Yeo leaves Penguins for Wild's AHL job in Houston


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Ray Shero figures he will not have any trouble attracting quality candidates to fill Mike Yeo's spot on the Penguins' coaching staff.

Deciding exactly what the new guy will do might be a bit tougher.

Yeo, who has accepted the head-coaching position with Minnesota's American Hockey League affiliate in Houston, had primary responsibility for the Penguins' power play and defense corps last season.

Whether his replacement will handle the same duties has not been determined, said Shero, the Penguins' general manager.

Shero said he does not expect to make a decision until "after free agency," which begins July 1.

Team officials already have generated lists of potential assistant coaches, and Shero said he expects other applicants to emerge.

"We have names, and there will be more names that will come in," he said.

Yeo, who was Houston's captain when the club won a Turner Cup championship in the now-defunct International Hockey League in 1999, joined the Penguins' staff when Michel Therrien replaced Eddie Olczyk as coach in December 2005.

Although becoming a head coach always has been his objective -- "I loved being an assistant coach but, really, it was an avenue toward my ultimate goal," he said.

"This is something I knew I wanted to do," he said.

Fans who blamed him for the Penguins' underachieving power play in 2009-10 might not feel that way, although Yeo insisted he did not take their frequent and sometimes harsh criticism personally.

"That goes with the territory," he said.

What's more, he professed to relate to the sentiment behind them.

"Things some fans say, a lot of times I have the same feelings and the same beliefs," he said. "It's not always going to click. But, when Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin go out [during a power play], and with the other guys we send out with them, sometimes it can be frustrating because they should be successful."

Because of the Penguins' power-play problems, some segments of the team's fans adopted a "Yeo Must Go" rallying cry, and Shero joked that could influence who is hired to replace him.

"We have to get a guy," he said, "whose name doesn't rhyme with anything derogatory."


NOTES -- The Penguins have moved the starting time for most games at Consol Energy Center in 2010-11 from 7:38 p.m. to 7:08 p.m. ... The Penguins will play a six-game exhibition schedule this fall, with three of those on home ice. They will face Detroit (Sept. 22), Columbus (Sept. 25) and Chicago (Sept. 28) at Consol Energy Center, and will visit the Blue Jackets Sept. 24, the Blackhawks Oct. 1 and the Red Wings Oct. 3.


For more on the Penguins, read the Pens Plus blog with Dave Molinari and Shelly Anderson at www.post-gazette.com/plus . Dave Molinari: dmolinari@post-gazette.com .


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