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Mike Yeo interviews for Ottawa Senators coaching gig

It’s pretty clear that the Ottawa Senators are going to go with a known commodity as their next head coach. 

They fired Dave Cameron, who was an assistant coach that ascended to the big job after their miraculous run to the playoffs. Luke Richardson, their long-serving AHL coach who would have been an NHL rookie, was passed over again and left the franchise.

There are some “names” available now, and could be more available depending on how the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs goes.

First up for the Sens, according to Darren Dreger of TSN? Mike Yeo, former head coach of the Minnesota Wild, who met with new Senators general manager Pierre Dorion over the weekend.

Yeo coached the Wild to the playoffs in three of his five seasons there, getting fired 55 games into this fifth season when his veteran players sorta, kinda quit on him. He’s not a bad coach, but he’s a very specific type of coach: The militaristic discipline, the dedication to defensive systems that could be detrimental to offense.

The Wild did him no favors with their constantly changing goaltending situation through the years, and in the end the politics in the locker room – the divide between younger and older players – helped do him in.

From a post-fired Q&A with Michael Russo, a glimpse at his dogma:

How would you describe your system? Players now say they have more freedom, a green light to go? Did they under you, too?

“Oh God, yeah. But I would say as things started to get worse, when we were giving up goals against, what were we going to say? Stop turning the puck over and bear down defensively? Year after year since I’ve been here, we’ve been one of the top defensive teams in the league in terms of shots against, quality of shots against and we give ourselves a chance to win every single night. So, it’ll take me some time to reevaluate, to figure it out. I mean, if they go out and score five goals a night for every game the rest of the year, then I was wrong. But the way that I saw it, I felt that the way we were built, we didn’t have guys who traditionally or historically have gotten 100 points a year. I didn’t feel that we were built that way. I knew that we could create offense. We had produced, but I knew that our bread and butter had to be defense, or at least that was my opinion.”

With Claude Julien off the boards, Bruce Boudreau’s fate yet to be decided and some other names – Guy Boucher, Todd Richards, Marc Crawford – floating in the air, it’ll be interesting to see where the Senators go and how quickly they go there.

Some of them are flashier names that stoke interest in the franchise, but might not be the best fit; someone like Yeo probably doesn’t move the needle for popularity, but he’s a good fallback if there isn’t a better option available.

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Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

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