Sunday, September 4, 2011

A New Face In The State of Hockey: Mike Yeo

Last summer, Chuck Fletcher was able to convince Mike Yeo to leave the Pittsburgh Penguins and become the head coach of the Houston Aeros. Then nearly a year later, the tables were turned and Yeo was able to convince Fletcher he was the right man to coach the Minnesota Wild. And on June 17, Mike Yeo was introduced as the third coach in the history of the Minnesota Wild.

As you see in the above video, Yeo states what his goals are as the bench boss in Minnesota. Firstly, he wants a team that gives 100% every night. He wants a team that has an identity. A team that will pay attention to detail (Essentially, does the little things right). He wants to have a team that will be agressive, physical, and structured (Things the Wild were lacking under the previous coach). And secondly, he wants to establish higher standards here. Something he is carrying over from Pittsburgh. Meaning, he wants the team to set higher goals, and push themselves harder on the ice. Again, this is something the previous coach had been lacking to do here.

Mike Yeo plainly states he wants to establish a team identity, and he wants to set winning standards here. And this offseason he began setting a team identity by reaching out to all his players. He went so far in reaching out to his players, that he took a trip to Finland to visit his star players Mikko Koivu and Niklas Backstrom. This was a smart move by Yeo. He reached out to his captain, first and formost, to help establish those winning standards he is bringing here. And he also is trying to have positive relationships with his players (Another thing I've heard the previous coach did not do well). So clearly, Yeo has gotten off to a positive start as Wild head coach.

Yeo began his coaching career with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and helped lead them to two Calder Cup final appearances in his 5 seasons as an assistant coach. Then, he was hired as an assistant coach in Pittsburgh when Michel Therrien was named the head coach in 2005. Yeo remained an assistant, when Therrien was fired and Dan Bylsma took over in 2008. While behind the bench in Pittsburgh, Yeo helped the Pens reach two Stanley Cup finals (2008, 2009) and winning one, in 2009.

Mike Yeo is a gamble by Chuck Fletcher. But as other GMs think, Mike Yeo will be a solid NHL head coach. And I truly believe the same. And after watching "Becoming Wild" this summer, it has furthered my belief that Yeo is the right man for the job. And I believe that Yeo will be behind the Wild bench for quite some time, giving us some great playoff runs in there as well...

This was the final post in A New Face In The State Of Hockey series for this summer. My previous posts included Darroll Powe, Mike Lundin, Devin Setoguchi, and Dany Heatley.

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