Sunday, February 14, 2016

Chuck Fletcher Taking Full Ownership for Wild Struggles

A day after firing head coach Mike Yeo, Wild GM Chuck Fletcher admits that everyone in the organizations is culpable for the team's recent woes--top to bottom. But ultimately, the onus is on him, and he knows that.

More: Wild Fire Head Coach Mike Yeo after Loss to Bruins

“I take full ownership," Fletcher said, according to Wild beat writer Mike Russo. "I’ve hired the coaches. I’ve brought the players in. So, obviously, when you’re the general manager, you’re accountable for everything. I take full ownership. We let a very good person go and as I told the group [Sunday], that's an indictment on all of us.”

The Wild, which have won only three games in 2016, were a top team in the Western Conference not so long ago. Now, with Mike Yeo gone and interim coach John Torchetti in to replace him, the team hopes it can find a spark. "Let's be honest," Fletcher said. "Late-season coaching changes are difficult. ... It's difficult to bring somebody in from the outside with 27 games go go."

Fletcher says that Torchetti's familiarity with the team will help smooth the transition in Minnesota.

This will be Torchetti's third interim job in the NHL. He coached the Panthers and Kings for a total of 39 games, and he also won a Stanley Cup as an associate coach of the Blackhawks in 2010. He's also coached in the AHL and KHL, and earned coach of the year awards in the CHL ('95) and IHL ('98).

For More about Torchetti, Click Here

But is he the right guy to steer the Wild back on course at this stage of the season?

"He's a veteran, experienced quality coach. ... He's coached in the NHL, coached in the American League, coached in the KHL, been a head coach and assistant coach--this is a quality, veteran coach that has been through a lot of situations. ... He's been to our training camps, he's watched our team, so he's much more familiar with our team than anybody else from the outside would be, but he's also a fresh set of eyes."

So a new period begins for the Wild, and it will surely be as high-stakes for Fletcher as it is for the players on the team. The Wild will look to chase points and a playoff spot, but Fletcher might be wheeling and dealing for his executive life at the deadline. Already local media is becoming impatient and owner Craig Leipold's patience is getting tested.

It should be an interesting three months for the Wild.