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.
No, the Nashville Predators did not forget how to score goals … or at least they were lifted from that amnesia on Wednesday.
Mike Fisher lifted the curse 13:52 into the first period of tonight’s game against the Buffalo Sabres. You can watch that rare beast in the video above.
They had been shut out for three straight games and pretty close to four in pure game time.
On this subject, PHT’s Jason Brough asked Predators GM David Poile if he was considering moving a defenseman to improve in another area earlier today.
Tyler Ennis can probably relate with the Buffalo Sabres’ opponent on Wednesday, as he’s struggling almost as much as the Nashville Predators.
Perhaps some of that has to do with health?
Whether that’s the case or not, Ennis is out for the Sabres tonight, as the team announced that he’s dealing with an upper-body injury.
The Buffalo News discussed Ennis’ struggles in this article.
“I’d say he’s pressing too much. You can’t make those plays in every situation and in every point you touch the puck,” Dan Bylsma said to the Buffalo News. “ … He’s just got to simplify his game. He is a special player who can make those plays, but he can’t be trying to do it every time he touches the puck.”
He’ll need to wait a while to start getting things together, anyway.
You can check out tonight’s Wednesday Night Rivalry doubleheader on NBCSN, and you can also stream them online.
Here are the handy links for the two contests.
First, the New York Islanders host the Philadelphia Flyers.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
After that, the Chicago Blackhawks visit the San Jose Sharks.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
The San Jose Sharks will be missing a top-4 defenseman tonight when they host the defending champs from Chicago.
Justin Braun has an upper-body injury. His status is considered day-to-day.
“Brauny has been one of our unsung heroes here through the first quarter of the season,” coach Peter DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “He’s played some outstanding hockey. So, we’re going to miss him, but it’s a great opportunity for Mueller and Tennyson and one of these guys to establish themselves. It’s a great opportunity for us to reward Dillon for how well he’s played.”
Against the Blackhawks, Brenden Dillon will take Braun’s spot on the top pairing alongside Marc-Edouard Vlasic; Paul Martin and Brent Burns will stay together on the second pairing; and 20-year-old Mirco Mueller will skate with Matt Tennyson.
Mueller has played just four games for the Sharks this season. In his last game, Thursday in Philadelphia, he received only 9:13 of ice time.
Also tonight, new Shark forward Dainius Zubrus is expected to debut on the fourth line.
Related: Sharks sign Zubrus, because DeBoer