The Minnesota Wild has lost six games in a row, 12 of 14 and 17 of its past 24. But don't put the team's losing on head coach Mike Yeo.
General manager Chuck Fletcher, in a phone call with Michael Russo of the Star Tribune on Wednesday evening, said the team is experiencing an "overall performance issue" that cannot solely be pinned on Yeo.
“We’ve got an overall performance issue here,” he said. “I’m not looking at Mike at all right now. He’s our coach. He’s a good coach.”
It's the second time in as many weeks that Yeo has received public support from his boss. Fletcher did the same after Yeo was caught on camera slamming his stick against the boards shortly after berating his team with an expletive-filled rant during a practice. Yeo's meltdown gained national attention. It was a rare look at a professional coach losing his cool on camera.
But Yeo says he's not exactly convinced he's not on thin ice.
"To say that I'm not worried, of course I am," Yeo said Wednesday, according to the Pioneer Press. "I'm a realist; I know what's going on. But I'm not going to sit around and mope and feel sorry for myself. I've got a job to do, and now is when I have to do it better than ever."
He elaborated a bit more during an interview with KFAN on Thursday morning.
Sports Illustrated's Allan Mur got it wrong when on Wednesday he wrote that with the Wild's goaltending situation in shambles, and not a lot available on the trade market, it was more likely that Fletcher would fire Yeo than sell a young prospect or valuable trade asset for a goalie. Fletcher did the exact opposite by trading a third-round pick in 2015 to the Arizona Coyotes for goalie Devan Dubnyk.
Dubnyk will join the team for Thursday's game in Buffalo.
Puck Daddy's Greg Wyshynski wrote that a coach is only as good as his goaltending. If that's the case, Yeo isn't very good.
"While we’re dealing with truth, let’s be honest here: a coach is only as good as his goaltending, and the Wild’s sucks.
That’s the reason I left them on the outside looking in for the playoffs in our postseason predictions. That 3.02 GAA as a team is 24th in the NHL, after the Wild were seventh last season at 2.42. So either Thomas Vanek is a defensive cancer, or the goaltending is nowhere near as good as it was last season."
Yeo's back has been against the wall before, and he's always responded with enough wins to save his job – or even get a contract extension. Yeo and the Wild drop the puck in Buffalo at 6 p.m. Thursday.