Mike Yeo’s X-factor
Mike Yeo and the players can say they aren’t interested in revenge all they want. While I believe they are not short-sighted enough to only look at this series, I cannot believe there is not a little bit in each of them that would get some extra satisfaction.
The Blues have taken to Yeo like a duck to water and vice-versa. Whatever problems he had in Minnesota have yet to pop up in St. Louis and are not likely to do so out of the blue now.
The Blues have constantly proven, whether they love the coach or hate him, if they buy in then they win. That was true under Hitchcock and will remain true under Yeo.
Yeo won’t try to reinvent the wheel, but with roles almost exactly reversed from the last Minnesota-St. Louis playoff match, you can expect some similarities.
Yeo’s Wild clogged up the neutral zone like the 90’s New Jersey Devils. It was enough to make you pull your hair out and scratch your eyes, but effective.
Expect something similar from Yeo’s Blues. St. Louis doesn’t have those standup defensemen, but they are capable enough to slow players down.
On top of that, as mentioned, I think players will want to play for their new boss. Yeo might not bring it up, but it’s known how much his firing affected him.
His new guys will want to show Minnesota they made a mistake.
On top of those little factors, there is the playoff history. Yeo has won big series with Minnesota and as an assistant with Pittsburgh.
Bruce Boudreau is one of the best regular season coaches in recent history, but his teams have a history of choking in the playoffs too. Whether that is due to the coach or a coincidence remains to be seen.
Still, we have seen a much calmer Yeo than during his Minnesota times and that has reflected on the Blues. If any choking does have to do with Boudreau will be seen when the series commences.
Yeo does have knowledge of many of Minnesota’s players, if nothing else. Their system has changed and a few new players brought in. Even so, the old boss knows enough about each guy’s weaknesses to take advantage of them.
The Blues will need any and all advantages they can get.