Bill Guerin, the Wild's general manager and president of hockey operations, acquired Pat Maroon over the summer in large part because of the 35-year-old forward's leadership and experience gained in his 13-year, seven-team NHL career.
So, when Guerin fired coach Dean Evason on Monday and replaced him with former New Jersey Devils and Nashville Predators coach John Hynes, Maroon was a natural choice to offer perspective on the move. He has played for both coaches.
"First off, I really enjoyed playing for Dean," Maroon said after Tuesday's morning skate ahead of the game against the St. Louis Blues. "It's not on him. It's on the players in here. We let him down, and Dean's a guy that'll find a job right away. But it's unfortunate the way we let him down."
The Wild entered Tuesday stuck in a seven-game winless streak that dropped them into 14th place in the Western Conference. They're 3-9-4 in their past 16 games and are coming off a 4-1 loss at Detroit on Sunday.
Maroon, who played 17 games for the Devils in 2017-18 with Hynes as coach, sees his new coach as someone who can make a difference with this team.
"He's going to give us everything we need," Maroon said. "He's engaged into the players. He wants the best for the players. He brings the best out of players, too. He's going to lean on us, and I think he's gonna be good for us. He's an intense coach. He'll bring some life back into this room that we need."
Wild defenseman and captain Jared Spurgeon praised the work of Evason and assistant coach Bob Woods, who also was fired, but acknowledged a new perspective from Hynes could help the team escape from its slump.
"When someone else comes in from the outside, it's a different eye," said Spurgeon, who's been limited to six games and no points this season because of injury. "They have their spins on things, what they see as well. For us, we're really looking forward to working with John and going from here."
Hynes and Guerin stressed that the coaching change was made to help, not punish, the Wild's players.
"You're not pushing guys around anymore. You're not bullying them," Guerin said. "You can't yell at them or bullying them into playing well. We are there to help them and get the most of it."
Veteran forward Marcus Foligno believes the Wild will respond positively to the changes.
"You're used to listening to one voice, and now you've got another coming in," he said. "It's just something you have to roll with and understand, and if we can jell with John, the faster the better. We expect a lot out of ourselves, and he understands it's a veteran group that doesn't need too much talking and holding hands. We need to start moving forward in the standings and collect some points here."
Rookie defenseman Brock Faber sees a chance for the players to quickly adjust to their new coach.
"He came in and talked to us, and we all have the utmost respect for him," Faber said. "He said he's coming in for us, to help us, and I think that meant a lot."