what I’m going to do, and it’s something different from what we’ve done...When you lose, you’re looking for a response, you need a response. Whether it’s change players, whether it’s change coach, whether you don’t do anything, you’re either going to get a response from the group and you’re going to change things. Or, you’re not, and you’re not going to change things. And that’s what we need right now: we need a response.”
The firing comes eight days before the Wild are set to head outdoors for the Stadium Series outdoor game at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, where they’ll host the Chicago Blackhawks. And while the timing is unfortunate for Yeo and his club, the writing was likely on the wall with the way the team had been playing since the beginning of the new year.
When January began, the Wild were holding down the top wild-card spot with a 19-10-6 record and 44 points after 35 games. Minnesota was only two points back of the Blackhawks and 13 back of the then Central Division-leading Dallas Stars. However, it’s been a nightmare since Jan. 1. The Wild have won just three of 18 games, have 10 total points and have fallen from the top wild-card spot in the Western Conference to three points back of the second wild-card berth.
Yeo came into the Wild organization in 2010 when he assumed the post as coach of Minnesota’s then AHL affiliate, the Houston Aeros. After one season in the AHL, in which Yeo lead the Aeros to the Calder Cup final, he was announced as the Wild’s new coach after the club let go of Todd Richards.
Under Yeo, the Wild posted a record of 173-132-44 and they appeared in the post-season each of the past three campaigns. The Wild never escaped the second round, however, losing in three straight seasons to the Blackhawks.
UPDATE: According to Russo, John Torchetti, coach of the Wild AHL affiliate Iowa Wild, will reportedly be named interim coach. Torchetti has previously been an assistant with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, Chicago Blackhawks and Atlanta Thrashers. He has come in as a midseason replacement twice before, once with the Panthers in 2003-04 and again with the Kings in 2005-06.