MIke Yeo

Yeo shares secret for Wild success


Friday we linked you to a story about Barry Trotz and how the Predators’ long-time coach owes much of his success to getting his best players to buy in to his system.

Today we’ll link you to a story about Mike Yeo, the new Minnesota Wild coach who shares the same “my way or the highway…as long as you’re cool with it” philosophy.

A philosophy, it should be noted, that’s really working. The Wild is 16-7-3, first place in the Western Conference.

According to the StarTribune, Yeo, along with GM Chuck Fletcher, even traveled to Finland this summer to sell the system — one that presumably involves hard work and tight checking — to Mikko Koivu and Nik Backstrom.

“I definitely did try to sell our game and the way that we have to play, but without the players and their absolute commitment to playing that way and building that identity, it’s all fruitless,” Yeo said.

The general manager concurs.

“It’s about getting the message out there and creating the belief that if we play a certain way, we can win,” Fletcher said. “But then it’s up to the players to accept that and buy in to that.

“Right from Day 1, we saw it with Mikko Koivu and Dany Heatley and Nick Schultz and Matt Cullen and Nik Backstrom. There was a sense from the veteran players that they were sold, and when they’re sold, the whole team is sold.”

The Wild will go for its fourth straight win tonight in Anaheim. There’s still a lot left for Minnesota to prove, but Yeo has to be one of the early candidates for coach of the year.

After PTO, Upshall signs one-year deal with Blues

Florida Panthers v Ottawa Senators
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Scottie Upshall has parlayed his training camp tryout into a contract with St. Louis.

On Monday, the Blues agreed to a one-year, two-way deal with the veteran forward, worth $700,000 at the NHL level. The deal comes after Upshall spent all of training camp and the preseason impressing the Blues his speed and skating ability, no small feat for a 31-year-old veteran with over 500 NHL games on his odometer.

But where Upshall fits in the Blues lineup — and within the organization — remains to be seen.

The club has plenty of depth up front and Upshall isn’t coming off a terrific campaign, having scored just eight goals and 15 points in 63 games with Florida last season. That said, he showed enough to be just one of a handful of veterans on PTOs to score a contract.

Panthers’ Crouse is going back to junior

2015 NHL Draft - Round One
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Lawson Crouse is going back to junior. The big 18-year-old winger confirmed it today on Twitter.

Crouse was drafted 11th overall in June by the Florida Panthers. Despite the club’s belief that Crouse could make “an immediate impact” on the roster, he finished the preseason with just two shots and one assist in three games.

Crouse will return to the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, with whom he’ll look to improve on his modest point totals from last season.

“I don’t think there’s any pressure on the kid,” coach Gerard Gallant said last week. “If he doesn’t make the team this year he goes back to junior … and will have a lot of success.”