Yeo Just "Snapped"
Yesterday, Mike Yeo lost his lid on the Wild. The mild-mannered substitute teacher went full Key-and-Peele on the bit and went on a ‘tirade' over the work ethic and complacency of the team.
The theories for what finally cracked our egg-headed coach are as numerous as the four-letter-words which echoed through the halls of the arena; could Yeo have been trying to tell the team that Kuemper can't take all the blame? Was he delivering a message received from Chuck Fletcher? Perhaps he is starting to panic for fear of his job?
Every single one of the theories fall into one of two categories: premeditated and non.The question as to whether Yeo had pre-planned this rant seems preposterous to me. Yeo could not have planned this scream-fest if he had wanted to, and there are a few key reasons.
First and foremost, it's more than obvious when someone is truly screaming at you, or when they simply want to be screaming at you. When someone finally snaps, it is obvious. The best actors have a hard time selling their fury, and an actor Yeo is not.
This is the first (recorded) episode of Yeo screaming at the team in anger. Last season, we saw the team enter dire straits. The situation was similar; losing streak, team needing wins to keep playoff hopes alive, a bad loss... what finally woke the team up was a players-only meeting.
They've had that meeting this season. It didn't work. Nothing changed. Since the beginning of the season, we've seen the Wild slowly decline in terms of driving play. We've seen the Wild struggle in net. The one bright spot has been the offense, which has found ways to score regularly, culminating in the highest offensive output we've yet seen in the State of Hockey.
Nothing seems to be able to wake the Wild from their slumber, and they don't have any more time to lose. Despite a well-earned extension last year, Yeo has to be feeling his seat-heater is on at least the "low" setting.
A common narrative has been the failure of Mikko Koivu's leadership. If that's the case, then we have to pin that on Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, and Jason Pominville as well; anyone who doesn't think they are as much leaders as Koivu is fooling themselves. The team of 4 has been unable to turn around the Wild's locker room.
And so, with the season quickly becoming a lost cause (if it isn't there already), with the Wild's most charismatic leader away from the team, and with the Wild seemingly apathetic despite what seems like the 30th loss-that-should-have-been-a-win of the season, Mike Yeo has had enough.
Remember, Yeo had a promising career ahead of him when an injury forced him to retire; he understands more than most just how limited the players' time to enjoy the game is. Desperate for his career to stop being in jeopardy, frantic for his players to use the time they have, and probably sick of his team playing below their potential, snapped.
The "tirade" today was the result of Yeo holding in his frustrations; at the players for underperforming, at the refs for missing calls that hurt the Wild, at sicknesses and injuries for holding back his squad, and likely at himself for not figuring out this puzzle. The pent up anger emerged, briefly, from our follicly challenged leader in a short and explosive burst of energy.
The good news about this is that it is something the players have yet to see from Yeo. If anything is going to wake them up, this is likely it. The bad news is that Yeo's tank is likely empty now. His tricks are (probably) used up, and this was a last-ditch effort to get his players to use their time effectively.
Yeo Just Being Clever
Yesterday's Mike Yeo Meltdown went viral throughout the blogosphere and Tweetdecks. It was odd, wasn't it? Mike Yeo is normally the calm, cool and collected head coach that doesn't call out his players publicly. Even in the press conferences after games, he chooses his words very carefully as to not make locker room issues made public. So yesterday's ranting and raving during the Wild's practice session seemed out of character, to say the least.
Mike Yeo is the calm, cool, and collected head coach of the Minnesota Wild. Head coaches are also very calculated.
Sure, the tirade seemed to be the result of a desperate coach grasping at straws and throwing expletives towards his team as their season runs down the drain.
But didn't the series of events seem peculiar?
Yeo started practice with the team. After 10 minutes of practice (pretty well-rounded number), the coach then decided to verbally lay into his team. He ranted and raved about how the team isn't doing the things needed to win. Yeo continued on about a loser's mentality by not working hard and he even went on to ask the team if they think they didn't need practice (this of course was angrily sarcastic and rhetorical). Mikko Koivu then appeared to aggravate a "lower body" injury and broke his stick in two while trudging off the ice.
Then he skated them...hard, by having them skate the width of the ice (notice, not the length of the ice because he can't afford tired legs against the Blackhawks the following day). Real Herbies are done from the goal line at one end of the rink to the other end. They are not usually done in a bag skate prior to a game day.
Then Yeo exited stage right after breaking his stick on the boards near the benches after ripping his team one more time for not giving effort and not being ready to practice.
So if you're keeping track, the Wild were then without the head coach, the captain, and the assistant captain Zach Parise, were just destroyed by their coach in front of the media in attendance.
My guess? This was a test. Yeo in a very calculated move wanted to see how his team would respond for the rest of practice without the eyes of the coach and the captain and just being accused for not giving full effort.
What Yeo also has going for him is the fact this rant was out of character. Yeo knew his tirade would be public and that media types would make it public. So for a guy that chooses his words carefully, isn't demonstrative during games or in front of the media, this type of demonstration was surely going to be talked about. The players know they were just berated publicy, which Yeo almost never does. The stick breaking, the expletives and the bag skating were just clever ways to get his team to take notice, because Yeo knew the players were going to asked about his tirade in practice and the things he said.
What do you think Wilderness? Let us know in the comments.