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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 takes care of its free-agent business quickly on Day One

Wild takes care of its free-agent business quickly on Day One

There was no #PariseWatch, #VanekWatch or anything close for the Wild on Wednesday, the first day of NHL free agency.
Don't expect a big bang from the Wild in free agency

Don't expect a big bang from the Wild in free agency

With little to spend under the salary cap, GM Chuck Fletcher could focus on depth signings.
Greenway is seen as 'heck of a pick' for Wild

Greenway is seen as 'heck of a pick' for Wild

The Wild also drafted Lakeville North’s Sadek.
Dubnyk agrees to a six-year, $26M contract with Wild

Dubnyk agrees to a six-year, $26M contract with Wild

The season-saving goalie capped an eventful week by reaching a deal to stay in Minnesota.
Wild drafts Swede Eriksson Ek in first round

Wild drafts Swede Eriksson Ek in first round

The team tabbed Swedish center Joel Eriksson Ek with 20th overall pick, and worked a deal with coveted ex-Gopher Mike Reilly.
Goalie could soon be on Wild's horizon

Goalie could soon be on Wild's horizon

With five picks, the Wild might end up drafting a goaltender on Day 2 of the draft.
On eve of NHL draft, Wild appears in no hurry to deal

On eve of NHL draft, Wild appears in no hurry to deal

“I like our team,” general manager Chuck Fletcher said on the eve of the first round of the draft. “We’re not perfect, but I like our team.”
GM Fletcher not dealing second-round pick — so far

GM Fletcher not dealing second-round pick — so far

Chuck Fletcher is considering trading down from No. 20 on Friday night in order to “recoup” some of the picks he has traded.
Wild may be more receptive to Russians in this draft

Wild may be more receptive to Russians in this draft

GM Chuck Fletcher admits he has been wary of Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League pressuring its homegrown players into not signing or returning in the middle of their contracts.
Dubnyk's wild year continues with winning the Masterton Trophy

Dubnyk's wild year continues with winning the Masterton Trophy

The goalie, who was the key factor in the Wild’s second-half run that resulted in a playoff berth, was honored for his perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
Wild's Dubnyk wins Masterton Trophy

Wild's Dubnyk wins Masterton Trophy

The goalie, who was the key factor in the Wild’s second-half run that resulted in a playoff berth, was honored for his perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
Dubnyk wants resolution with Wild before free agency

Dubnyk wants resolution with Wild before free agency

The season-saving goalie is hopeful that he and the Wild can reach a contract resolution.
Life has tested Burnsville's Boeser, a likely NHL first-round pick

Life has tested Burnsville's Boeser, a likely NHL first-round pick

Brock Boeser is poised to become an NHL first-round pick while enduring more than any teenager should have to go through. Now it's his turn for some good news.
GM Fletcher expects no major draft-day moves for the Wild, yet

GM Fletcher expects no major draft-day moves for the Wild, yet

The quality and quantity of depth in the first round of this year’s NHL draft is so good the Wild is confident it will get a top player whether it selects at No. 20 or trades down.
Wild's negotiations with Dubnyk should heat up

Wild's negotiations with Dubnyk should heat up

With July 1 NHL free agency on horizon, Wild GM Chuck Fletcher sees next week as prime time.
Wild puts Cooke on waivers; Dubnyk talks await

Wild puts Cooke on waivers; Dubnyk talks await

The Wild has decided to put Matt Coke on waivers, and GM Chuck Fletch­er plans to meet face-to-face with goalie Devan Dubnyk on Tues­day in Las Vegas.
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.
Backstrom's elbow surgery is an issue for Wild

Backstrom's elbow surgery is an issue for Wild

Injured players cannot be bought out unless cleared by team physicians. So the Wild might not have the option of buying out the aging goalie’s contract.
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.
Reilly plans to meet with Wild, among others

Reilly plans to meet with Wild, among others

Mike Reilly is getting a head start on free agency. The former Gophers defenseman arrived at the NHL Combine in Buffalo, N.Y., on Wednesday to meet with a handful of teams through Friday.
Cap issues will keep Wild from free agent frenzy

Cap issues will keep Wild from free agent frenzy

Saddled by the salary cap, the Wild probably isn’t in position to make major offseason changes.
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.
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.
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