One day after Mike Yeo was relieved of his head coaching duties, a number of Minnesota Wildvplayers took responsibility for their former bench boss' dismissal.
"It's always a weird day, a weird feeling when a change is made," said forward Zach Parise. "As a player you take a lot of responsibility.
"We need to start being a much better hockey team."
Parise has struggled with just five points in his past 13 games, a stretch where the Wild have won a single game. The 31-year-old admits the team needs to turn things around quickly if they hope to make the playoffs.
"We have to play the right way and take charge in getting our group out of this," he continued. "There's a responsibility with the veteran players."
"It's a terrible thing," added defenseman Ryan Suter, who signed an identical contract to Parise's - 13 years, $98 million - in the summer of 2012. Since the signing, the team hasn't made it past the second round of the playoffs.
Even Thomas Vanek, who admitted he hadn't spoken to Yeo since he was scratched for a Feb. 6 game against the St. Louis Blues, shared in his teammates' sentiment that they need to respond to the shake up.
"It's no fun," Vanek said. "It's a reflection of the group. He's taking the hit for us. Now there's change. We've got to be better."
The team will move forward under interim coach John Torchetti, who coached the team's AHL affiliate in Iowa since 2014. Torchetti begins with a three-game road trip, starting Monday in Vancouver. before making his home debut outdoors at TCF Bank Stadium against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday.
Images Courtesy of Keystone Press