It's not often that a general manager issues a statement to say he's not going to trade a player. But speculation over
“As February 29 approaches, I am stating today that Steven Stamkos will not be traded before the
Taking Stamkos off the market — at least until the season ends — takes some of the frenzy out of pre-deadline trade conjecture. The biggest names left aren't very big:
The only surprise about the Minnesota Wild's firing of Coach Mike Yeo is that it took General Manager
Fletcher waited until Saturday, after the Wild's eighth consecutive loss and 13th in 14 games left the team five points out of a wild card playoff spot with 27 games left. Yeo was replaced by interim Coach John Torchetti, a name that is familiar to Kings fans. Torchetti was the Kings' interim coach after then-General Manager Dave Taylor fired Andy Murray with 12 games left in the 2005-06 season. Taylor's desperate attempt to get the Kings into the playoffs failed when Torchetti went 5-7, and both were gone before the next season.
Fletcher's motivation is the same as Taylor's was then, and the outcome probably will be the same for a team that has been much less than the sum of its players' talents.
The Wild, which hasn't advanced past the second round of the playoffs since 2002-03, has a top-heavy payroll led by the $7.538 million salary cap hits of left wing
Fletcher had the decency to accept responsibility for the current mess. But that doesn't fix the problem, or explain why the Wild seems to struggle around mid-season and lose confidence.
"Clearly when you let somebody go, there's a tendency to point the finger at him," Fletcher told reporters in Minnesota. "But where we're at resides with all of us, starting with me, with the players, with the leadership group, with everybody. We all need to be better, and that's the goal going forward."
Torchetti, 10-12-4-1 as interim coach of the Florida Panthers during the 2003-04 season, made his Minnesota debut Monday at Vancouver. He had been coaching Minnesota's top farm team in Iowa and was familiar with some of his players, but that might not mean much. Changing a defeatist attitude is more important than changing bits of strategy.
In Torchetti's first game, the Wild beat the Canucks, 5-2.
Florida Panthers forward
NBC and NBCSN will combine for a tripleheader Sunday as part of Hockey Weekend Across America. NBC will broadcast the