Being a head coach in the NHL is a perilous job. Turnover is high and guys are constantly shuffled in and out of jobs. Being the coach of a team with high-priced talent and big aspirations means having all the pressure in the world on your shoulders to win.
That’s the position Minnesota bench boss Mike Yeo finds himself in.
Entering his third season on the job, Yeo finds himself at the helm of a team that’s looking for more offense but made the playoffs last season even in spite of those troubles.
After getting bounced by Chicago in the first round of the playoffs, however, some fans in Minnesota were hopeful to see Yeo replaced, especially with the host of coaching talent available over the summer. Instead, GM Chuck Fletcher brought him back for another year.
With expectations perhaps being unreasonably high amongst Wild fans, especially considering many of their players are still very young and they just made the playoffs for the first time in five years, getting on Yeo’s case about coaching them the “right way” might not work out.
Think of the changes the team has seen over the past six years:
- Three different head coaches (Jacques Lemaire, Todd Richards, Yeo)
- Three different systems
- Very little development of their prospects (until recently)
- Little free agency success (again, until recently)
Stanley Cup championships just don’t happen overnight and Yeo did get the team going in the right direction last year…
That said, the team got out to a flying start two seasons ago under him only to crash and burn in December. Last season, they slowed down towards the end of the season going 6-8-1 before the playoffs. Those kinds of streaks stick out in people’s minds.
Getting out to a hot start only to hit a wall two months in will cause heartache with fans again, only this time they’ll be angry and looking for answers.