One day after the Minnesota Wild lost for the 13th time in their past 20 games, coach Mike Yeo reached his boiling point.
Yeo laced into his team Wednesday with a tirade that, according to the Minneapolis-Star Tribune, demanded more effort and execution, detailed how poorly the Wild have been playing and lambasted the players for having the "audacity to show up and practice like this!" After screaming for about a minute, Yeo skated toward the visiting bench, slammed his stick into the glass, skated toward the Wild bench and left the ice.
"We weren't good enough," Yeo told the Wild website. "And we're not in a position where we can come in and be let alone decent in practice, bad at practice. I'm not going to accept that. I think I made my point at that time and that was enough.
"We lost [Tuesday to the San Jose Sharks]. We come to the rink today and what are we going to have a practice like that? That's not good enough. I know one thing, we can hang our heads, we can feel sorry for ourselves, we can point fingers, we can do whatever we want. But those types of things are not the types of things that winners do and those types of things do not help you get out of something like this. I know what I'm going to control and I'm going to make sure that I bring it."
Wild assistant coaches ran the rest of practice.
"I think [Yeo] lost it here," forward Thomas Vanek told the Star-Tribune's Michael Russo. "He's been pretty good with us, staying upbeat. We played well last night. It's not good when you lose a hockey game. That was his message. He didn't like how some of us practiced and came out, so those things happen."
The Wild blew a 2-0 lead against the Sharks and lost 4-3 on defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic's goal 3:09 into overtime. Minnesota (18-15-5) has lost two straight and eight of 10, including a 7-1 loss to the Dallas Stars on Jan. 3, and is eight points out of the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"I played for [coach] Lindy [Ruff in Buffalo] for a long time, so I've seen it before," Vanek said, according to the Star-Tribune. "[Yeo's] frustrated just as is many guys in here, so I think we'll be OK. I think it was maybe needed. We had a terrible game in Dallas. I thought we responded pretty well. We'll respond again tomorrow and play hard."
The Wild play the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday at Xcel Energy Center. The Blackhawks eliminated the Wild in six games in the Western Conference Second Round last season and defeated them 5-3 at United Center on Dec. 16.
"We're in a difficult spot and we've got a tough road ahead of ourselves," Yeo said. "We might have guys out of the lineup and that's fine. But the one thing you can always control is your work ethic and your attitude, and everything else follows suit after that."
Wild goalie Darcy Kuemper left practice with what Yeo referenced as something minor, according to the Star-Tribune. Captain Mikko Koivu, who has been playing through a lower-body injury, also left after being bumped to the ice but came back.
"He left hurt," Yeo said of Koivu. "I don't have an update on that but I did see that he returned at the end."
The Wild will be without defenseman Marco Scandella (upper body) and forward Zach Parise on Thursday. Parise is with his father, retired NHL player J.P. Parise, who has stage 4 lung cancer.
"I’m just giving him space right now," Yeo said of Parise.