The Minnesota Wild decided to fire head coach Mike Yeo on Feb. 13, 2016 as the Wild hopes for the playoffs were slipping away. It has been a disappointing year for the team, who was expected to contend for the Central Division and the Stanley Cup. The Wild are now fighting for one of the two spots for the wild card in order to just make the playoffs.
Mike Yeo was in his fifth season as the head coach for the Wild. The previous three years he has led the Wild to the playoffs. Two of the three years Yeo led the Wild to the second round of the playoffs. The Wild were knocked out of the playoffs the past three years by the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Minnesota Wild appointed John Torchetti as the interim coach for the rest of the season. Torchetti was the coach for farm system team for the Wild. Torchetti will try to turn the team around quickly in order to get them into the playoffs. He has his hands full has he starts his coaching career with a three-game road trip on the west coast. The Wild will face Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers.
The Wild are hoping for the second year in a row that change will bring good fortune to them. Last year the Wild was struggling and was on the verge of missing the playoffs but made a trade to get goalie Devan Dubnyk who saved the Wild season last year. Dubnyk played out of his mind last season and sparked the team to get hot and make the playoffs. This year, the Wild are hoping Torchetti will do the same thing.
Torchetti’s coaching style is different from Yeo’s coaching style. Torchetti is more fierce and intense on the bench compared to Yeo laid back style and soft spoken on the bench. Torchetti’s more intense self on the bench might be better for this Wild team who needs to find a spark.
The road trip on the West Coast was a huge success for the Wild who earned six points on this trip and Torchetti starts his coaching career with three straight wins. They would defeat all three Canadian teams they played and have done so by scoring five goals in each game.
The Wild have looked crisper, quicker and more active in the first three games coached by Torchetti. They looked like a team many people thought they would have been all season. The Wild will need to continue to play this way for the rest of the season in order to make the playoffs as the Western Conference is full of very tough teams and everyone is fighting for a playoff spot.
The three straight wins this past week helped the Wild to come within two points of the wild card spot behind the Nashville Predators and Colorado Avalanche.
The Minnesota Wild will look to continue their win streak this Sunday when they take on the Chicago Blackhawks. This will be a tough test for the Wild but an important one to see if the Wild can compete with the best in the NHL.