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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(updated) Olympic hockey Day 2; Koivu three assists in Finland win

Posted by: Michael Russo under Olympic hockey, Wild news Updated: February 17, 2010 - 4:37 PM

Mikko Koivu, who had no points in eight 2006 Olympic games, had three assists in the Finns' 5-1 win today.

 

Mikko Koivu before Finland-Belarus

Niklas Backstrom before Finland-Belarus

Antti Miettinen before Finland-Belarus

Good afternoon from the building formerly known as GM Place. I figured I'd check in before the Finns take the ice against the BelaRussians. Was chatting with one of the great color guys in the league, Ray Ferraro, moments before he went to his station between the bench. He had a funny experience last night during the first intermission when he was able to chat with the Latvian backup for several minute.

As the rest of his teammates were in the locker room, the Latvian goalie was just filling Ferraro's notebook. Latvians worked their butts off last night, but the Russians were too much.

I'm getting spoiled. The press box here is like 10-15 rows from center ice. It's a treat watching these guys this close, especially Ovechkin. The Canadian team's got zero weaknesses. Just massive with superstar after superstar, so this should be an interesting tourney. Almost to prove a point, the Russians brought a ton of KHLers and you do have to wonder if that's going to bite them in the end. They snubbed a bunch of NHLers from Russia.

As for the USA, it'll be a work in progress. Was not impressed with the blue line especially, and I think they'll be exposed when they face the big Canadian wave of forwards coming at them. When Paul Martin and Mike Komisarek had to pull out with injuries, that could have been a killer.

Slight controversy going on here with David Backes allegedly telling Julien Sprunger he'd essentially break his neck again during a run-in. ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun got the story and told me about it yesterday, but even as Pierre said, this could very well have been a lost in translation. Backes said he told him to keep his head up if he's going to run around and would never pour salt in that wound. So this was somebody speaking English to a Swiss player, and then the Swiss player telling the reporter (Pierre) in French what Backes allegedly said in English.

Finns, led by Mikko Koivu, are about to take the ice vs. Belarus. Czechs tonight vs. Slovakia. Marek Zidlicky is reportedly questionable. I talked to the Wild's front office, and Zidlicky went into that Sunday Canucks game with a sore wrist. But he not only played, but he led the Wild in ice time that game. The Wild says it's not a serious injury and expect him to play tonight (11 p.m. CT game).

OK, talk to you later and you can follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/russostrib for updates on all three men's hockey games today (Sweden-Germany is at 6:30 your time).

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