Thursday, June 12, 2014

2013-14 Season In Review: Mike Yeo

Photo: Sherri LaRose-Chiglo/Pioneer Press
A review of the head coach, Mike Yeo.


Minnesota (NHL): Regular Season: 43-27-12, 98 Points, Fourth in Central Division
                             Playoffs: 6-7 (Win vs Colorado 4-3, Loss vs Chicago 2-4)


The Wild got off to one of their best starts in franchise history under Yeo this year, guiding them to a 15-5-4 record. However the Wild faltered in the next 18 games to close out 2013, going 5-12-1 including a six game losing streak to end December. There was rampant speculation that Yeo was on the verge of losing his job, but that did not sway the coach from changing his tactics. He continued on doing his job like nothing was on the line.

The team came out and played to a 11-4-2 record going into the Olympic Break to keep Yeo behind the bench. Minnesota finished the season on a 12-6-5 note, to gain their second consecutive playoff berth as the top Wild Card team. All of this was accomplished, while having a rotating door of goaltenders start games for him this year (five different goalies).

After falling behind 2-0 in the first round series against Colorado, Yeo changed his lineup and allowed the Wild to reel off two straight wins to even the series and guided them to a Game Seven win in Denver. The Wild went toe to toe with Chicago in Round Two before being sent home in six games. It was Minnesota's first trip to the second round of the playoffs in 11 years.

Under Yeo this season, young stars Mikael Granlund, Nino Niederreiter, Charlie Coyle, Jared Spurgeon, and Marco Scandella all showed tremendous growth as the season went on and were key players in Minnesota's postseason.

In each of Yeo's three seasons, the Wild have improved on the ice. They went from a missed postseason (2011-12) to sneaking into a playoff appearance (2012-13) to winning a playoff series (2013-14).

Status for 2014-15

Yeo and his coaching staff were set to be free agents at the end of June. However, Yeo was given a contract extension last week and his coaching staff should not be far behind too. His new contract is good for another three seasons, taking him through the 2016-17. Moving forward, the expectations on Yeo will be guiding the team to deep playoff runs, not just getting in anymore. With the returning roster next year, Yeo will definitely have all the tools to get the team deep in the playoffs.

Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell

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