When the Minnesota Wild hired Mike Yeo as a first-time NHL head coach, he fit their criteria for a bench boss who could develop several top, young players. Yeo has undergone his own growth in that time, too, and the Wild were satisfied enough with the results on both fronts to make another commitment to him. After his three-year contract extension was finalized last weekend, Yeo appeared with general manager Chuck Fletcher at a news conference Friday to discuss the deal and the team’s future.
Well, the stage for the Lord Stanley Cup Playoffs is set. The first puck will drop at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Wednesday where the Kings will take on the New York Rangers. As you might imagine there are dozens of ecstatic fans of both teams here at CBS Local Sports National headquarters. We do, however, have one resident hardcore Chicago Blackhawks fan; Field Operations Manager Stan Pillman who has a few things to say about last night’s loss. Here are the top five things Blackhawks fans are saying about last night’s thrilling Game 7 loss, according to Stan.
Mike Yeo’s three-year run in Minnesota has been anything but easy. The Wild coach has had to navigate key injuries to his roster, his own growing pains in his first NHL head coaching job and the considerable expectations brought forth when the team’s owner spent nearly $200 million on two players two summers ago.
Tougher rules are coming to high school hockey due, in part, to an accident that paralyzed a Minnesota player. The National Federation of State High School Associations has moved to increase the penalty time for checking from behind and boarding.
It wasn’t supposed to end this way. Going into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, many people didn’t give the Minnesota Wild a chance to win it all. The Wild finished with 98 points on the season, clinching the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference and a date with the Central Division champion Colorado Avalanche.
Throughout an up-and-down season, the Minnesota Wild lagged behind the leaders of the Central Division. With an extended test against two of the top teams in the playoffs, though, the Wild clearly passed.
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It’s been a stomach-churning couple weeks for the Minnesota Wild and their fans. The team was decided underdogs against the Colorado Avalanche, and much more so against the Chicago Blackhawks.
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Chicago Blackhawks forward Brandon Bollig was suspended for two games Saturday by the NHL for boarding Minnesota defenseman Keith Ballard in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinal series. Bollig received a minor penalty for boarding in the second period of Chicago’s 4-2 road loss Friday night.
Two hours before Game 7 in Colorado, Nino Niederreiter sat alone in the stands. Just a man, his thoughts and his hockey sticks. It’s a routine he started a few years ago and does before every game; sitting in the seats, taping his sticks and getting focused.
The Wild left St. Paul, Minn. on Saturday with a very different feeling than when they arrived earlier in the week. “Obviously our guys are feeling pretty good right now,” coach Mike Yeo said.
in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Keith Ballard helped the Minnesota Wild limit the Chicago Blackhawks, which is a big part of the game plan. “I think with their personal … there’s more shots that become dangerous. They don’t always have to be odd-man rushes or back-door plays or stuff like that – they’ve got a lot of skill in their lineup,” Ballard said.
History has a tendency to repeat itself. For the third playoff series in a row, the Minnesota Wild went into Game 3 at Xcel Energy Center looking for their first win, being down two games to none. And thanks to a pair of Finns, the Wild got that victory on home ice, defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0. Chicago now leads the series two games to one with Game 4 on Friday night.
The Minnesota Wild are at a point where they are counting on the home ice carrying them. “That’s the plan. We know in the first round we played pretty well here and we’re excited to play here. But, you know, that doesn’t guarantee much,” said forward Zach Parise.