Blaming the head coach can seem like a too-easy explanation for why a team's playing badly. Is it really just one guy's fault?
But dammit if the firing of Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo — a move obvious even to a bunny rabbit — and replacing him with John Torchetti didn't translate to immediate and awesome results. The Wild went on a quick tear after Yeo's firing last Saturday, flipping an eight-game losing streak into a four-and-counting winning run.
The Wild swept a three-game roadtrip in Canada, and returned for Sunday afternoon's "Stadium Series" game outdoors, at TCF Bank Stadium, against the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.
The Wild blew their damn doors off, skating to a 6-1 win that puts the once-tailspinning Wild (27-22-10) one point out of a wild card playoff spot with six weeks left to play. The Wild had scored five goals in each of their first three games under Torchetti, and their 6-1 margin against the Blackhawks is Chicago's worst loss all year.
Minnesota's six goals came from six different players, with one for Jason Pominville, who scored six goals in the first 55 games this season. He's now netted three times in four games with his new coach.
Pominville told NHL.com his issue was a mental one.
"I was just thinking too much," he said, "and not going out there and playing."
After Sunday, it ought to be the rest of the league thinking too much. They should think about the suddenly red-hot Minnesota Wild. Specifically, they should think: "Oh, shit."