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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
NHL playoffs star Johnson was first noticed by Wild

NHL playoffs star Johnson was first noticed by Wild

Tyler Johnson might be the “one that got away,” but that doesn’t mean the Wild didn’t try to sign him when they took a long look at him a few years back.
Wild faces decision with goalie Niklas Backstrom

Wild faces decision with goalie Niklas Backstrom

The Wild’s all-time leader with 194 wins and 409 games has one year left on his contract, but the 37-year-old goalie last played on Jan. 13 and was scratched every game in the playoffs but one, when Darcy Kuemper was ill.
Abrupt ending to season is slow to sink in for Wild

Abrupt ending to season is slow to sink in for Wild

Wild players and team officials are having trouble coming to grips with the fact that after months of hard work, their season came to such a sudden end.
Wild wants Dubnyk to stay, and vice versa

Wild wants Dubnyk to stay, and vice versa

Both sides see team as ideal fit for the free-agent goalie, and hope to strike deal before July 1.
Sting of reality hits home for Wild after sweep

Sting of reality hits home for Wild after sweep

The Wild discovered despite believing this year would be different, it’s still not on par with the Blackhawks. Chicago swept the series 4-0.
Blackhawks complete sweep with 4-3 win over Wild

Blackhawks complete sweep with 4-3 win over Wild

For third consecutive year, the Blackhawks have the Wild’s number — as in four. This time it was a sweep.

Wild notes: Yeo tried reshuffling lines to boost scoring

Mike Yeo scrambled three of his four lines heading into Thursday night’s 4-3, season-ending Game 4 loss.
Wild notes: To shoot or not to shoot

Wild notes: To shoot or not to shoot

Knowing when and when not to shoot in a hockey game is harder than it looks.
Wild's individual failures magnified with losses

Wild's individual failures magnified with losses

Riding high a week ago, the Wild now faces the questions that come with a 3-0 deficit.
Man behind the mask

Man behind the mask

At 9 years old, Devan Dubnyk asked if he could play goal. His buddy was a goalie, and he thought the gear was cool. But his father wanted his boy to continue to develop as a skater.
Corrections needed for Wild to have a shot against Chicago

Corrections needed for Wild to have a shot against Chicago

In lieu of going on the ice, the Wild held a long video session in which Yeo showed multiple examples of Sunday lowlights from the 4-1 loss.
Wild anthem singer James Bohn finds niche at the X

Wild anthem singer James Bohn finds niche at the X

War veteran, once a long shot for the job, feeds off energy of Wild fans as he belts each verse.
Wild lacks answers, fall behind Blackhawks 2-0 in series

Wild lacks answers, fall behind Blackhawks 2-0 in series

The Wild fell to 0-8 in Chicago in the playoffs in the past three years and the Blackhawks.
Next time he scores: It's Mikael 'GrAHn-lUHnd'

Next time he scores: It's Mikael 'GrAHn-lUHnd'

CHICAGO – Get off Mike “Doc” Emrick’s back, Wild fans. If the legendary play-by-play man says Mikael Granlund’s last name is pronounced “GrAHn-lUHnd,”…

Wild notes: Haula hopes to finally get his shot in Game 2

CHICAGO – Erik Haula sits on a temporary folding chair inside the visitors’ locker room at United Center. His temporary nameplate is taped to…
Wild can't complete comeback; Hawks take Game 1

Wild can't complete comeback; Hawks take Game 1

Chicago’s Teuvo Teravainen scored a backbreaker in the final minute of the second period against Devan Dubnyk to give the Blackhawks a 4-3 victory in Game 1.

Wild goalie Darcy Kuemper says it wasn't wasted season

CHICAGO – Since early January, Darcy Kuemper has started one game — a win in Nashville that helped the Wild tie the NHL record…
Parise, Kane bring different styles to NHL success

Parise, Kane bring different styles to NHL success

Dogged Zach Parise of the Wild and flashy Patrick Kane of Chicago lead their teams in a quest for the Stanley Cup.,
Wild hopes to stay disciplined against Blackhawks

Wild hopes to stay disciplined against Blackhawks

One of the major reasons the Wild got past the St. Louis Blues in the first round is because it skated away when the Blues tried to provoke after-the-whistle altercations.
Wild notes: Vanek, despite no goals, remains positive

Wild notes: Vanek, despite no goals, remains positive

Thomas Vanek, coming off a rough postseason last year with the Canadiens, had no goals, two assists and 10 shots in six games against St. Louis.
Wild's Niederreiter finds a land of opportunity

Wild's Niederreiter finds a land of opportunity

L ike Norm from “Cheers,” every time Nino Niederreiter walks into his favorite downtown Minneapolis hangout, everybody knows his name.
Wild relishes chance to revive for Blackhawks

Wild relishes chance to revive for Blackhawks

The Wild is just happy to take a few days to breathe. Part of the benefit of finishing a series before seven games is a…
It's Wild-Blackhawks again — will this time be different?

It's Wild-Blackhawks again — will this time be different?

Postseason maturity has turned Wild into a team primed to end Hawks’ roll.
Blackhawks have plenty of players to shadow

Blackhawks have plenty of players to shadow

No player has scored more goals against the Wild since 2013 than Blackhawks winger Bryan Bickell.
Wild, Parise take it to Blues, advance to play Blackhawks

Wild, Parise take it to Blues, advance to play Blackhawks

The Blues, who scored only 14 goals in the series, suffered their third consecutive first-round exit.
Wild's Fontaine marvels at difference a year can make

Wild's Fontaine marvels at difference a year can make

One year ago, Justin Fontaine didn’t play the Wild’s first two playoff games at Colorado and was scratched in four of the Wild’s 13 postseason contests. Sunday, the former undrafted University of Minnesota Duluth winger scored his first career game-winning playoff goal in the Wild’s series’ clincher against the St. Louis Blues.
Yeo hopes Wild fans, players both ready for Game 6

Yeo hopes Wild fans, players both ready for Game 6

The Wild, the best road team in the NHL since Jan. 15, had the 19th-best home record in the regular season and got trounced 6-1 by the Blues in Game 4.
Yeo hopes Wild fans, players both ready for Game 6

Yeo hopes Wild fans, players both ready for Game 6

But the Wild has had its share of troubles at the X.
Roaring response: Wild wins Game 5 in St. Louis

Roaring response: Wild wins Game 5 in St. Louis

With Devan Dubnyk leading the way, the Wild stole Game 5 against the Blues.
Roaring response: Wild wins Game 5 in St. Louis

Roaring response: Wild wins Game 5 in St. Louis

The Wild scored on back-to-back shots by Nino Niederreiter and Mikko Koivu to come from behind and snatch a 4-1 victory for its first 3-2 series’ lead in franchise history.
Wild notes: Porter, Parise put friendship on hold for the series

Wild notes: Porter, Parise put friendship on hold for the series

ST. LOUIS – Zach Parise was best man in Chris Porter’s wedding. Porter was a groomsman in Parise’s wedding. Yet, the Wild and Blues…
Wild's Dubnyk named one of three Vezina Trophy finalists

Wild's Dubnyk named one of three Vezina Trophy finalists

The Wild’s season-saving goalie joins Montreal’s Price, Nashville’s Rinne.
Wild, Dubnyk seek redemption after 'one bad hockey game'

Wild, Dubnyk seek redemption after 'one bad hockey game'

Following a disastrous Game 4 loss at home, the Wild and goaltender Devan Dubnyk vow to forget the nightmare and get back on track Friday.
Dubnyk benched, Wild falls flat in Game 4 to St. Louis

Dubnyk benched, Wild falls flat in Game 4 to St. Louis

One game after becoming the first NHL team to shut out an opponent this postseason, the Wild allowed the most goals it ever has in 52 all-time playoff games.
Wild notes: Leopold proves too valuable to pull out of the lineup

Wild notes: Leopold proves too valuable to pull out of the lineup

  Hanging just under Jordan Leopold’s nameplate in his locker room stall is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle “Leonardo” figurine. “Little Leo” was placed…
Parents come to watch Dumba's growth spurt with Wild

Parents come to watch Dumba's growth spurt with Wild

Matt Dumba could always skate and shoot. Now his defense is stellar, and his parents are on hand to watch it on a big stage.

Blues' coach on Ott: 'He's an agitating guy'

Steve Ott has 22 penalty minutes, two shots, no points and is minus-1 for the Blues.
Wild breaks through, shuts out Blues in Game 3

Wild breaks through, shuts out Blues in Game 3

Pominville and Parise each scored second-period goals to make the Xcel Energy Center reverberate, while Nino Niederreiter scored an empty-net goal.
Former Wild star Rolston likes team's chances

Former Wild star Rolston likes team's chances

The former Wild winger returned to the X and called his former team “legitimate” contenders.
Haula can't crack Wild's lineup

Haula can't crack Wild's lineup

One year ago, Erik Haula was a breakout player for the Wild and integral part of its playoff lineup. One year later, Haula has been unable to crack the lineup three games into the Wild’s first-round series with St. Louis.
Some close calls for Wild, but St. Louis ties series 1-1

Some close calls for Wild, but St. Louis ties series 1-1

The hits kept coming, but some so-close Wild misses opened the door for St. Louis to take Game 2 and tie the series. Vladimir Tarasenko had a hat trick for the Blues.
Wild notes: Ballard gets big role for prospects' visit

Wild notes: Ballard gets big role for prospects' visit

ST. LOUIS – Keith Ballard played his last game this season — and maybe his career — on Dec. 9, but the defenseman will…
Young Wild players rely on playoff experience

Young Wild players rely on playoff experience

Previous playoff experience instills calm and confidence for young Wild players, who have a 1-0 series lead on St. Louis.
Wild notes: Cooler heads counteract strategy of antagonizing

Wild notes: Cooler heads counteract strategy of antagonizing

Mike Yeo met with Chris Stewart before Game 1 of the Wild-Blues series and asked him to keep his emotions in check.
Leopold, Yeo talk to Dumba about staying calm

Leopold, Yeo talk to Dumba about staying calm

Matt Dumba is playing in his first NHL playoff series. He's off to a hot start, with a goal in Game 1.
Wild fends off Blues to take Game 1 in St. Louis

Wild fends off Blues to take Game 1 in St. Louis

The Wild went into an arena that has been unkind and played what goalie Devan Dubnyk called a “fantastic road game," handling some tense late moments with two empty-net goals.
Dubnyk's persistence to play in goal is the Wild's gain

Dubnyk's persistence to play in goal is the Wild's gain

At 9 years old, Devan Dubnyk asked if he could play goal. His buddy was a goalie, and he thought the gear was cool. But his father wanted his boy to continue to develop as a skater.

Yeo seeks forward for fourth line

Coach is weighing several options going into Game 1.
For Wild's Jason Zucker, perfection is always the goal

For Wild's Jason Zucker, perfection is always the goal

Jason Zucker is obsessed with neatness, loyalty, tattoos — and winning
Backes of the Blues, Blaine: Minnesotan not-so-nice

Backes of the Blues, Blaine: Minnesotan not-so-nice

The hard-nosed St. Louis Blues captain from Blaine has gone after Mikael Granlund and Jared Spurgeon, concussed Darcy Kuemper, got into it with Charlie Coyle, fought Clayton Stoner and picked on Matt Dumba.
Blues haven't settled on goalie for playoffs

Blues haven't settled on goalie for playoffs

Of all the questions Mike Yeo received heading into Game 1 of the playoffs, the identity of the Wild coach’s starting goaltender was not one of them.
Wild's Parise, Suter bound by shared highs and lows

Wild's Parise, Suter bound by shared highs and lows

Arriving to the Wild in 2012 with elation, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter helped each other this season in grief.
Wild faces daunting task against Blues in playoffs

Wild faces daunting task against Blues in playoffs

As is often the case in the Stanley Cup playoffs, the first round can be the most scintillating, the most competitive … and the most daunting.
Wild's long climb into playoffs vs. Blues is worthy of reflection

Wild's long climb into playoffs vs. Blues is worthy of reflection

The Wild finished with road loss Saturday but turned heads with a major second-half revival.
Road win streak, Wild's regular season come to an end

Road win streak, Wild's regular season come to an end

The Wild’s 4-2 loss on Saturday in St. Louis was its first on the road since Feb. 16, snapping a 12-game road winning streak which was tied with the 2005-06 Detroit Red Wings for the longest in NHL history.
Season finale will only help determine Wild's playoff opponent

Season finale will only help determine Wild's playoff opponent

The Wild and its fans will have to be patient until about 10:30 p.m. Saturday — hours after the Wild’s 2 p.m. game at St. Louis — to learn the first-round opponent.
Wild's reshuffled lineup stays tough on road, ties record

Wild's reshuffled lineup stays tough on road, ties record

With its 12th consecutive road win, the Wild tied the 2005-06 Detroit Red Wings for longest road winning streak in NHL history.
Clinching playoff spot earns some rest for Wild's regulars

Clinching playoff spot earns some rest for Wild's regulars

Darcy Kuemper started for the first time since Jan. 6 and Niklas Backstrom backed up.
Playoff berth shows how far the Wild has come

Playoff berth shows how far the Wild has come

The Wild’s playoff berth shows how far the team has come.
Finally: Wild clinches playoff spot by winning at Chicago

Finally: Wild clinches playoff spot by winning at Chicago

Three months ago, the Wild was in the United Center locker room near the season’s low point. It had lost 11 of 13 games, it couldn’t get a save, folks were calling for Mike Yeo’s job.
Zucker returns, scores against Chicago

Zucker returns, scores against Chicago

Zucker, once the Wild’s second-leading goal scorer, played Tuesday against the Blackhawks for the first time since breaking a clavicle Feb. 9, and there was no easing him in.
Seeking clincher, Wild drops third straight at home

Seeking clincher, Wild drops third straight at home

The Wild was shut out for the first time since Nov. 26 and lose by more than a goal for the first time since Jan. 19.
Wild's Zucker taking more contact in hopes of Thursday return

Wild's Zucker taking more contact in hopes of Thursday return

Jason Zucker has spent the past few days ramping up the contact with the hope of returning to the Wild’s lineup later this week.…
Saturday's defeat alters Wild's outlook for final week

Saturday's defeat alters Wild's outlook for final week

Loss shifted team out of cruise mode, but it still can earn playoff spot on Monday.
Missed chances vs. Detroit make Wild's 1 point seem hollow

Missed chances vs. Detroit make Wild's 1 point seem hollow

Falling in a long shootout left the Wild lamenting a second home loss in a row.
Wild notes: Dubnyk is Masterton nominee

Wild notes: Dubnyk is Masterton nominee

Now on his fifth team in a year, Devan Dubnyk has become the toast of the NHL.
Sloppy spurts of play cost Wild in loss against Rangers

Sloppy spurts of play cost Wild in loss against Rangers

The Wild showed no quit against the New York Rangers, but in the end, Minnesota was doomed by sloppiness.
Dubnyk's dominance with Wild put him in NHL's MVP race

Dubnyk's dominance with Wild put him in NHL's MVP race

Should Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk be a candidate for NHL MVP even though he has only been in Minnesota 11 weeks? His numbers make a case.
Wild notes: Yeo ponders glut of forwards

Wild notes: Yeo ponders glut of forwards

With five forwards suddenly vying for three fourth-line spots even before the eventual return of Matt Cooke, Wild coach Mike Yeo has options.
Wild players enjoy living on the plus side as team improves

Wild players enjoy living on the plus side as team improves

As the Wild’s season turned around, so did players’ stats. “This is what happens when your team plays better,” Zach Parise said. “Everyone benefits.”
NHL's 'Situation Room' doesn't miss anything, anywhere

NHL's 'Situation Room' doesn't miss anything, anywhere

Quality-controlling eyes scrutinize goals and more from a high-tech room in Toronto.
Tough lineup decisions await Yeo as Wild gets healthy

Tough lineup decisions await Yeo as Wild gets healthy

Mike Yeo has tough lineup decisions to make as more players return from injury.
Injured Jason Zucker eager to return to Wild lineup

Injured Jason Zucker eager to return to Wild lineup

Zucker waits for that green light when he can start taking contact and return to the Wild’s lineup, hopefully in the playoffs.
Versatility important as team looks toward playoffs

Versatility important as team looks toward playoffs

When you’re in Jordan Schroeder’s position, every day feels like a tryout. Same for Sean Bergenheim and Erik Haula, same for even…
Wild takes over 3rd in Central Division with 4-1 victory over LA

Wild takes over 3rd in Central Division with 4-1 victory over LA

Nino Niederreiter and Mikko Koivu each scored two goals and Dubnyk made 31 saves as the Wild took a 4-1 win from the Los Angeles Kings and overtook the Chicago Blackhawks for third in the Central Division.
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