Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

Also find Russo on Facebook.

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Wild-Blackhawks playoff links galore

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild pregame skate Updated: April 30, 2013 - 9:13 AM

Tonight at the raucous Madhouse on Madison, the Wild will play its first playoff game since 2008 and renew an old Norris rivalry with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Good morning from downtown Chicago, where I'm about to head to the United Center to watch the respective morning skates of the Hawks and Wild. I will update the blog afterward with news and notes.

The game starts at 7 p.m. and can be seen on Fox Sports North and heard on KFAN. Of course, I'll be tweeting away at www.twitter.com/russostrib, so give it a follow.

I will hold a live chat this afternoon at 3 p.m. CT on startribune.com.

Today's one of those days you want to buy a Star Tribune. Great teamwork to put together today's playoff preview in short order, especially by the unsung ladies and gents behind the scenes who don't get to travel and cover hockey games for free.

Great pics, you can see my predictions and a ton of good info, so find a paper please for complete coverage. But here are some links:

A profile on captain Mikko Koivu, who critics love to pick apart. But this feature gives you a little sense of his drive and determination and just how much he wants to win, and it was good of Koivu as always to give me a long sitdown interview last week. I know I always joke about Koivu's steely glare and surly personality and my working relationship with him, but truth is we mostly get along great and he is much more laid back this year (maybe it's because he has his first child on the way). Deep down, Koivu is a very funny dude and anytime you pull him from his working environment and sit down for a talk, he always gives you a fascinating look into his life and personality.

Wild notebook: Jason Pominville will play tonight, Cal Clutterbuck looks forward to "beating the Blackhawks;" Craig Leipold on the mend; Injured Dany Heatley is shooting and skating; Wild's coming back between Games 1-2; how to watch the Wild first round on TV; Wild will wear greens at home throughout the playoffs.

Chip Scoggins' column: Wild has met the minimum, so now it must show something

Rachel Blount's look into the Wild's decision to bring Marco Scandella up and immediately thrust him into the lineup.

A notebook from Blackhawks practice, from freelancer Bob Hurst, who will be helping us out from Chicago

Kent Youngblood's look at all the NHL playoff series

My look at scouting the Wild

Rachel's look at scouting the Blackhawks

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