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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
Zuck, Tuck and puck: Jason Zucker's biggest fan lost to cancer, but he won the Wild player's heart

Zuck, Tuck and puck: Jason Zucker's biggest fan lost to cancer, but he won the Wild player's heart

Jason Zucker's biggest fan lost to cancer, but he won the Wild player's heart
Free agent Anas making impression in Wild camp with scoring touch

Free agent Anas making impression in Wild camp with scoring touch

Anas is a college free agent out of Quinnipiac, along with 2014 and 2015 first-round picks Alex Tuch and Joel Eriksson Ek. The trio combined for two goals in Thursday's scrimmage and flashed a lot of skill.
NHL's Minnesota talent tempting but pricey for Wild

NHL's Minnesota talent tempting but pricey for Wild

With only $12 million in cap space and a handful of forward holes to fill, there's a chance two of the top free agents from the state could be too costly.
Big NHL deals overshadow Zucker's signing with Wild

Big NHL deals overshadow Zucker's signing with Wild

The Wild's cost to sign a top free agent likely went up after Wednesday's moves that included Steven Stamkos staying in Tampa Bay and P.K. Subban heading to Nashville for Shea Weber.
How will Wild reshape roster after a dull finish to draft?

How will Wild reshape roster after a dull finish to draft?

Fletcher won't say right this second what he has up his sleeve. But he didn't buy out Thomas Vanek's contract for no reason. He has his paws in multiple trade scenarios.
Keith Tkachuk had big role in Wild top pick Luke Kunin's development

Keith Tkachuk had big role in Wild top pick Luke Kunin's development

The longtime NHL star has known Luke Kunin since the Wild draft pick was 5 years old.

Wild draft pick will try to rebuild his image

Dmitry Sokolov, considered by most experts to be a top-15 or even top-10 draft pick heading into this past season, fell all the way to the Wild at 196th overall.
Vanek's contract is bought out, creating $5M in cap space

Vanek's contract is bought out, creating $5M in cap space

The Wild cut ties with Thomas Vanek only two years after the former Gophers star turned down long-term, mega-million dollar offers from other clubs.
Wild lands a Badger with its first-round pick

Wild lands a Badger with its first-round pick

Wisconsin's Luke Kunin thinks of himself as a center and, maybe most importantly for the Wild and its offense-starved fans, a goal scorer.
Wild begins NHL draft as part-time player with just two picks in first six rounds

Wild begins NHL draft as part-time player with just two picks in first six rounds

Trades leave Chuck Fletcher with just two picks in first six rounds.
Vanek could be bought out of final year with Wild

Vanek could be bought out of final year with Wild

GM Chuck Fletcher has indicated that he may need to buy out the final year of Thomas Vanek's contract to pay other players, an NHL source said.
Wild GM Fletcher has trade chips to play with

Wild GM Fletcher has trade chips to play with

Wild GM Chuck Fletcher has been involved in trade conversations for weeks. Fletcher said he feels there's a good chance to "improve the team" via trade at this weekend's draft.
NHL teams know Vegas expansion draft means loss of 'decent assets'

NHL teams know Vegas expansion draft means loss of 'decent assets'

Las Vegas was announced as the 31st NHL franchise Wednesday, and next year's draft means every current team will lose one player.
Better than Bjugstad? NHL draft prospect Tufte is the pride of Blaine

Better than Bjugstad? NHL draft prospect Tufte is the pride of Blaine

Riley Tufte, like Nick Bjugstad before him, is poised to be a first-round draft pick in Friday's NHL draft.
Wild will open at St. Louis; Jets visit X for home opener

Wild will open at St. Louis; Jets visit X for home opener

The Wild will open the upcoming season at St. Louis on Oct. 13, the NHL announced Monday, an intriguing matchup considering the Blues added former…
What you need to know about the 2016 NHL draft

What you need to know about the 2016 NHL draft

Get caught up by reading Wild beat writer Michael Russo's NHL draft preview.
Wild hires Derek Lalonde to coach Iowa AHL team

Wild hires Derek Lalonde to coach Iowa AHL team

Lalonde will be introduced as the Iowa Wild's fourth head coach in four years at a news conference Monday in Des Moines, a source confirmed.
Decision time for the Wild on whether to keep Vanek

Decision time for the Wild on whether to keep Vanek

Vanek scored a career-low 18 goals in 74 games last season and his 41 points were the lowest of any non-lockout season. A decision needs to be made by the end of the month.
Yeo going to Blues: 'I'm looking to be a great coach'

Yeo going to Blues: 'I'm looking to be a great coach'

They may seem like the odd couple, but for the next year, 42-year-old Mike Yeo will be mentored by 64-year-old Ken Hitchcock as the St. Louis Blues' "Coach in Waiting."
Stanley Cup notes: Kessel family following Phil on Cup journey

Stanley Cup notes: Kessel family following Phil on Cup journey

Amanda Kessel, her brother Blake, and parents Kathy and Phil Sr. attended Sunday's Game 6 in California and celebrated a Stanley Cup victory.

Stanley Cup notes: Penguins zero in on clinching the Cup, even on the road

While the pressure hasn't entirely shifted to the Pittsburgh Penguins, they also don't want to turn Game 7 into a crapshoot.
Sharks' Logan Couture at his best in biggest games

Sharks' Logan Couture at his best in biggest games

He's recorded three-point postseason games at most opportune times for Sharks.
Gordie Howe lived up to 'Mr. Hockey' name, and more

Gordie Howe lived up to 'Mr. Hockey' name, and more

On the same day another sports giant, Muhammad Ali, was laid to rest, Howe, after years of declining health, died Friday. He was 88.

Stanley Cup notes

PITTSBURGH – From the mail room with the North Stars to assistant General Manager of the San Jose Sharks, Joe Will has every right…
Torchetti lands Red Wings assistant job

Torchetti lands Red Wings assistant job

Ex-Wild interim coach turned down Iowa post.
Crosby fondly recalls 'important' season at Shattuck-St. Mary's

Crosby fondly recalls 'important' season at Shattuck-St. Mary's

Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby is on the verge of his second Stanley Cup. But before he made it big, he honed his skills in Faribault.
Scott Stevens will be Boudreau's top assistant on Wild's bench

Scott Stevens will be Boudreau's top assistant on Wild's bench

"I love helping, I love teaching, I love talking hockey," said Hall of Fame defenseman Scott Stevens, hired Tuesday by the Wild as a top assistant coach under Bruce Boudreau.
Down 3-1, Sharks feeling the pressure against Pittsburgh

Down 3-1, Sharks feeling the pressure against Pittsburgh

The Penguins have a 3-1 series lead, and they've done a masterful job in the first four games frustrating San Jose's stars at every turn.
Top NHL prospects in friendly rivalry to be picked No. 1

Top NHL prospects in friendly rivalry to be picked No. 1

Patrik Laine isn't conceding that he should be the No. 2 pick behind Auston Matthews in the NHL draft June 24 in Buffalo.
Penguins move within one win of Stanley Cup behind Malkin

Penguins move within one win of Stanley Cup behind Malkin

The Penguins, who won their first three Stanley Cups in road buildings, return to Pittsburgh for what could be a festive Game 5 Thursday.
Suddenly scoring, White Bear Lake's Braun boosts Sharks chances

Suddenly scoring, White Bear Lake's Braun boosts Sharks chances

Born in Vadnais Heights and a standout at White Bear Lake High School, Justin Braun is becoming quite the story this series.
Penguins limiting Pavelski, but Sharks coach isn't worried

Penguins limiting Pavelski, but Sharks coach isn't worried

Every time the San Jose Sharks captain gets the puck, the Pittsburgh Penguins have limited his time and space. That's why he has no goals and four shots as the Sharks trail the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final 2-1.
Sharks get a needed win over Penguins in Game 3

Sharks get a needed win over Penguins in Game 3

Joonas Donskoi's goal gave San Jose the 3-2 victory, which was its first OT victory of the postseason and its first victory of this series, leaving it down 2-1.
Couture says Crosby cheats in the faceoff circle, but then, 'everyone does it'

Couture says Crosby cheats in the faceoff circle, but then, 'everyone does it'

In a raw assessment after Wednesday's overtime loss to Pittsburgh, San Jose center Logan Couture said the reason Sidney Crosby is so good in the faceoff circle is because he "cheats."
Brent Burns has turned a larger-than-life NHL star

Brent Burns has turned a larger-than-life NHL star

Because of his exciting style on the ice and fun appearance off the ice, the former Wild defenseman has become one of the NHL's most popular and recognizable players.
Joel Ward: From Wild cast-off to the Stanley Cup finals

Joel Ward: From Wild cast-off to the Stanley Cup finals

A decade ago, the Wild was smart enough to discover Ward. A few years later, some would say, the Wild was dumb enough to let him walk.
No longer a player, Dupuis still contributes for Penguins

No longer a player, Dupuis still contributes for Penguins

His career cut short because of blood clots, Pascal Dupuis helps Penguins' coaches with video, travels on road trips and keeps his old mates loose with his typical quick wit and humor.
Penguins' Cullen, family craving Stanley Cup No. 2

Penguins' Cullen, family craving Stanley Cup No. 2

Matt Cullen and family are relishing the 39-year-old's resurgence with the Penguins. After Pittsburgh won the Eastern Conference title, his children danced in the locker room.
Defenseman Martin supplies steadying force for Sharks

Defenseman Martin supplies steadying force for Sharks

Twelve years in the NHL, and first-year San Jose Sharks defenseman Paul Martin never has missed the playoffs and is striving to become the third Elk River-raised player to win a Stanley Cup (Joel Otto, 1989 Flames; Dan Hinote, 2001 Avalanche).
Joe Thornton no longer a captain but still a Sharks leader

Joe Thornton no longer a captain but still a Sharks leader

Nineteen years after getting drafted, the often maligned Thornton, a 36-year-old former Sharks captain who had that "C" stripped right off his chest, is back in Pittsburgh potentially within days of winning hockey's ultimate prize.
Parise skating, working out after season-ending back injury

Parise skating, working out after season-ending back injury

Zach Parise opted for rehabilitation rather than surgery and hopes to represent the United States at the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto in September.
Wild assistants Wilson, Sydor won't be back behind the bench

Wild assistants Wilson, Sydor won't be back behind the bench

While general manager Chuck Fletcher had said he has ideas regarding the makeup of the coaching staff, new Wild coach Bruce Boudreau would be given "free rein" when it came to his chief lieutenants.

Wild notes: Fletcher wants Boudreau to form his own opinions on players

Wild GM Chuck Fletcher said Tuesday he doesn't want to offer too many opinions to new head coach Bruce Boudreau.
Boudreau takes over Wild: 'Hopefully I can help in some form bring a Stanley Cup'

Boudreau takes over Wild: 'Hopefully I can help in some form bring a Stanley Cup'

Known for an aggressive, offensive style and for getting the most out of his players, Bruce Boudreau had some memorable lines right out of the gate.
Fiery, funny and a bit profane: Wild coach Boudreau is a hockey lifer

Fiery, funny and a bit profane: Wild coach Boudreau is a hockey lifer

Talk to a half-dozen of Bruce Boudreau's friends and, without fail, they all describe the new Wild coach the same way: "an everyman … unassuming … not a self-promoter … no ego … honest … just a good, good guy."
'This team is good.' Boudreau's whirlwind week ends with Wild coaching job

'This team is good.' Boudreau's whirlwind week ends with Wild coaching job

The Wild made its initial offer to Boudreau on Friday night after he met with the Senators. The Wild increased the offer during back-and-forth negotiations by the time he left Ottawa on Saturday.
Bruce Boudreau agrees to four-year deal as Wild head coach

Bruce Boudreau agrees to four-year deal as Wild head coach

Boudreau, who coached the Anaheim Ducks and Washington Capitals to eight division titles in nine years, agreed to terms Saturday night on a four-year contract.
Wild coach search begins with two steps

Wild coach search begins with two steps

The Wild asked permission to contact Bruce Boudreau and met with John Torchetti.
New name in Wild coaching search after Boudreau fired by Anaheim

New name in Wild coaching search after Boudreau fired by Anaheim

Although he has little postseason success, in 681 regular-season games over nine seasons Bruce Boudreau is 409-192-80 behind the bench.
Granlund, Coyle will continue to play both center and wing

Granlund, Coyle will continue to play both center and wing

Their versatility could go a long way for the Wild.
Fletcher says Torchetti a serious coaching candidate, chemistry 'overblown'

Fletcher says Torchetti a serious coaching candidate, chemistry 'overblown'

Selecting a permanent coach is part of Chuck Fletcher's fix-it project for the Wild's offseason following this year's roller-coaster of a campaign.
Parise hopes rehab will enable him to avoid back surgery

Parise hopes rehab will enable him to avoid back surgery

Zach Parise, who dealt with a herniated disk for three months, is optimistic that offseason rehab will fix his back.
Vanek wants to stay with Wild but knows buyout is possible

Vanek wants to stay with Wild but knows buyout is possible

The injured Thomas Vanek, 32, scored a career-low 18 goals in 74 games. His 41 points were his fewest in a non-lockout-shortened season.
Dallas eliminates Wild; furious rally falls short

Dallas eliminates Wild; furious rally falls short

Potential tying goal winds up millimeters short as Wild's season ends.
Strange goals find Wild's Dubnyk and force him into offseason

Strange goals find Wild's Dubnyk and force him into offseason

Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk cannot get over the one or two goofy, funky goals a game that were scored against him not only in the Wild's first-round playoff series against the Dallas Stars but pretty much every game down the stretch of the series.
Wild's Granlund dishes pucks, hits

Wild's Granlund dishes pucks, hits

The forward has been one of the Wild's most effective players.
Koivu saves the season: Tying, winning goals give Wild overtime win

Koivu saves the season: Tying, winning goals give Wild overtime win

Friday night in what could have been a season-ending Game 5, captain Mikko Koivu, who forced overtime in the final minutes of the third period, scored his first career playoff overtime winner for a season-saving 5-4 Wild victory.
Wild notes: Torchetti alters lineup for Game 5

Wild notes: Torchetti alters lineup for Game 5

With the Wild facing elimination Friday night, coach John Torchetti made a couple tweaks to the lineup in Game 5 against the Dallas Stars.
Down 3-1 in the series Wild knows, 'you need everybody'

Down 3-1 in the series Wild knows, 'you need everybody'

The Wild's attempt to climb back begins tonight.
In Dallas, old-school coach Ruff relates well to younger players

In Dallas, old-school coach Ruff relates well to younger players

In a league where coaches are hired to be fired within a few seasons, Lindy Ruff spent 15 years coaching the Buffalo Sabres before coming to Dallas in 2013.
Wild rallies past Dallas after Torchetti challenges team

Wild rallies past Dallas after Torchetti challenges team

The Wild, with injured star Zach Parise watching from the press box, got off to a slow start before being implored by interim coach John Torchetti to 'give up more for each other.'
Torchetti makes move to add bulk to Wild's lineup

Torchetti makes move to add bulk to Wild's lineup

John Torchetti was so dissatisfied with the Wild's physicality in Games 1 and 2 that the first couple of clips he showed the team on video in advance of Game 3 illustrated the fact that if the "littlest" guys on the team — Mikael Granlund and Jared Spurgeon — could play physical, so could everyone else.
Wild notes: Carter admits he likely deserved incitement penalty

Wild notes: Carter admits he likely deserved incitement penalty

"I'm good at taking penalties nobody's ever heard of before,'' Carter said. "I always get the good ones."
Agitation, aggravation from Wild after Game 2 loss

Agitation, aggravation from Wild after Game 2 loss

A controversial, fluky goal left goalie Devan Dubnyk livid and proved damaging as the Stars took a 2-0 stranglehold on the first-round series with Game 3 in St. Paul on Monday night.
Torchetti shakes up Wild lines, but Granlund can't convert

Torchetti shakes up Wild lines, but Granlund can't convert

As part of John Torchetti's Game 2 shake-up, Mikael Granlund moved from second-line center to first-line left wing. The result was seven shots … and no goals
Torchetti to shake things up as Wild prepares for Game 2 in Dallas

Torchetti to shake things up as Wild prepares for Game 2 in Dallas

In an effort to repair the Wild's psyche, coach John Torchetti shook up the lines during Friday's practice.
Wild notes: Speedy forward Haula expected back for Game 2

Wild notes: Speedy forward Haula expected back for Game 2

Erik Haula missed Thursday's 4-0 loss to the Stars because of a lower-body injury.
Star struck: Dallas blanks depleted Wild 4-0 in playoff series opener

Star struck: Dallas blanks depleted Wild 4-0 in playoff series opener

Wild players said early Thursday they'd use the underdog card as motivation. But the undermanned team that skidded into the playoffs looked like it didn't belong on the same ice with the Stars
Tuch's goal: to make Wild's 2016-17 team

Tuch's goal: to make Wild's 2016-17 team

One day after leaving Boston College after two seasons to sign with the team that drafted him 18th overall in 2014, Alex Tuch said his goal is to make the Wild next season.
Coyle, Zucker will be key for Wild in Parise's absence

Coyle, Zucker will be key for Wild in Parise's absence

With Zach Parise expected to be sidelined indefinitely, the pressure will be on other Wild players to pick up the slack offensively.
Do-it-all Benn has Stars shining bright

Do-it-all Benn has Stars shining bright

Missing the playoffs last year served as winger's motivation for a strong season.
Parise goes to Mayo; Wild go on as if he won't be back soon

Parise goes to Mayo; Wild go on as if he won't be back soon

Parise was at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester seeing a specialist Monday, according to multiple sources, a week after aggravating a back injury that has affected him since January.
Seguin practices, could return for Stars in playoff opener

Seguin practices, could return for Stars in playoff opener

The Stars' young superstar Tyler Seguin practiced with Dallas for the first time since sustaining a lacerated Achilles' tendon March 17.
Wild's Parise still not a sure thing for playoff opener

Wild's Parise still not a sure thing for playoff opener

Teammate Chris Porter, Zach Parise's friend and college teammate, said the Wild's star winger "has been mum about it to everybody. It's obviously bad."
Wild's series with high-scoring Dallas looks like mismatch

Wild's series with high-scoring Dallas looks like mismatch

Any way you measure it, the Wild comes up short in virtually every category against the No. 1-seed Dallas Stars, who won 12 more games and finished with 22 more points.
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