"THAT way. We're going that way."

This morning I read a tweet from the excellent NHL and Minnesota Wild writer from the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Michael Russo.

Long talk between Yeo and Koivu late in skate. In fact, Yeo’s had one-on-ones with about 10 of the Wilders. Brodziak next.

10?? Good lord.

Thinking about post-practice chats makes me feel like I’m about to be benched again.

Coaches occasionally use the fun time after practice to pull guys aside and have a quick chat about the state of their play. Since players are usually playing one of many post-practice games or working on something individually, they’re spread about the rink. It’s the right time to pull a guy into the “office” and say what needs to be said.

I shouldn’t say “coaches” do this. Good coaches do.

“Unbelievable. One game later, he’s going the wrong way again.”

For the players, it’s no fun. There aren’t a lot of employees who’d enjoy hearing “can you come to my office after work,” and this situation is no different.  I’ve yet to have the “Bourno” call with the head nod and come hither motion end in “I just wanted to say you’re playing terrific and I’ve valued your contributions to the team. Carry on.”

But sometimes you need to hear what you’re doing wrong, and good bosses communicate those things without causing friction.

The one upside for players is that sometimes it’s nice to have a little one-on-one time with your coach. (Something tells me Ron Wilson isn’t big on this. I feel like the coaches who don’t do it fear what they’re going to get in return, as it does open up the flow of information to go both ways.)

Not many players take home game tape and analyze themselves, so it’s the old “can’t see the forest for the trees” thing. It’s usually simple advice like “you’re hanging on to the puck too long, try moving it earlier tomorrow” or “your aversion to being the first guy in on the forecheck is going to get you sat” or ”your resistance to dumping the puck in is going to earn you a spot in the press box or on waivers.”

Whatever the message, it’s nice to know what your coach would like to see you change about your game. Lord knows you want him to like what you’re doing – it’s guys like him who influence your career path and success.

Hearing that rookie head coach Mike Yeo is spending time with his players getting them on the same page is great news if you’re a Wild fan. I’m not sure if he’s popular with them or not, but it’s clear he’s doing some of the right things there early on.

Who knows – maybe today’s conversations are a turning point for the team. Those chats can be the very thing that stops a slip from becoming a slide.

And 10? Dude means business.

Comments (6)

  1. I certainly hope so. I was thinking this may be the year I finally shift from a critic back to a fan…the jury is still out on that yet. At least Maroon & Gold is putting up W’s so the season won’t be a complete embarrassment.

  2. Yeah man, I think you have the right man for the job. As for the Gophs… BOOOO. :)

    • hey JB, still holding a bit of animosity towards the Gophs huh? I think this year could be significantly different for them compared to the past few, the young kids look fast and dangerous in the offensive end. By the way, not a bad effort last weekend for those same Gophs by sweeping defending national champs, UMD, in Duluth.

    • JB- Wasn’t last spring’s WCHA playoffs enough for you? No need to pile on Goldie when he’s down.

  3. Yeah, I think Wild fans are buying into Yeo pretty well. The guy is a freaking genius of human nature. All I did was cover the damn team and I’d run through walls for him. So, I’m 100% convinced that if Yeo can’t get these yahoos to play like they give a shit, nobody can.

  4. I think how Yeo is able to handle Mikko Koivu will be pivotal to the team’s success, at least in the short-term. Koivu didn’t really mesh with Gaborik, and he seemingly hated Havlat. If Koivu can’t click with Setoguchi and Heatley, perhaps it’s time the captain takes a long hard look in the mirror.

    Wild fans are very fortunate to have one of, if not THE best writers in the NHL on the Wild beat, Mike Russo. Hockey fans everywhere should give him a follow: @Russostrib

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