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.

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A few words from new Wild defenseman Cam Barker

Posted by: under Wild news, Wild player moves, Wild trade news Updated: February 12, 2010 - 4:47 PM

By Brian Stensaas

Wow – where did this afternoon go? Seems like I was just sitting down to lunch, and now all of a sudden it’s getting late in the day. Busy, busy, busy.
By now you know of the trade that sent Kim Johnsson and prospect Nick Leddy to the Blackhawks for Cam Barker.
I’ve heard from Barker twice today – once on the phone right after the trade went down (following what had been a whirlwind 10 minutes, he said) and also during a conference call with reporters that just wrapped up.
Here’s a little of what the Wild’s newest member had to say this afternoon:
 
(On coming to Minnesota) “It’s a big hockey state. I’m from Winnipeg and we used to drive down there all the time. And obviously when I was with the Hawks and we played there it was always a great atmosphere and great fans. It’s going to be a good opportunity for me.”
 
(Were you surprised?) “You always hear stuff and whatnot. Obviously with the cap situation in Chicago something was bound to happen sooner or later. I’m maybe surprised a little bit, but down the line it will work out.”
 
(What will fans see out of you?) “An offensive defenseman. I play a lot of minutes on the power play, get pucks to the net from the point. I’ll be physical; mix it up if I need to.”
 
(Excited to join this defensive group?) “Yeah. It’s a great mix. And obviously I played a few years with Havlat here in Chicago. And there are a couple of other exciting players up front as well. Things are looking good.”
 
(What are your thoughts on going from one of the top teams in the NHL to one fighting for a playoff spot?) “It’s obviously a little bit different. In Chicago here, they have a great team and I know Minnesota got off to a slow start but after that they’ve really been playing well the whole season. They played great against us whenever we’ve been in there. It’s obviously a little different mindset. I’m sure the guys in the Wild dressing room play every game every night like it counts.”
 
(A change of scenery helped Guillaume Latendresse when he came here from Montreal, could that work for you?) “For sure. I wasn’t playing as much in Chicago as I was the year previous. It’s such a good roster in Chicago that it’s tough; I was playing a different role that I was used to. I’m looking forward to maybe playing a bit more and putting points up in Minnesota.”

Barker will be in the Twin Cities tomorrow, and fully expects to play Sunday against the Canucks.

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