The Minnesota Wild fired head coach Mike Yeo on Saturday, as first reported by Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. John Torchetti, the team's coach of its AHL affiliate Iowa Wild, was named Minnesota's interim head coach. The Wild confirmed the news and provided a statement from general manager Chuck Fletcher.
"I would like to thank Mike for the hard work and dedication he provided behind the bench for the Minnesota Wild organization and wish him the best in the future," Fletcher said on Saturday.
The Wild sat at 23-22-10, five points out of the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference, at the time of the announcement. Yeo went 173-132-44 in four-plus seasons in Minnesota.
Chad Graff of the Pioneer Press provided additional comments from Fletcher and Torchetti on Sunday:
When asked about the critique, Yeo didn't agree with it, per Graff: “I really don’t care what he says,” Yeo said.
The firing comes on the heels of 13 losses in 14 games and some interesting tweets from former Wild player Zenon Konopka:
Minnesota had not made the playoffs for three straight seasons before Yeo arrived in 2011. He failed to qualify in his first season but has taken his team to the postseason in the past three years, advancing to the conference semifinals in the past two.
|Minnesota Wild Under Mike Yeo|
|2011-12||35-36-11||81||Did not qualify|
|2012-13||26-19-3||55||Lost in conference quarterfinals|
|2013-14||43-27-12||98||Lost in conference semifinals|
|2014-15||46-28-8||100||Lost in conference semifinals|
"I'm not freaking quitting here," Yeo said following the defeat, per Russo.
But the Wild brass felt it was time to make the move. John Shannon of Hockey Central on Sportsnet thought Torchetti was a good replacement even before it was reported:
The Wild still have a shot at the playoffs, and a fresh start with a new coach could be enough to put them over the edge and into the postseason.