Mike Yeo was the head coach of the Minnesota Wild until he was fired on Feb. 13. He spoke about his time with the Wild with the media for the first time on Wednesday and had plenty to say on the involvement of former head coach Adam Oates.
Oates has become a personal coach for players across the league. Among his clients are Minnesota stars Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. In his comments on Wednesday, it sounds like Yeo felt that Oates' presence had a negative impact on the team.
"I felt a lot of things right from the start of the year, let’s put it that way," Yeo said. "We had the best [first half] in franchise history and things never felt right."
Oates was hired before the season by Parise and Suter, according to the Star Tribune. Is that what Yeo was referring to?
When asked if the issues this season all started with Oates, Yeo said, "Yeah. I thought we dealt with it. We talked with Zach, and we had no issues with it after that. And talked with some players, and … Whether it’s something like that, whether it’s the trade rumors, whatever it is, when there’s things that might cause a little unrest, they kind of sit there and they hang out. When things are going well, they’re forgotten and pushed to the side. But when things don’t go well, quite often they come back.”
Things were further complicated when Oates came to a morning skate on Jan. 12. When asked about that, Yeo said, "I’m not going to even comment on it. But I would say, that I would not do the same thing.”
Though his comments are a bit vague, it seems clear that at the very least, Yeo was displeased with Oates' influence on his players.
Yeo was considered on the hot seat in the 2014-15 season before a trade for Devan Dubnyk resurrected the Wild's season. With further struggles this season, it seems understandable why a coach would be upset by the lingering presence of Oates who has made it clear he wants to be a head coach again.
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