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Yeo And Fletcher Recap Season

by Mike Doyle / Minnesota Wild

It was a tough season Wild fans. With the multitude of injuries Minnesota suffered, the team used 47 different players, most in the NHL. The Wild also played 15 rookies, while 10 players made their NHL debut this year. Despite missing the playoffs, there is still reason to be hopeful heading into the offseason. When healthy, the Wild competed with and often beat many of the top teams in the league. Minnesota also has a stable of young talent, built through the Draft, primed to turn pro next season. Head Coach Mike Yeo and General Manager Chuck Fletcher held a press conference to recap the season and to talk about the future of the Minnesota Wild. Here are a few excerpts from the press conference:

“I think we’ve all got an empty feeling to sit here and wonder, “What could’ve been?”

-- Yeo on how the end of the season feels

“Even though we’re disappointed in the outcome for this season, I’m still confident that going forward, we’ve done a lot of things here to will help us get to where we want to be.”

-- Yeo on the outlook and future of the Wild

 “We played with a purpose, we had an identity, which is something that we did not have previously.”

-- Fletcher on the team’s identity

“When you look at it, it was a tale of two seasons. From where we started, to see the strides we made early in the season, I think once we get away from the emotion of the disappointment of not making the playoffs, I think there is a lot we can build off of.”

-- Fletcher on the highs and lows of the season

“There was a lot more uncertainty going into last summer than there is this summer. I think we have established an identity, we do play a certain way and we can be successful when we play that way, if we can add a couple pieces offensively to make it a little easier on our defensive structure.”

-- Fletcher about Minnesota’s outlook heading into the summer

“When you heard us talk about the process, it was to create an environment where you could add new pieces and you could bring new people in and they could fit in to what you were doing.”

-- Yeo on bringing in players and prospects to fit into Minnesota’s system

 “Our standards are high here now. Guys coming in are going to fit into that and it’s going to make us that much stronger.”

-- Yeo on bringing about a change of culture

“When you look at our organization, we have a good growth potential. The things we do well, we do well…our weaknesses are obvious and transparent.”

-- Fletcher on filling the gaps on the roster

“With some good fortune, the team we have right here is good enough to make the playoffs, and I think we showed that for a lot of the season.”

-- Fletcher on how injuries affected the team

“I really think as we get into another division or conference down the road, hopefully that will happen, it will take a lot of wear and tear off our team.”

-- Fletcher on the hopes of realignment

 “This year, they were high impact collision-type of injuries.”

-- Fletcher on injuries to Mikko Koivu, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Guillaume Latendresse

“A lot of our injuries seemed to come after a period of time where we had a whole bunch of road games on the West Coast.”

-- Fletcher on how travel might have impacted the team’s health

“I think we’ll have very good depth next year. Players that Mike can call up and hopefully trust. Players who can, not just survive a game, but play a game and contribute a little bit.”

-- Fletcher on prospects and players developing in Houston

“The symptoms he has now are nowhere near as severe as they were a couple of years ago. The fact that he has symptoms, there’s cause for concern.”

-- Fletcher on Bouchard’s concussion status

 “We’re going to try to improve our offense this summer and try to improve our depth.”

-- Fletcher on what the team will look to add in the offseason

“I feel real confident in the game that we play and I know we can win with it.”

-- Yeo on the team’s systems and style of play

“The one thing that I’ve thought, maybe if we didn’t push as hard when we were struggling, when we first had the injuries, that maybe in short term it might have had some results for us. But I don’t think that’s the right thing to do because we are trying to change the culture here. We have to get to the point that our standards are this high and we never dip below that.”

-- Yeo after being asked if there was anything he’d change about the season

 “I think the guys that you want to bring in, want to work and want to win. Those are the kind of guys that you want.”

-- Yeo on what type of players the Wild organization is looking to bring in

 “The type of game that we play is the type of game that can win in the playoffs, and that is going to be enticing for players.”

-- Yeo on why his system is appealing to free agents

“We have to come to the camp next year, remembering this feeling. And use it through the course of the summer, use it in training camp next year and use it all through the season next year.”

-- Yeo on remembering the end of the season

 “As a staff, we don’t plan to just sit around and just hope and wait for things to get better. It’s up to us to try to improve that part of our game as well.”

-- Yeo on not waiting around for prospects to develop

“It’s hard to know exactly how much these kids will do. I’m not expecting –I’m hoping for one or two surprises. We’re not going to put anyone on the team, they’ll have to earn it.”

-- Fletcher on what he expects from prospects next season

“We’ve traded some players for picks, as a result, we’ve had four first and four second rounds the last two years when you include Coyle in that mix. So really, that’s four years of drafting in the last two years.”

-- Fletcher on acquiring young talent through the draft

“The easiest way to get top talent is to draft it and develop it yourself.”

-- Fletcher on how to build a winning team in the NHL

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