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Mike Yeo Fired by Wild: Latest Details, Comments, Reaction

Mike Norris@@MikeNorrisBRFeatured Columnist

Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo watches from the bench during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Dallas Stars Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
LM Otero/Associated Press

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 coachThe 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:

Chad Graff @ChadGraff

#mnwild GM Chuck Fletcher on struggling team: "I take full ownership. I hired the coach and chose the players."

Chad Graff @ChadGraff

#mnwild GM Chuck Fletcher on Mike Yeo: "He deserves a lot of credit for stabilizing this franchise."

Chad Graff @ChadGraff

#mnwild GM Chuck Fletcher on John Torchetti: "He has free reign to do what he thinks we need to win."

Chad Graff @ChadGraff

#mnwild GM Chuck Fletcher: "I'm disappointed in everyone including myself. There's not one player in that room playing as well as they can."

Chad Graff @ChadGraff

#MNWild GM Chuck Fletcher said John Torchetti could, "absolutely " become the next full time head coach.

Chad Graff @ChadGraff

#mnwild interim coach John Torchetti on the team's leaders: "I'm going to hold them accountable and push them hard."

Chad Graff @ChadGraff

#mnwild interim coach John Torchetti: "We've got to start being the hunter, not the hunted."

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:

Zenon Konopka @ZenonKonopka

The Minnesota Wild have so much talent. All the pieces to be Stanley Cup champs- wasting years isn't fair to the players or fans #YeohastoGo

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
YearW-L-OLPointsPlayoffs
2011-1235-36-1181Did not qualify
2012-1326-19-355Lost in conference quarterfinals
2013-1443-27-1298Lost in conference semifinals
2014-1546-28-8100Lost in conference semifinals
2015-1623-22-1056N/A
173-132-44390
Hockey-Reference.com

But it wasn't enough, as the team held long meetings with Yeo following Saturday's loss to the Boston Bruins, according to James O'Brien  of NBCSports.com.

"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:

John Shannon @JSportsnet

With Mike Yeo fired, you have to wonder if John Torchetti, the AHL Wild coach in Iowa, is the obvious replacement?

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.

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