The Minnesota Wild have fired head coach Mike Yeo, according to an announcement made by the team following Saturday's loss against the Boston Bruins. The move comes in the midst of a season that has quickly become a source of frustration for Wild fans, who are used to their team being in playoff contention.
Yeo was in his fifth season as head coach of the Wild, having taken them to the playoffs the last three years. All three trips ended at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks.
The team was coming off of one of their more successful seasons ever, as they finished last season with the second most wins, and most points in franchise history. The season ended in the Western Conference Semifinals against Chicago.
“I would like to thank Mike for the hard work and dedication he provided behind the bench for the Minnesota Wild organization and wish him the best in the future." General Manager Chuck Fletcher said in a statement announcing the move.
The move was a bit of a shock, as Fletcher had just recently said that he wouldn't fire Yeo.
"I knew what he said the other day, and I'm a realist," Yeo said about the vote of confidence, "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'm going to 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."
The team named John Torchetti as the interim head coach. Torchetti was the head coach of the Wild's minor league affiliate, the Iowa Wild. In addition to being named interim head coach, he is expected to interview for the job, probably following the season. He is no stranger to being a interim head coach, as he twice previously served in the position, first in 2003-04 with the Florida Panthers, than in 2005-06 with the Los Angeles Kings. In his brief head coach career, he has compiled a record of 15-19.
The Wild now take their 23-22-10 record into their game Monday night to visit the Vancouver Canucks. This season, the Canucks have a record similar to the Wild's, as they sit at a 22-21-12 mark.