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Yeo, Wild Keeping Positive, But Not Satisfied

by Evan Sporer / Minnesota Wild

When Head Coach Mike Yeo got to Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday, he wrote a quote on the board in the Minnesota Wild locker room.

While he wasn't quite sure of its wording when sharing it postgame, the message was crystal clear.

"I think it kind of reflects where we're at right now," Yeo said. "Tough times, they don't last, but tough people do, and that's what we have to do right now, and this is how we've gotten ourselves out of it before."

The quote itself comes from a novel written by Robert H. Schuller, a 1983 best-selling positive self-image book.

In Yeo's words, " It's very easy right now to find negatives," but as far as what will help the Wild get out of its current funk, in Yeo's opinion, a positive self-image would be more beneficial than one of self-loathing.

"We're not all about moral victories, and we're not all about trying to just point out the positives, and deflect against what's real, but the truth of the matter is that's the only way out of this," Yeo said.



The "this" is a stretch that has seen the Wild lose its past six games (0-4-2), 11 of its past 12 (1-9-2), and 14 of its past 17 since Jan. 1 (3-10-4).

When the calendar flipped to 2016, the Wild was in fourth place in the Central Division, two points behind the Chicago Blackhawks with three games in hand, three points ahead of the Nashville Predators, and seven points ahead of the Colorado Avalanche.

Now Minnesota is two points out of the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but the point it earned on Tuesday in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Dallas Stars drew it one point closer to the postseason.

"We only got one out of two points tonight, but we gained a point on Nashville," Yeo said. "These are little things that will keep building, and if we can stay strong, and if we can continue to get stronger in our game, and if we continue to out-chance and outshoot teams, then we will win."



The Wild's past two games have looked more like the Wild from earlier in the season. Minnesota controlled play against the St. Louis Blues in a 4-1 loss, then bookended its loss on Tuesday against Dallas with a strong first and third period.

Minnesota isn't practicing complacency, or moral victories, like Yeo said, but doing what it can to continue to move forward.

"We're playing better and we're not getting the results, so that's a problem," Zach Parise said. "But I think we are playing with a little more enthusiasm, a little more jam, and that's a good sign."

It's the self-image the Wild is trying to keep in good spirits. It's why down a goal beginning the third period, the Wild took the first 12 shots on goal, tying the game at three-all and generating a number of opportunities to take the lead.

"We had a good PK at the end (of the second) that got us a little momentum, and in here, we talked about coming out hard, and getting a comeback-win," Thomas Vanek said. "We believed in it, and we played like it, we just didn't get the right bounce."



There's a balance to be had for the Wild. No one is ignoring the losses, players are acknowledging the efforts have been better, but that doesn't equate to satisfaction.

"Everyone just keeps saying that it's going to be hard to get out of it, and it really is," Erik Haula said. "It wasn't enough again. We weren't good enough to win the game. I feel like you can say whatever you want to say, but we didn't win the game, so we weren't good enough."

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