Blackhawks

Wild fire Mike Yeo, ex-Blackhawks coach John Torchetti named interim

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Wild fire Mike Yeo, ex-Blackhawks coach John Torchetti named interim

The Minnesota Wild have relieved Mike Yeo of his head coaching duties effective immediately, the team announced Saturday night.

Yeo was in his the middle of his fifth year with the team. The Wild had lost their eighth straight game prior to his release. The Wild are currently 23-22-10 this season with 56 points, which ranks second to last in the Central Division.

Yeo had a 173-132-44 record in Minnesota. In three postseason appearances with the Wild, the Blackhawks knocked out Yeo's squad all three times. He was 11-17 in the playoffs.

With Yeo's exit, former Blackhawks assistant coach John Torchetti will become the team's interim coach. Torchetti has been serving as the head coach for the Iowa Wild, Minnesota's AHL affiliate.

Torchetti assisted the Blackhawks behind the bench from 2007-2010, helping the team win their first Stanley Cup in 49 years.

Following the Blackhawks' 2010 Stanley Cup win, Torchetti left to become an associate head coach for the Atlanta Thrashers (now the Winnipeg Jets). The following year, he was hired as the new head coach of the Houston Aeros, then the Wild's AHL affiliate, replacing Yeo — who was promoted to manage the Wild.

In 2013-14, Torchetti spent the year overseas to coach KHL's CSKA Moscow. In November 2014, he returned to coach the Iowa Wild, the team's new AHL affiliate.

Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals

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AP

Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals

Four fans at the United Center were thrown out of Saturday's Blackhawks game for taunting Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly with racist remarks.

Midway through the third period, Smith-Pelly, who is black, was in the penalty box when fans shouted "basketball, basketball, basketball" at him, the Washington Post reported.

Here is a GIF of Smith-Pelly's interaction with the fans:

After the game, the Blackhawks released this statement:

Capitals head coach Barry Trotz also had this to say about the incident:

Cue Chelsea Dagger: Blackhawks blow out Capitals to snap eight-game losing streak

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USA TODAY

Cue Chelsea Dagger: Blackhawks blow out Capitals to snap eight-game losing streak

Win one game.

That was Joel Quenneville’s message during the Blackhawks’ eight-game losing streak, which finally came to an end on Saturday night.

How about a 7-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on home ice for a streak-breaker? Now that’s more like it.

Prior to Saturday, the Blackhawks hadn’t recorded a win in February — or a win at the United Center since Jan. 12. 

Though the Blackhawks will likely miss the playoffs for the first time since Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were rookies, a blowout win over the leaders of the Metropolitan Division Capitals had to have felt great.

"It’s a nice way to get over the hump," Toews said. "Sometimes you might just win a 2-1 game or just kind of grind it out, but it was nice for us to fill the net the way we did tonight."

Added Joel Quenneville, "Certainly feels 100 times better than coming in and trying to explain how we had a lead and were unable to sustain it. The complete 60 minutes, three periods the right way, more consistency in our game, way more pace than we’ve seen recently, composure with the puck, shooting around the net. It was fun but that’s one. Let’s see how we respond to this because there’s a lot of hockey left."

The Blackhawks are 25-26-8 with 58 points, and are 11 points out the final wild card spot, currently held by the Minnesota Wild.

Among the highlights:

— Seven different Blackhawks scored: Toews, Kane, Alex DeBrincat, Brandon Saad, Artem Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz, Ryan Hartman

— The Blackhawks are 74-6-4 in the regular season in which Kane and Toews both record a goal — and 41-0-0 in their last 41 games, according to NBC Sports Chicago stats guru Chris Kamka.

— Kane registered career assist No. 500, becoming the sixth Blackhawk with 500 or more. Kane is also the seventh U.S.-born player with 300-plus goals and 500-plus assists, joining Mike Modano, Keith Tkachuk, Jeremy Roenick, Pat LaFontaine, Joe Mullen and Phil Housley, according to Kamka.

"You think about the amount of great Americans that have played the game, how many players actually play hockey in the United States... Growing up all I wanted to do was play hockey," Kane said. "That means a lot, especially when you talk about American-born players."

— DeBrincat's 22nd goal of the season has him tied for the rookie-lead with Tampa Bay Lightning's Yanni Gourde. DeBrincat and Kane also lead the Blackhawks with 22 goals.