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Michael Russo

Reporter | Wild, NHL
Michael Russo has covered the NHL since 1995 and the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005.
Recent content from Michael Russo
Wild loses again, but Boudreau sees some promising signs

Wild loses again, but Boudreau sees some promising signs

When you are 2-9-1 in the past 12 games and 3-10-1 in March after not so long ago leading the Western Conference, sometimes you have to grasp for positives.
Wild's Haula sees ice time dwindling

Wild's Haula sees ice time dwindling

Erik Haula, who has one point in his last 14 games, bit his tongue the best he could after Sunday's loss when asked about his reduced playing time.
Wild stumbles into playoff berth despite 'embarrassing' loss to Vancouver

Wild stumbles into playoff berth despite 'embarrassing' loss to Vancouver

A scoreless tie after one period became a 4-0 deficit in the second. The result was the Wild's 10th loss in 13 games in March. But the team did clinch a playoff berth when the Kings lost Saturday night.
'Dream come true' for Boeser in NHL debut against Wild

'Dream come true' for Boeser in NHL debut against Wild

Burnsville's Brock Boeser signed his contract with Vancouver after North Dakota lost to Boston University in the NCAA West Regional on Friday. Boeser scored the winning goal for the Canucks.
Wild falls back into bad habits, misses chance to clinch playoffs

Wild falls back into bad habits, misses chance to clinch playoffs

With a playoff spot in reach, the Wild on Thursday turned pucks over, played sloppy in its own zone, overpassed and didn't convert on scoring chances in a 3-1 loss to the Flyers.
Losing streak ends -- and sense of normalcy returns to Wild

Losing streak ends -- and sense of normalcy returns to Wild

There were no new injuries, no forwards playing defense and no lineup changes from master shuffler Bruce Boudreau at Wednesday's Wild practice.
Wild snaps losing streak but Boudreau still wary of what's ahead

Wild snaps losing streak but Boudreau still wary of what's ahead

After the Wild ended its five-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory over San Jose, coach Bruce Boudreau said he still needed more evidence of improvement.."Anybody can do anything once," he said.
With team 'leaking oil,' Wild's struggles show in Dubnyk's numbers

With team 'leaking oil,' Wild's struggles show in Dubnyk's numbers

In the midst of marring what a month ago looked like a banner-raising season, the Wild needs goalie Devan Dubnyk to return to his earlier-season form.
Free-fall continues as Wild drops fourth straight

Free-fall continues as Wild drops fourth straight

In front of a season-high crowd at Xcel Energy Center vs. the Rangers, the Wild held a brief lead but could not hang on and now sit five points back of the Blackhawks.
Wild notes: Assimilation continues as Hanzal returns to lineup

Wild notes: Assimilation continues as Hanzal returns to lineup

After missing three games and not playing in eight days because of strep throat, Martin Hanzal returned Saturday.
Bottom has fallen out for the Wild in March

Bottom has fallen out for the Wild in March

Once a fast, structured team that was at the top of the Western Conference in goals, goals against, victories and points, the Wild's game has deteriorated.
Wild slouches home after 3-1 loss to Hurricanes ends rough trip

Wild slouches home after 3-1 loss to Hurricanes ends rough trip

Struggling Carolina shut down a lackluster effort from the Wild, which has now lost six of eight games as the season hits its home stretch.
Wild, Boudreau battling fatigue factor

Wild, Boudreau battling fatigue factor

In the midst of a busy stretch of 20 games in the season's final 35 days, Bruce Boudreau said he thinks the Wild is cracking because of fatigue and lack of practice time.
In a flash, Wild's Staal to play in 1,000th NHL game Sunday

In a flash, Wild's Staal to play in 1,000th NHL game Sunday

Fourteen years after being drafted second overall, Eric Staal will become the first member of the loaded 2003 class to play 1,000 games in an NHL uniform.
'Passive' Wild loses grip on conference, division leads after loss to Capitals

'Passive' Wild loses grip on conference, division leads after loss to Capitals

The Wild on Tuesday lost for the fifth time in seven games, and coupled with Chicago's victory over Montreal fell out of the Western Conference and Central Division lead by one point.
Wild's Suter sets up memorable D.C. tour for Wild

Wild's Suter sets up memorable D.C. tour for Wild

Wild defenseman Ryan Suter set up a behind-the-scenes tour of the U.S. Capitol building for himself, teammates Eric Staal, Jason Pominville and Jared Spurgeon and video coach Jonas Plumb.
Wild, Capitals in danger of losing footing in conference standings

Wild, Capitals in danger of losing footing in conference standings

Conference leaders hit skids at the same time, fueling game's urgency.
Wake-up call comes too late for Dubnyk in Wild's loss to Chicago

Wake-up call comes too late for Dubnyk in Wild's loss to Chicago

For the first time this season, the No. 1 goalie got an early exit from a hockey game after allowing goals on Chicago's first two shots before an eventual 4-2 loss.
Wild's desired matchups don't happen because of Hanzal's illness

Wild's desired matchups don't happen because of Hanzal's illness

Martin Hanzal became the latest Wild player to be struck by a virus crawling through the team. His status for Tuesday's game in Washington is uncertain.
Wild has more to gain than pride with a defeat of Blackhawks

Wild has more to gain than pride with a defeat of Blackhawks

Beating Chicago would give the Wild a boost toward a division title and potential home ice vs. the Blackhawks.
NHL Insider: Fletcher weighs in on offside calls debate

NHL Insider: Fletcher weighs in on offside calls debate

Some began to mutter that there should be a break-the-plane rule because of the number of close calls on goal reviews.
Wild rallies for 7-4 victory over Florida to end two-game skid

Wild rallies for 7-4 victory over Florida to end two-game skid

With psyches fresher than their legs, Wild tops Panthers.
Martin Hanzal's solid game pleases Wild coach Bruce Boudreau

Martin Hanzal's solid game pleases Wild coach Bruce Boudreau

Against Florida, the veteran had an assist, three shots, five hits, 12 faceoff wins and a drawn penalty.
Boudreau says he's 'concerned' after Wild's ugly loss to Tampa Bay

Boudreau says he's 'concerned' after Wild's ugly loss to Tampa Bay

Looking slow and discombobulated, the Wild is suddenly in the midst of something that had become foreign this season: a losing streak.
Granlund's Finland fame captured on a stamp - and emoji-style

Granlund's Finland fame captured on a stamp - and emoji-style

The lacrosse-style goal that Mikael Granlund scored in the semifinals of the 2011 world championships still lives in infamy in his native Finland.
Staal scores twice as Wild holds off Sharks

Staal scores twice as Wild holds off Sharks

The Wild, healthy again after mumps outbreak, played playoff-caliber defense in retaking conference, division leads.
Cancer-stricken teen gets honorary contract from Wild

Cancer-stricken teen gets honorary contract from Wild

During a touching news conference three hours before Sunday's 3-1 win over the San Jose Sharks, the Wild signed 16-year-old Carter Casey of Breckenridge, Minn., to a one-day professional contract in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement.
Boudreau unveils new lines with full Wild squad back on the ice

Boudreau unveils new lines with full Wild squad back on the ice

With Zach Parise and Jason Pominville back from the mumps, Wild coach Bruce Boudreau on Saturday tinkered with the lineup. He's still in search of four consistent lines for the final stretch.
Wild teammates 'pushing each other' for goal-scoring lead

Wild teammates 'pushing each other' for goal-scoring lead

Mikael Granlund, Nino Niederreiter and Jason Zucker show the team's balance.
Wild coaches try tightening defense using off-ice video

Wild coaches try tightening defense using off-ice video

In the past nine weeks, the Wild has managed to go 21-6-2 despite allowing 2.93 goals per game.
Wild stands pat at deadline, turns focus to shoring up defense

Wild stands pat at deadline, turns focus to shoring up defense

Despite the Wild leading the Western Conference and being 2-0 since its bye, coach Bruce Boudreau is none too pleased with his team's defensive play of late.
'Lucky' Wild blows three-goal lead, escapes Winnipeg with 6-5 win

'Lucky' Wild blows three-goal lead, escapes Winnipeg with 6-5 win

Despite being not very good at all — coach Bruce Boudreau's assessment — the Wild took the victory on Jason Zucker's score with 2:10 to play.
Four games in four days for Wild's Graovac

Four games in four days for Wild's Graovac

In between the games, there were six-hour bus rides to and from Des Moines and Chicago and a last-minute, emergency four-hour car ride from Des Moines to St. Paul.
Granlund scores 12 seconds into overtime, lifts Wild over Kings

Granlund scores 12 seconds into overtime, lifts Wild over Kings

The Wild's leading scorer skated through three defenders to finish a game the Wild never led until the end -- and won despite a mumps outbreak that sidelined two key players.
Wild's Parise, Pominville diagnosed with mumps

Wild's Parise, Pominville diagnosed with mumps

For the second time in 2½ years, members of the Wild have been diagnosed with the mumps. Assistant coach Scott Stevens also is showing symptoms.
New Wild teammates welcome arrival of Hanzal

New Wild teammates welcome arrival of Hanzal

Wild coach Bruce Boudreau says new acquisition Martin Hanzal is a horse of a shutdown center. He can kill penalties and be a net-front power-play guy.
Wild acquires Hanzal, White from Coyotes with eye on Stanley Cup

Wild acquires Hanzal, White from Coyotes with eye on Stanley Cup

The Wild sent three draft picks and a minor leaguer to the Coyotes for a pair of forwards and another pick.
Wild signs Ryan Carter to two-way contract

Wild signs Ryan Carter to two-way contract

The veteran forward continues to work his way back from the shoulder surgery he underwent in October.
Wild ponders options as NHL trade deadline nears

Wild ponders options as NHL trade deadline nears

If the Wild wants to survive potential injuries and fatigue during the stretch run and chore through what it hopes is four playoff rounds, improving the forward depth may be the team's biggest need.
Fair play? Parise questions double standard of penalty calls at net

Fair play? Parise questions double standard of penalty calls at net

Few players — especially lately, it seems — get mugged as frequently as Zach Parise does around the opposing net.
One line does all the damage as Chicago powers past Wild

One line does all the damage as Chicago powers past Wild

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, 13 days after scoring twice against the Wild, lit Minnesota up with three goals and two assists in the Wild's last game before a bye week.
Wild likes the results of its recent tinkering

Wild likes the results of its recent tinkering

It's not often that a team is so secure with its position in the standings that it can enter into a few weeks' worth of experimentation two months before the playoffs.
Wild grabs big lead, holds on to beat feisty Nashville

Wild grabs big lead, holds on to beat feisty Nashville

The Wild won its 39th game, topping last season's 82-game total 24 games sooner.

Wild's AHL club in the hunt for playoffs

First-year coach Derek Lalonde took over an Iowa team that had the fewest points in the AHL the past two seasons and now has them over .500
Olofsson making most of second chance with Wild

Olofsson making most of second chance with Wild

The Wild's Gustav Olofsson went from struggling prospect to steady NHL pro.
Kuemper sparkles in goal as Wild matches last season's win total

Kuemper sparkles in goal as Wild matches last season's win total

With the Wild having not lost two in a row in 2½ months and having lost two in a row in regulation only once, Darcy Kuemper was "by far" the Wild's best player, according to coach Bruce Boudreau.
Battling cancer, Dallas Stars TV voice Strader ready for return to airwaves Saturday

Battling cancer, Dallas Stars TV voice Strader ready for return to airwaves Saturday

Dave Strader, battling a rare form of bile duct cancer for 8½ months, will return to the TV booth in Dallas on Saturday to call the first of five straight Dallas Stars games. "I've missed it a ton," he said.
The verdict: Nyquist out for six games after high-sticking Wild's Spurgeon

The verdict: Nyquist out for six games after high-sticking Wild's Spurgeon

The NHL said the Detroit forward's actions were not accidental or inadvertent.
Wild's 37 shots aren't enough in 1-0 loss to Anaheim

Wild's 37 shots aren't enough in 1-0 loss to Anaheim

Despite dominating the contest, the Wild was shut out for the first time in 41 games and suffered its third 1-0 loss of the season, second at home.
Tuch struggles in first game back from AHL

Tuch struggles in first game back from AHL

Alex Tuch may have played his worst of four NHL games during Tuesday's 1-0 loss to Anaheim.
A year later, Wild is having a happier anniversary

A year later, Wild is having a happier anniversary

Last year at this time, the Wild lost for the 13th time in 14 games, held ninth place in the Western Conference, fired coach Mike Yeo and was in danger of missing the playoffs. Now it is one of the glamour teams in the NHL.
Wild's fourth-line struggles land Graovac on waivers

Wild's fourth-line struggles land Graovac on waivers

Tyler Graovac paid the price for the Wild being unhappy with the play of the fourth line of late. The Wild center was placed on waivers Monday. If Graovac clears at 11 a.m. Tuesday, he'll be assigned to AHL Iowa.
Stick job: Nyquist offered in-person hearing after cutting Spurgeon

Stick job: Nyquist offered in-person hearing after cutting Spurgeon

The incident was reminiscent of last April when Chicago's Duncan Keith was suspended five regular-season games and a playoff game for swinging his blade wildly at Charlie Coyle's face
Wild scores three power-play goals in 'ugly' victory over Detroit

Wild scores three power-play goals in 'ugly' victory over Detroit

Mikael Granlund, Nino Niederreiter and Zach Parise scored for the Wild with the man advantage on Sunday. But three times Minnesota allowed the Red Wings to answer after taking a two-goal lead.
Now with Detroit, Vanek heaps praise on Wild

Now with Detroit, Vanek heaps praise on Wild

'It's a team that can win the Stanley Cup,' the former Gophers star says.
Rooted in roller hockey, Wild's Zucker blooming on ice

Rooted in roller hockey, Wild's Zucker blooming on ice

When Jason Zucker was growing up in Las Vegas, his entire life was roller hockey. His dad, a general contractor at the time, built what's now the Las Vegas Ice Center — but the facility then was only roller rinks.
Blackhawks beat Wild in overtime in 'playoff game environment' at the X

Blackhawks beat Wild in overtime in 'playoff game environment' at the X

Jonathan Toews scored the winning goal with 3:09 into overtime on a 4-on-3 after a Ryan Suter holding penalty.
Wild winger Pominville puts early struggles in the past

Wild winger Pominville puts early struggles in the past

For the second consecutive second half of a season, Jason Pominville is heating up.
Juggled lines, Coyle's play boost Wild past Winnipeg to end road trip

Juggled lines, Coyle's play boost Wild past Winnipeg to end road trip

Charlie Coyle's move to center -- and then to wing when the game tightened up -- paid off in the 4-2 victory at Winnipeg.
Ironman Charlie Coyle credits health, Wild's training staff

Ironman Charlie Coyle credits health, Wild's training staff

If all goes according to plan, Charlie Coyle will break the Wild's ironman record of 283 games, set from 2000-03, Wednesday against the Blackhawks.
Offense, depth are new contributors to Wild's success on the road

Offense, depth are new contributors to Wild's success on the road

In addition to excellent goaltending, the Wild has benefited from improvements over its past success -- most notably improved depth and playing the same way at home and on the road.
Wild's Granlund-Koivu-Zucker line shuts 'em down and lights 'em up

Wild's Granlund-Koivu-Zucker line shuts 'em down and lights 'em up

Wild coach Bruce Boudreau loves the line because he can use it against any opposing top line and fully expect it will get the job done.
Mikael Granlund's hat trick leads Wild to 6-3 bounce back victory

Mikael Granlund's hat trick leads Wild to 6-3 bounce back victory

The Wild rebounded from its most lopsided loss of the season to top Vancouver
Wild's Staal hoping to rediscover first-half success

Wild's Staal hoping to rediscover first-half success

In the first 41 games, Staal led the Wild with 15 goals and 39 points. In nine games leading into Saturday's game at Vancouver, Staal had one goal and one assist.
You're up, rook: Tuch's Wild debut slated for first line, Coyle demoted

You're up, rook: Tuch's Wild debut slated for first line, Coyle demoted

If Friday's practice was any indication, the Wild's Alex Tuch, 20, will make his NHL debut Saturday in Vancouver as first-line right wing.
Wild's long-awaited call-up of Tuch could trigger shake-up

Wild's long-awaited call-up of Tuch could trigger shake-up

The arrival of young star Alex Tuch to the Wild's roster coincides with Charlie Coyle's slump.
Flames extinguish Wild's road points streak

Flames extinguish Wild's road points streak

The Wild on Wednesday gave up two power-play goals for the first time since Nov. 29 in a 5-1 stinker at Calgary.
Suddenly, Wild's Graovac is finding his game

Suddenly, Wild's Graovac is finding his game

Tyler Graovac, who had no points in 17 consecutive games and one in the previous 30, scored three goals in two games before Wednesday.
Wild continues climb with victory over Oilers

Wild continues climb with victory over Oilers

The Wild's win, coupled with Washington's loss, puts Minnesota at a league-best .724 points percentage and provided the Western Conference leaders with 71 points in 49 games
Friendly competition heats up Wild lines

Friendly competition heats up Wild lines

The Wild arguably has four scoring lines. "I feel that's what makes us really strong," Erik Haula said.
Despite All-Star loss, Boudreau and the Wild on the go all weekend

Despite All-Star loss, Boudreau and the Wild on the go all weekend

Coach Bruce Boudreau's team lost his All-Star debut badly, but the weekend in Los Angeles gave him a chance to call attention to the Wild's play.
Wild reps give young fan a boost from afar

Wild reps give young fan a boost from afar

The weekend task of Chris Guertin, a Wild fan and Minneapolis resident who does business with the NHL, was to find things to cheer up his son, Owen, who has been diagnosed with an arteriovenous malformation (AVM), a tangle of abnormal blood vessels connecting arteries and veins in the brain.
Ryan Suter enjoying life in Minnesota on, off the ice

Ryan Suter enjoying life in Minnesota on, off the ice

He gave up a lot to come to the Wild but gained so much more, with his son following Dad's every move during his latest All-Star season.
Former Wild goalie Bryzgalov finds fun in new role

Former Wild goalie Bryzgalov finds fun in new role

Ilya Bryzgalov, the lovable former Wild goalie and quote machine, was a correspondent for Players' Tribune during Saturday's media day during All-Star Weekend.
Dubnyk's family savors moment of NHL All-Star trip

Dubnyk's family savors moment of NHL All-Star trip

Devan Dubnyk's parents and siblings rode out the lows of his long pro career, and are in Los Angeles this weekend to join him at NHL All-Star weekend.
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