The Minnesota Wild
on Friday named Mike Yeo
the third coach in franchise history.
"It is my goal to raise our standards, our expectations -- and I can't wait to get started," Yeo said during a press conference.
At 37, Yeo currently is the youngest coach in the League. He replaces Todd Richards
, who was fired after missing the playoffs in each of his two seasons.
"I'm very excited today. Mike is the right guy for this team. He is a good coach and this is a good day for the Minnesota Wild
," said Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher. "The longer I watched Houston play and their attention to detail, the way they played night in and night out, and knowing what I was looking for in a coach, it just became more apparent the longer the process went that Mike was the guy."
"The longer I watched Houston play and their attention to detail, the way they played night in and night out, and knowing what I was looking for in a coach, it just became more apparent the longer the process went that Mike was the guy." -- Wild GM Chuck Fletcher
Just over a year ago, Yeo was hired to as coach of the Houston Aeros, the Wild's American Hockey League affiliate. It was his first professional head coaching job, and all Yeo did was guide the team to the Calder Cup finals.
Prior to taking the job in Houston, Yeo was an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins
from 2006-10, and has his name on the Stanley Cup from the team's 2009 title.
Also part of that 2009 title team was Fletcher, who was an assistant GM.
Yeo was just 26 years old when he began his coaching career, as an assistant with the AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. He started with the AHL Penguins after he was forced to retire as a player due to a knee injury.
Yeo said he'll soon talk to Fletcher about filling out his coaching staff. Fletcher said assistant coach Rick Wilson and goaltending coach Bob Mason definitely would be back, but Yeo would be allowed to construct the rest of his staff. Dave Barr
and Darby Hendrickson
served on Richards' staff.
After that, it will be time to get to know his new players.
"In the coming days I'm going to make sure that I get in touch with the guys and start planting the seed for what it is that we're looking to get accomplished here in this next season. ... (Then) it's a matter of making sure you're ready to back your beliefs and stick with them and make sure, again, that you're well prepared going into it."
Yeo said he'll have to tweak his coaching style for the NHL, but doesn't believe he'll have to change too much.
"Certainly, you have to look at your personnel and that what you have is going to fit with the style and identity that you want to bring," said Yeo. "But with that, the game that I want to bring is very similar to the Pittsburgh Penguins
. I think if you look at them, it's easy to say, 'Well, they have Sidney Crosby
and Evgeni Malkin
,' but what's really impressive about them is the way that they lost those guys this year and the way that they were able to sustain being one of the top teams in the NHL. For us and what we're going to bring to the table, we're going to be a team that's tough to play against."