Minnesota Wild fire Mike Yeo as coach

By Jess Myers, The Sports Xchange  |  Feb. 14, 2016 at 12:37 AM
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SAINT PAUL, Minn. -- Mired in one of the worst slumps in franchise history, the Minnesota Wild on Saturday evening fired head coach Mike Yeo and named John Torchetti as interim coach.

Minnesota, which fell to 1-11-2 in its last 14 games after Saturday afternoon's 4-2 home loss to the Boston Bruins, dismissed Yeo, who had been with the team since the summer of 2011.

Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher confirmed the firing in a statement released Saturday night by the team. A few hours after relieving Yeo, the team announced Torchetti will take over after serving as head coach of the team's AHL affiliate, the Iowa Wild, since November 2014.

"I would like to thank Mike for the hard work and dedication he provided behind the bench for the Minnesota Wild organization wish him the best in the future, Fletcher said.

Yeo had received a vote of confidence from Fletcher a week ago.

"I'm a realist. You can't lose every game and expect to think that there's not going to be changes," Yeo said after Saturday's game, but he added that he fully expected to be the coach on Sunday.

Yeo, 42, was hired for his first NHL head coaching job after being an assistant for the Pittsburgh Penguins when they won the 2009 Stanley Cup. He coached Minnesota's top minor league team before ascending to the NHL job when Minnesota dismissed Todd Richards in April 2011.

Yeo led the Wild to the playoffs the past three seasons, making the second round in 2014 and 2015 but falling to the Chicago Blackhawks both times.

The Wild appeared headed for another playoff berth a month ago before hitting a devastating slump that has them currently outside the postseason picture. Minnesota has not won a home game since Dec. 28 and tied the franchise record for consecutive home games without a win at eight, having gone 0-5-3 since the late December win.

Yeo had a 173-132-44 overall record in four-plus seasons with the Wild.

Torchetti will coach his first game for Minnesota on Monday night at Vancouver. Before coaching at Iowa, Torchetti spent the 2013-14 season as head coach of CSKA Moscow in the Kontinental Hockey League after guiding Minnesota's AHL affiliate in Houston to a 75-51-26 record the previous two seasons.

Torchetti will be an interim head coach for the third time. In 2003-04, he had a 10-12-4-1 record with the Florida Panthers and was 5-7-0 for the final 12 games of the 2005-06 season with the Los Angeles Kings.

He also spent two seasons as an assistant coach for the Chicago Blackhawks, including 2010 when the franchise won its first Stanley Cup since 1961.

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