At a press conference in St. Paul on Friday afternoon, the Minnesota Wild officially announced the hiring of 37-year old Mike Yeo as the third head coach in the history of the franchise.
Yeo was the head coach of the Wild's AHL affiliate, the Houston Aeros, for just one year, but in that year he led the team to the Calder Cup Finals against the Binghamton Senators. Though the Aeros lost the series in six games, the Wild liked what they saw from Yeo enough to offer him the head coaching job with the big club.
Yeo succeeds Todd Richards, who was fired right after the regular season concluded. Richards was the coach of the Wild for two years, where he compiled a record of 77-71, and the Wild failed to make the post-season both years. Prior to Richards, the coach of the Wild was Jacques Lemaire, who compiled a record of 293-255-55 while behind the Minnesota bench.
Our friends over at Hockey Wilderness, the best Minnesota Wild site on the internet, seem to be big fans of the hire of Yeo, who got the job over rumored names such as Craig MacTavish and Ken Hitchcock.
[T]he hiring of Mike Yeo is a great one. He is a great choice, and Fletcher is right, he fits the team. At least on paper. Yeo has some solid defensive team training from Therrien and Tippet, he coached an Aeros team that was strong defensively, and has shown he can win with players that shouldn't be able to win.
I was terrified that the Wild were going to hire what I call a "stop gap coach." That is what McTavish or Hitchcock would have been. Stop gaps to put a band-aid on the problem and pretend it will stop the bleeding. The Wild were not a very good team. They still aren't. Bringing in a coach that can draw a little blood from the stone and get three or four more wins is not what the organization needed. They need someone who can take the reigns, ride out the rough patch, and make it better long term.
Be sure to check out HW for more on the hiring of Mike Yeo, and all your NHL news.