Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 02/08/13 at 09:32 AM ET
from Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune,
Less than three weeks into the most promising season in franchise history, the Wild played without grit or intelligence in a 4-1 loss to Vancouver, a failure that could alter expectations and shorten tenures surely as it brought jeers raining down on the Xcel Energy Center ice on Thursday night.
In hockey, when you've tried everything but firing the coach and your team doesn't respond, you tend to fire the coach. Maybe owner Craig Leipold won't force that move immediately, but he has no reason to be patient after making an immense investment in front-line talent and watching his team fall apart.
Whether Mike Yeo is responsible for his team's slump is irrelevant.
When you sign two players for about $200 million, print T-shirts that read "Take the Next Step; No Excuses," call up your best prospects, alter your best line, threaten the jobs of a couple of veterans, hold a players-only meeting, trade for an enforcer, watch one of your two incoming saviors play like he's still learning to skate backwards, and then embarrass yourself at home against a prime rival, the owner owes it to his accountants and fans to consider all possible means of improvement. And he's not going to cut Ryan Suter in the first month of a 13-year deal.
Suddenly, with the on-ice product disintegrating like a cheap grocery store's paper bags, Leipold's brain trust looks vulnerable.
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