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A few years ago, the Montreal Canadiens started off 0-4. Given that the season lasts over 80 games, it was not necessarily a time to panic. But for hockey’s equivalent of the New York Yankees, an 0-4 start was tantamount to an 0-84 record.

Yahoo! (YHOO), in most ways, is the New York Yankees of baseball, the Montreal Canadiens of hockey. Sure, the Canadiens haven’t sipped the bubbly out of Lord Stanley’s cup since 1993, nor have the Yankees hoisted the World Series Championship since 2000, but there’s no major need to panic.

Yahoo!, of course, has fans of another nature: shareholders, public ones to boot. While Canadiens and Yankees’ fans tend to look at more successful fans and wonder what could have been, Yahoo!’s fans (read shareholders) are not so loyal: all they need to do is look at the ticker of companies like Google (GOOG) (up 400% since their IPO), and dare we say it, News Corp. (NWS) (up 30% year-to-date), to realize that something is off at the once-perennial Web powerhouse.

Yesterday, the gauntlet came down (read Yahoo!’s press release) and with it went COO Dan Rosenweig and Media “guru” Lloyd Braun, who CEO and Chairman Terry Semel recruited to pull off some kind of new media cum old media cornucopia that, can you tell, never materialized. We’re also trying to find search “wunderboy” Jeff Weiner who seems to be missing amid the wreckage.
Yahoo Clean Sweep
We’ll leave a lot of the play-by-play details to the powerhouse sources like Paid Content, Tech Crunch, Giga Om and Valley Wag (in no particular order, of course), but we will add this:

We understand that Yahoo!’s board has paid out too much to CEO Terry Semel in recent years, but cleaning house and leaving the master chef is insulting to media and investors alike. What’s the message: everyone else failed?

Of course, given that Semel is 64 years old, an old school gentleman who cannot be thanked in a memo, we sort of understand the rationale. However, the modus operandi of this clean sweep fails to really win over the naysayers who probably were hoping to see Semel make way for… anybody really.

We’re itching to go on a 2,000-word post rampage but the fact remains that this was not an operational decision as an investor-driven decision. The stock is off 40% year-to-date and this decision was done mainly to make investors think that Yahoo! is… hmm… on “top of it.”

As such, we’ll reserve full judgment, for really, without assessing the market reaction, any prognosis foolish and frankly, irrelevant.

Disclosure: I own shares in YHOO and News Corp., mentioned above, is suing me. Don’t ask.

YHOO 1-yr chart:

YHOO 5 12 06

Source: Yahoo!'s Shakeout: Not Such a Clean Sweep