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They Said It: Fletcher, Yeo Quotes - June 6

by Kelly Erickson / Minnesota Wild

Chuck Fletcher on Mike Yeo’s contract extension:

It is a contract extension that was richly earned. Through a lot of blood, sweat and tears this season, Mike and his staff took our team to the Second Round of the playoffs for only the second time in club history.

When I initially hired Mike a few years ago, I asked him to do two things: one, win hockey games, and two, to do so while developing young players. When I look at Mike right now and the job he and his staff have done, we’ve become a team that is recognized around the League. We’ve started to create an identity of being a hard working, fast and resilient team. That has been very critical to our success, in establishing that identity. We’ve also become a team that’s won a lot of hockey games and we’ve done so while playing a lot of young kids — all of whom have developed nicely under Mike and his staff’s direction. We couldn’t be happier.

Yeo on what he’s learned so far and how he’s still growing:

There’s so much to be learned in this profession when it comes to the motivational part, the team building part, the putting of players in roles and making everybody feel like they’re absolutely contributing, especially the bench management — that’s a huge part as well. There’s a number of little areas. I do believe I’ve learned a lot about the game, the NHL game. It’s ever changing and I believe that we’re changing with it. I think more than anything else it’s probably the roles and the things that are required of a head coach.

Fletcher on developing young players:

He started that process in Houston, he and Darryl Sydor… Some of the young guys that are now playing for us started down that path with him. He very quickly showed to be a very good coach from a developmental standpoint. That’s what we’re trying to do. In the cap world, clearly we have some players with higher cap numbers and in order to make it all work we need to have young players that not just play and wear a jersey, but players that can contribute. That means you have to develop at the NHL level. It’s a completely different model now than it used to be.

Fletcher on Yeo being "the guy":

Mike certainly is the only guy that was going to be here. It became apparent to me over the year with the way he handled the distractions, the way he handled the different situations that were thrown at him. Let’s be honest, how many different head coaches had to deal with what he dealt with in terms of goaltending — we had four different goaltenders that were number one at some point in time. Again, a lot of young players, we had a very young defensive corps, and he had to constantly integrate new pieces into the lineup. I think Mike and his staff did a terrific job. The results were there. To make the playoffs, to finish the season with 98 points, to make the Second Round is obviously a good season, but more importantly the way we did it. When you look now at most of our young players, I’d be hard pressed to sit here and name one player that isn’t better now than he was at the beginning of the year.

Fletcher on Yeo’s ability to handle distractions this past season:

He did a great job. I think the way he handled it, I think his demeanor in terms of dealing with it, trickled down to our players. I’ll never forget Zach (Parise), someone asked him about the goaltending in the playoffs, I think Zach’s quote was ‘we don’t even notice it anymore.’ I think that speaks to Mike and how he handled everything, from the losing streak in late December to a little bit of some up and down play in March, to the injuries, to losing Mikko and Zach at the same time, to the goaltending. Once we got into the playoffs, that Colorado series was a roller coaster and I think the team took on Mike’s demeanor. I think that helped up get through.

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