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Yeo on Zidlicky: “That’s not the right way to handle it”

Mike Yeo, Mikko Koivu, Dany Heatley, Marek Zidlicky, Cal Clutterbuck, Devin Setoguchi

Minnesota Wild’s coach Mike Yeo, center, talks with Wild players, from left, Mikko Koivu, of Finland; Dany Heatley, of Germany; Marek Zidlicky, of the Czech Republic; Cal Clutterbuck and Devin Setoguchi during a time out in the first period of a preseason NHL hockey game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Friday, Sept. 23, 2011, in St. Paul, Minn. Minnesota won in overtime 4-3. (AP Photo/Tom Olmscheid)


Marek Zidlicky wasn’t shy about airing his grievances after Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo made him a healthy scratch for another game. To little surprise, Yeo isn’t very happy about the way Zidlicky has reacted to the situation, as Yeo relayed some pointed responses to Minnesota beat reporter Michael Russo.

“One thing for sure, we’re going to talk,” Yeo said. “This is not the right way to handle it. Much the same as I wouldn’t want a player to pick up the newspaper one day and read something like, ‘Woah, I didn’t know the coach thought that.’ Like, come into talk to me if there’s a problem.”

Zidlicky criticized the way Yeo has been utilizing him in the Wild’s scheme, as the offensive defenseman has seen his role diminish substantially lately - especially this season. Yeo clearly isn’t thrilled about Zidlicky’s claim that Yeo is demanding that the defenseman ignore his instincts and play “easy hockey.”

“One problem for me is when he says I can’t change,” Yeo said. “1) One it speaks to the buy-in for me, but 2) I don’t want him to change. I don’t ask Cal Clutterbuck to change. I don’t ask Matt Cullen to change. I don’t ask Mikko Koivu, Dany Heatley, any of these guys. I haven’t asked Marek Zidlicky to change either. I want them to be themselves, to play their game, but to do it within the team concept. That’s it.”

While it’s pretty tough to imagine Zidlicky playing another game for Yeo, the Wild coach gave an understandably vague answer when asked about how he’ll handle the defenseman if he returns to the lineup: “We’ll worry about tomorrow tomorrow.”

The educated guess is that GM Chuck Fletcher will be the one dealing with the “tomorrow - tomorrow” issue instead, though.