Bill Guerin is Screaming at Wild Players Instead of Firing Dean Evason
The Minnesota Wild continue to lose hockey games, notching their 5th-straight on Sunday morning in Sweden vs the Toronto Maple Leafs. Yes, both overseas L’s came via shootout or overtime so they’ll bring two points back with them when they eventually touch down on American soil.
Bill Guerin calls team meeting and chews out Minnesota Wild players
Before they left for Sweden, Bill Guerin held a team meeting, where from the sounds of it, he proceeded to lose his cool a little bit. The hockey president’s targets included Wild players of all ages and roles, not to mention the team as a whole.
Guerin let everybody have it — both as a team and individually, where it especially hurt. “Was it a scream-fest? Bit of both.” Marcus Foligno told The Athletic. “The one thing about Billy, when he talks, everyone respects the s— out of him. That guy talks, you’re gonna really, really listen.”
“It was kind of a kick in the ass, figure our s— out kind of meeting,” Ryan Hartman added. “Something we definitely needed.” Guerin voiced to his players — and his coaches — “I’m not happy. I’m not happy with where we are.”The Athletic
So, the Wild played a little bit better, after Bill Guerin flipped out on everyone, I guess? Still, they lost both games and now find themselves 8 points back from a top-3 spot in the Central division; 4 points behind the Arizona Coyotes for the final Wildcard.
So let’s start here: Why is the President of Hockey Operations losing his mind on a locker room after a big loss? Sure, it isn’t the first time and all executive/player relationships are different, throughout the sports world.
Minnesota Wild lack buy-in?
But isn’t chewing ass in the locker room, after a brutal loss, the head coach’s job? Yes, which tells us Billy G knows what the Wild’s biggest issue is, even if he’s afraid to come right out and say it.
My biggest thing is our compete level. And look, guys work hard every night and they care. I know that. But it’s a different type of compete and focus. I just don’t think we’ve had it.”
“It’s everything from faceoffs and 50-50 puck battles to just pur execution, being in position, being in the right places to tape-to-tape passes. It all needs to be better.”Bill Guerin – Interview with The Athletic
I’m not saying that’s a buy-in problem but it sure seems like the Wild have a buy-in problem. Evason and Guerin both claim they want to play heavy hockey but there’s a huge problem in that strategy right now. They do not currently employ players willing and/or able to take on the punishment playing heavy hockey brings with it.
Time to fire Dean Evason?
And that’s because players are not currently buying into what head coach Dean Evason is selling. Guerin can make word salad all he wants but the evidence is right there before our eyes, night in and night out.
Special teams is, yet again, a major issue. Why? You guessed it. When shorthanded, Wild penalty killers seem unwilling to block shots, signifying… yup, lack of buy-in.
The locker room obviously needs a new voice. This team isn’t responding to Dean Evason anymore. So, given the limited options available to make that happen on the ice, especially after the Foligno and Zuccarello extensions, it’s time for Guerin to more seriously consider a shakeup behind the bench.