I'm not going to try to pretend that that was good enough, that's for sure.
Yes, Mike, we watched it too.
Was that jittery, frustrated team?
Everybody has nerves, everybody has emotions, good and bad, and you have to find a way to deliver, you have to find a way to play, and we didn't
Where has this emotion you speak of? It certainly doesn't appear on the ice. But you're absolutely right, good, bad, or indifferent, the players have to find a way to execute on the ice. What they've shown for a month and change is the a complete lack of execution and a will to give a damn about playing poorly.
Are you worried this is going to cost you your job?
"I'm a realist. You can't lose every game and expect to think that there's not going to be changes. I'm operating under the assumption that I'll be the coach tomorrow, and I know what I'm going to do and it's going to be something different from what we've done. That's what happens. When you lose, you're looking for a response, you need a response, and so you can try to, whether it's change players, whether it's change coach, whether you don't do anything, you're either going to get a response from the group and you're going to change things or you're not and you're not going to change things. And that's what we need right now. We need a response because that was not good enough.
The response has been loud and clear for weeks now, not just this one game either. The team has responded by not coming out of the locker room and doing the things necessary to win. By giving more of a lassez faire effort with execution on the simple parts of the game, their response in this crucial point of the season has been a big "F you" to fans and their coach.
I'm disappointed in that game. Very. Very disappointed with that game. I thought we had three games where I thought the outcome could have been different. I thought there were three games where I thought that we were coming, and I was expecting a much different performance of our group today.
That's the problem with moral victories. They give a false sense of accomplishment with not really accomplishing anything at all. You could point to better games against the Stars and the Capitals, but they were both in losing efforts. A professional sports team should have no business in moral victories. They don't, and won't, ever count on the scoreboard. The three games were winnable. And so were the three games against the Blues, Rangers, and Islanders before that. And so was the two in San Jose and Arizona before that. And the five games against the Devils, Sabres, Jets, Predators, and Ducks a few weeks ago. Us fans are disappointed with the entire month of terrible process and lack of any emotion, let alone the losing, not just this one game.
What changes will you make tomorrow? That's between me and them
Which means nothing, really. Pominville was demoted to the 4th line to start against Boston, but it's not like that demotion lasted for anything meaningful in time, considering he still saw time on the second power play unit and the entire first period was a special teams barn show. Other "changes" done this season have hardly lasted past one game, or were taken out on the wrong players, therefore sending only confusing and muddled messages.
Pominville to the fourth line, then third:
"A response, and he did. Wasn't planning on playing him with Thomas and Haulzy there, but with the penalties, I wanted to give him a shift because Fonzie was killing. They drew a penalty, had a good shift in the offensive zone. Kept rolling with him, that group gave us the most offensive zone time and a little bit more sustained pressure than anybody else.
This line was better. However, I don't know how you expect a player to 'get the message' when things change almost immediately. Even before the game there were large numbers of people running the stop watch on how long the demotion would last. And, sure enough, that is exactly what happened.
Microcosm giving up a goal 35 seconds after tying it?
It's almost more difficult to do what we are doing right now than it is to win a whole bunch of games. We just keep finding different ways to lose hockey games and tonight we give up a shortie, we give up a breakaway goal and we give up a 2-on-1 with a forward defending it. That's not exactly a recipe for winning hockey.
No, winning isn't easy. It's not supposed to be. If it was, the Oilers would be a dynasty. It's clear that the team isn't willing to make the sacrifice to win. No one is blocking shots, or crashing the net and taking the abuse for goals. No one is making sure that the puck is going to be easily handled by his teammate on a pass, or attacking the front of the net with the puck with any real purpose. The process is awful. Simple zone exits or entries fall apart because no one supports the puck, or make sure that they are sure with the puck.
Do you believe this core is still good enough?
"I had a chance when Mikey scored, you're down two goals and we've got 30 seconds left, are we going to tie the game up? No. So I could have not pulled the goalie, but the message is pretty simple: I'm not freaking quitting here, and I'm not quitting on this group. I'm going to show some fight, and I believe in the group, but better start believing in each other and better start delivering.
I appreciate the fight, Mike. I do. But you're only sending yourself into an ambush if you don't have the guys behind you willing to fight for you.. The tension is palpable. They know that your job is on the line. Yet, rather than fight, the team rolls over and dies on a nightly basis. You are like the boxer in the ring taking all the blows to the face, but the team is like a really bad cut-man and isn't able to stop the bleeding. While the owner is getting ready to throw in the white towel.
Have they quit on you?
I don't worry about that. Those are things that are out of my control. I worry about the things that are in my control. Like I said, I know what I'm going to do tomorrow and I'm ready for that.
As the coach, you should be able to control whether or not the team quits on you. Accountability and credibility are the only thing you have in the locker room. If you can't hold everyone accountable, then you lose all credibility. It's the one thing you have as a coach to control the team. And to say that it is something out of your control, well, that says everything anyone needs to know.
Then when the best player on the team, the alternate captain, the face of the franchise, comes out when asked about whether or not the players are responding to Yeo and he says this:
Are the #MNWild not responding to Mike Yeo?— Chad Graff (@ChadGraff) February 13, 2016
"I'm not going to get into that," Zach Parise said. "That's not up to the players."
It's not up to the players? It's not up to the players to respond to the coach? There seems to be a disconnect in the locker room on who's responsible.
Transcript courtesy of Michael Russo and the Minneapolis Star Tribune