|JP Parise with former North Stars teammate and good|
friend, Tom Reid.
First off, my thoughts and prayers are with Zach Parise and his family during the difficult time they are facing right now with his father’s battle against stage 4 lung cancer. Zach didn’t play last night against San Jose after it was revealed his father, former Minnesota North Star JP Parise, stopped chemotherapy treatments and is now in hospice care.
Zach's status for the Wild’s next game against Chicago is uncertain. (I am going with the assumption that Zach won’t be playing). He was not in practice on Wednesday, either.
After the Wild's 7-1 drubbing in Dallas and the overtime loss to the Sharks on Tuesday night, Mike Yeo lashed out at his players Wednesday in practice. The Wild have lost 13 out of their past 20 games. The Wild have a tough stretch in their schedule after having played the Sharks last night, playing the Blackhawks tomorrow night, followed by games with Nashvile on Saturday afternoon and an upcoming road trip that involves Chicago and Pittsburgh. As of right now, the Wild are eight points out of the second Western Conference wild-card spot for the play-offs.
According to an article posted on nhl.com, "Yeo laced into his team Wednesday with a tirade that, according to the Minneapolis-Star Tribune, demanded more effort and execution, detailed how poorly the Wild have been playing and lambasted the players for having the "audacity to show up and practice like this!" After screaming for about a minute, Yeo skated toward the visiting bench, slammed his stick into the glass, skated toward the Wild bench and left the ice." (nhl.com) (Video is here, courtesy of KSTP.com)
Was he right in lashing out? Yes. In my opinion, he should have lashed out at them earlier--instead of waiting until today. Thomas Vanek stated this to the Star Tribune's Michael Russo:
“I think Yeozie finally lost it here… He’s been pretty good with us, staying upbeat. We played well last night. It’s not good when you lose a hockey game. That was his message. He didn’t like how some of us practiced and came out, so those things happen.” (startribune.com, 1/7/2015)
Mike Yeo made this statement, which was in Michael Russo's column today on startribune.com:
“That’s everything that we’re in right now…We’re in a difficult spot and we’ve got a tough road ahead of ourselves. We might have guys out of the lineup and that’s fine. But the one thing you can always control is your work ethic and your attitude and everything else follows suit after that…We played a crappy game in Dallas and aside from that I’ve been happy for the most part with our games post Christmas. Do we just accept that hey we got a point? We lost the game but we played well? No. We can’t. We have to be better. The way we were practicing today, we weren’t practicing with the purpose of getting better. We could’ve just went through the practice and we might’ve been fine tomorrow, but that’s not the attitude that we need as a team right now. We need the attitude that we can’t just accept—and it’s going to be hard. We might play well again and we might lose. I don’t know. But whatever it is, every day we come back to the rink and we’ve got to find a way to be better.”
The question is how is the team going to respond after Yeo's lashing. I think that question will be answered tomorrow night against the Blackhawks and next three games after.
Yeo did also mention that the pressure is starting to get to goalie Darcy Kuemper, who left practice early today due to a "minor, unspecified injury." Kuemper didn't speak to the media after last night's game and he didn't speak after leaving today's practice. Yeo did finally state that he is displeased with Darcy Kuemper's play as of late. (It has also been reported that General Manager Chuck Fletcher is now searching for a goaltender).
Will the Wild start to turn things around? That remains to be seen right now. I will say that Yeo should have lashed out at the team earlier than today and that he should do it again, if the Wild's play warrants it.