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Former NHL Head Coach Mike Yeo Brings Gamut to Gabby’s Canucks

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Vancouver Canucks, Mike Yeo
Canucks assistant coach Mike Yeo coaching the Blues.

Last season wasn’t the most pleasant experience for current Vancouver Canucks assistant coach Mike Yeo in terms of wins and losses, but he did learn a lot in his 2/3rds of a season as interim head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers. It was a team short on talent that remains in a somewhat discombobulated rebuilding transition. The position has since been filled by John Tortorella.

“As a head coach, there were times when I won a heck of a lot more games in a season than I did last year, but at the same time I was really proud of a lot of the things that happened last year,” Yeo told VHN on Thursday. “Given the circumstances in the line-up that we had, the state of the team that we were in, I thought we brought some really good structure to the group. I thought our game started to improve, we weren’t getting rewarded with the results, but quite frankly there were just too many nights we didn’t have a good enough line-up to win in the NHL.”

A rash of Flyers injuries contributed to the struggles. Oddly enough, Yeo took over that club last December 6th, the exact same day Bruce Boudreau began his tenure as head coach of the Vancouver Canucks. Now they’ll have the opportunity to work together with Yeo being signed on to the Canucks staff on July 1st.

“Earlier in my career with some of the adversity that happened last year I wouldn’t have been able to handle it as well, compared to the way I did last year,” Yeo added. “I feel I’ve matured and certainly handled those things a lot better.”

That maturity and his overall experience, on top of his ability to coach all situations effectively, makes Yeo, who’s also been the head coach of the St. Louis Blues for 133 games, a perfect compliment to ‘Gabby’.

“We hit it off,” Boudreau said earlier this off-season, “we were talking hockey in Minnesota during a summer and had a lot of ideas in common, similar approaches to things, and he’s a great guy.”

Yeo served as head coach of the Minnesota Wild from 2011 to 2/3rds of the way through the 2015-’16 season when he was replaced by interim John Torchetti. Later that same year Boudreau took over the club to start the 2016-’17 season. It was during one of the subsequent summers, when Gabby was still at the helm, that he and Yeo met at a graduation party for one of Brad Bombadir’s kids. Bombadir is a long time member of the Wild’s hockey operations staff.

An entertaining and intriguing hockey conversation between the two coaches ran late.

“It was a real natural conversation between two guys who love to talk about hockey,” Yeo said. “Everybody can see it in his (Bruce’s) personality. Whether it’s a CEO of a company or a fan on the street, even my wife having a chance to meet him, it’s the same thing, he’s just easy to talk to, he’s easy to like, he’s just a real genuine person. I think for the two of us, we share a lot of the same philosophies in certain areas, but I think as much as anything, we both love the game, love coaching, and love working with the best athletes in the world.”

Part 2 shortly. Yeo helping to upgrade the Canucks special teams.

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