Last night, around 10:30, Russo tweeted this:
Star Tribune sources: #mnwild close to hiring Pittsburgh #Penguins assistant coach Mike Yeo as Houston #Aeros coach. Startribune.com/russo
The link, of course, took us to Russo's Rants, where we were given a good deal of information for those who care about what happens with players development in the Wild organization. Obviously, the big piece of information is that Yeo will be the new coach in Houston.
First, here are the links from the Interwebs last night:
Sources: Wild close to hiring Penguins assistant as Houston Aeros head coach; Wild to extend contracts of broadcasters | StarTribune.com - This is where Russo lays it out for us. Make sure you read this so you can keep up with the conversation.
Aeros to tab former player Mike Yeo as new coach | Houston Aeros Season Summary | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle - This is the one where Russo gets a new nickname: "A person close to the situation."
The Third Intermission: Aeros to name Mike Yeo next head coach - Um... just read it and follow along.
Report: Penguins assistant coach set to coach in AHL - ProHockeyTalk - Hockey - NBC Sports - Hockey Joe gives us his immediate take on the situation.
Now that we have all of the information, let's look at this a bit closer.
The immediate reaction from fans in Pittsburgh was one that raises eyebrows a bit. Russo tells us that Yeo was in charge of the Penguins' power play and defensemen. KiPA credits the power play and defensemen as the demise of the Pens season. Not exactly a sparkling reference. Now, keep in mind that Yeo was operating under Bylsma's system, and maybe there were some issues with that. You just never know. Yeo is now in charge, so the system will (at least in part) be his own.
Yeo was likely chosen because of the close ties to both Fletcher and Richards, and hopefully his system meshes well with that of Richards, because that's the whole point here. Constantine was let go to make it possible for the system being taught in Houston to better match that being used here in Minnesota. If that is not the case, then this was a fool's mission. Faith, people. Faith.
Now that we have that out of the way, this is the piece that really caught my eye:
--The Wild also plans to hire a director of player development by the end of the month. The goal is to create a seamless pipeline between the Wild’s prospects and the NHL team. The director of player development will spend roughly a week a month in Houston and one to two weeks a month working with draft picks who are playing junior hockey or in college.Basically, he’ll be the point of contact between the prospects and the organization. Duane Sutter did this in Florida, Tom Fitzgerald in Pittsburgh when Fletcher was in both cities, so you can bet the Wild's new director of player development will be a former player. …(Russo)
A director of player development, huh? This is a very good idea, and one that is way over due. For an organization that has struggled to turn prospects into NHL players, this is a long time coming. This means there will be a point man, someone directly responsible for nothing other than taking a draft pick and making them a member of the Minnesota Wild.
As a couple of fans (including Ms. Conduct) have suggested, Wes Walz fits this bill perfectly. "So you can bet the Wild's new director of player development will be a former player..." Russo says. In all of the hub-bub down in Tampa, Wes Walz was let go for reasons unknown to us to this day, but in stories that followed, Steven Stamkos credited Walz with helping him find his game. Just an friendly reminder, Stamkos scored 51 goals last season. He's 20 years old. Yes, please.
The final bit in the piece from Russo was that the broadcast team has been offered contract extensions of two years. Yes, that means Terhaar and Greenlay will be back. While I share in your disappointment, please do not do what the people commenting on Russo's blog did. Please do not equate the on-ice product with the broadcast team. The two have nothing to do with each other, and it makes you sound absolutely moronic.
Enjoy the day folks. New coach in Houston, director of player development coming on board. Those things outweigh Terhaar and Greenlay. Trust me.