Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 1/13/13
ST. PAUL, Minn. All of last week, Mike Yeo had to sit in the stands as a spectator as the Minnesota Wild players took part in unofficial team skates. Since the NHL lockout was not officially over, Minnesota's second-year coach still couldn't be on the ice with his team until everything was signed, sealed and delivered. That moment finally came for Yeo on Sunday, the first day of training camp, after the NHL lockout ended Saturday. For the first time in a long time, the 39-year-old Yeo was on the ice, blowing his whistle and barking instructions to his team. "That was real tough," Yeo said of having to watch his team skate last week. "I knew that there was a storm a-brewing and things were going to be come real quickly here. It was just a lot of fun to come to the rink today and start getting ready, just knowing that we finally get to start doing this for real." The Wild and the rest of the NHL began their abbreviated training camp Sunday, which is less than a week away from Minnesota's season opener on Jan. 19 against Colorado. Before that, the Wild will host a scrimmage Wednesday that will also involve the team's AHL affiliate, the Houston Aeros. Yeo said he intends to make that scrimmage feel as much like a real game as possible. Once training camp ends, the NHL's abbreviated 48-game schedule begins. It might sound like a daunting task for a second-year coach, but Yeo seemed unfazed in what lies ahead after his first day of training camp. "Luckily, we've had about eight months to prepare for this. I'm real comfortable with the plan that we have in place," Yeo said. "I'm very happy so far visually what I've seen from our guys in terms of their conditioning and the work they've put in. I think we've got a really good base and have the opportunity to build off that." Sunday was the first time Minnesota's new players had the chance to skate for Yeo. Forward Zach Parise, one of the Wild's big offseason signings, spent his entire career with New Jersey before joining Minnesota. After just one day, Parise said he likes the detail-oriented approach of his new head coach. "A lot of detail, which I like. You have structure. Everyone knows what they're supposed to do on the ice. That's what good teams have," Parise said. "The first day was good. It's a lot of information right away, learning a different system for me and different things out there. But I think it went really well." The Wild had taken part in one-hour unofficial skates all throughout the week last week. Sunday's practice lasted two hours, and the team also had meetings beforehand, where new players got their first taste of how to run Yeo's system. That included Finnish phenom and top prospect Mikael Granlund, who spent part of the lockout playing for the Aeros. Yeo spent some time in Houston watching Granlund, but now the 20-year-old center had the chance to work directly with his new coach. "We have pretty much the same system in Houston. I pretty much know what he wants me to do and what he wants the other guys to do," Granlund said Sunday. "I think he's a great coach. From what I've heard, he cares about his players and does all he can for the team." Everything is real now for the Wild. The term "lockout" won't have to be used again. There are no more items to be voted upon by the players' union. Finally, after so many agonizing months, they can focus on hockey. "You can kind of get all the other stuff aside and get your head around the fact that we're finally back. There's no hiccups that could happen. Everything is completely done," said Wild forward Matt Cullen. "The lockout is officially, completely over and we're now back to work and back to playing the game we want to play." The bar is set high for this Wild team, which missed the playoffs last year but added plenty of talent this offseason in Parise, Granlund and defenseman Ryan Suter. No one Sunday wanted to talk about the expectations placed upon Minnesota. They know that others outside of the organization expect big things from them. After just one day of training camp, the Wild feel good about where they're at, but they know there's plenty of work to do in a short amount of time. "I know that there are 30 teams in the league right now that are really happy with what they have, the team that they have, and we're one of those teams," Yeo said. "This is where it starts, Day 1 right now. The process for us begins. As an organization, we feel we're ready to take the next step. Follow Tyler Mason on Twitter.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Sanu: Halftime show played role in Super Bowl collapse

James Dolan is among potential group of investors of new arena for New York Islanders

Report: Rams, Clippers discussing NBA venue in Inglewood

Terrence Jones reportedly interested in joining Celtics

LeBron reverses course, says he ‘always felt good’ about Cavs

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Ole Miss tried to implicate Mississippi State in football scandal

Jamaal Charles could be on the roster bubble

Jimmy Butler on state of Bulls: ‘I just want to win at all costs’

Report: Giants will be ‘aggressive’ in trying to sign Jason Pierre-Paul

Report: Porzingis avoided ligament damage in ankle

Brooks Koepka meltdown includes whiff, stomping head off driver

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Box Score 2/24: A night of NBA disrespect

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

James Dolan is among potential group of investors of new arena for New York Islanders

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker