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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Couple items

Posted by: Michael Russo under Vikings draft, Wild off-season news Updated: April 24, 2010 - 8:02 AM

Morning. Advance warning, but this will be a crummy blog. But I'm leaving on a jet plane in a few hours, so you probably won't be hearing from me for awhile and I thought I'd freshen it up.

1. The Wild exhibition schedule will be released some time in June or July, but the Wild's exhibition game against Koivu Bros.-owned Turku didn't work out for a few reasons. So the Wild, as of now, is expected to play a preseason game against Ilves in Tampere, Finland -- the proud home of, I think, Vesa Toskala.

Originally, it looked like the Wild may play in Riga. Latvia, but the date didn't work out because the Wild would have had to play three games in three nights prior to its two regular-season games vs. Carolina. Reportedly, Phoenix will play in Riga, Carolina in St. Petersburg, Russia, and Columbus in Malmo, Sweden.

The plan is for the Wild to play five or six exhibition games in North America before flying to Finland the night following a preseason game at the X, I believe Sept. 30 (arriving Oct. 1).

2. I put this in the newspaper and on Twitter, but Antti Miettinen will play for Finland in the World Championships. He'll join Brent Burns (Canada) and coach Todd Richards (United States assistant) at the May 7-23 tournament in Germany.

3. Not much else is going on. GM Chuck Fletcher hasn't really dug into Guillaume Latendresse negotiations yet, and again, the Wild will own his rights after tendering him a qualifying offer in late June, so there's no real rush. The Wild can't even get going on trying to extend Mikko Koivu (UFA next summer) until after July 1. And few big trades in the NHL occur during the playoffs. Most impact trades occur closer to the draft, which is June 25-26 in Los Angeles.

And remember, this summer's big potential moves will likely come via trade, not free agency.

4. I hope you've been watching the playoffs because the first round has been outstanding. Enjoy.

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