Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo met with the media Thursday to recap the Wild’s season and look towards a bright future. Here is a selection of some of his best quotes from the day.
On the season end:
“To be perfectly honest, I’m still a little bit bitter. There’s still a little bit of disbelief. You wake up in the morning and think ‘ok I’m on my way to work.’ Obviously it’s a season — it’s long, it’s hard. There’s a lot of incredibly great emotions that go along with some of the tough parts and it just comes to a grinding halt. So, still a little bit of disbelief I guess.”
On the main takeaway from the postseason experience:
“There’s a lot of what ifs and a bit of an empty feeling that there was more hanging there for us. But what I do want them to take out of it is the belief that we can beat anybody. We have an end result in mind here and that’s to win the Stanley Cup. We’ve been building towards that and we should feel that that’s an attainable goal for ourselves.”
On playing through pain:
“It’s hard to win. There’s a price that has to be paid. When you see your guys paying that price, that’s really impressive to us. It’s a good learning opportunity; a good learning experience to go through that. Like I’ve said before, my biggest hope is that the players start to feel that pride. Of course it’s hard and of course it hurts but there’s a pride inside of winners that exists that fuels them. That’s what we want to make sure we keep building off.”
On going through an “emotional rite of passage” in the playoffs:
“I do think that understanding what it is, is the first step, and believing that you’re capable of doing it. We could’ve this year. That’s the hard part for me. I know it’s hard but we could’ve. We were playing great hockey. Night in and night out, consistent hockey. Never perfect, but it never is — we’re playing against some of the best teams in the League too. I believe there are some positives, I believe we’ve taken some real steps towards that goal, but I also am realistic that it’s really hard. We should look forward to that challenge. That’s what makes it so great.”
On looking forward to next season:
“That’s individually, that’s our players continuing to grow and continuing to get better. And that’s as our group. One thing that we’ve done here year after year is we’ve taken a hard look at our game and we’ll continue to do that. We’re not sitting around saying we’ve arrived.
“Let’s be honest, those core guys, part of what they’ve brought is an established career and established players. The real potential for growth in our team is with our young players. As our young players continue to get better, our team will continue to get better. That has to be a focus for us. That’s part of the challenge too. You have to make sure you don’t start the same way from game to game or series to series. It’s season to season now. We can’t start feeling too good about ourselves. We have to understand that we play in the toughest division in the NHL and next year is going to be hard again. We should have higher goals, we should have higher expectations for ourselves, but we have to know that it’s going to be hard. For me, it starts right now in the offseason.”
On Patrick Kane’s comment about the Wild being a “hell of a team”:
“That’s what we’re looking for; to keep gaining the respect of people not only that we’re playing against but people around the league, and people to start to see and appreciate what we’ve got going here. I agree with him. I think we do have a hell of a team. We’ve got to keep working, we’ve got to keep getting better. But there’s definitely some good days ahead.”
On the partition:
“I’ve got plans for it.
“I’m surprised I haven’t gone down there and broken the darn thing. But our building is first class. It’s a partition and it was a weird bounce.