The Minnesota Wild canned Mike Yeo on February 13th to give a boost to a team which had been wildly inconsistent. The team is on the right track under new coach John Torchetti, responding by winning four of their last five games. In a revealing interview with Michael Russo of the Minnesota Star Tribune, Yeo admitted his coaching was undercut by consultant Adam Oates.
Russo reports that Oates, a former NHL coach and player, is a paid consultant for Ryan Suter and Zach Parise. Oates ruffled feathers after sitting in the stands during a practice and privately worked on skills as well as the power play with the two players. That didn’t sit well with Yeo or general manager Cliff Fletcher.
“I would say that I would not do the same thing,” Yeo said.
“I felt a lot of things right from the start of the year,” Yeo said. “We had the best [first half] in franchise history and things never felt right.”
Interestingly enough, Russo previously wrote about Oates working with the duo back in September, and wrote how Oates wasn’t devising power play schemes or set ups under Yeo, so something may have changed.
I’m not sure how common it is for players to have paid consultants that are also former coaches going through skills and power play drills with them, but the whole operation sounds like Oates and his two players were undermining Yeo and not letting him teach what he wanted to, or at least, went against his game plan. Sounds like the split may have been best for everyone involved.