Good Monday morning to you. It's back to work, back to reality for me. Training camp begins Friday when players officially report for physicals and fitness testing. First on-ice session is Saturday. We have a lot of good story ideas cooking in the Star Tribune oven.
On Sunday, an excerpt of the Craig Leipold Q&A ran in the paper. The more complete Leipold Q&A should be on startribune.com at some point today for Star Tribune subscribers and on Wednesday, the Leipold Q&A should be on startribune.com/wild for total consumption.
The Wild may release its training camp roster and schedule later today, so stay tuned for that. There should be a Sunday surprise for fans, although they were still ironing that out.
Tonight, from 5:45-8 on 1500 ESPN Radio, I'll be hosting Joe Anderson's show on 1500-AM. It'll largely be a Minnesota Wild/NHL preview, so definitely tune in. We'll have guests, including Edmonton Journal Hall of Fame hockey writer Jim Matheson, Columbus Blue Jackets play-by-play man Jeff Rimer and a Wild player around 7 p.m.
If you have questions for the show, you can either call in, leave a question now on my facebook page (facebook.com/startribunemikerusso) or email me during the show at email@example.com.
Very exciting that Darby Hendrickson begins his coaching career with the franchise he loves and in the area he grew up in. It was a long process for Hendrickson, who had a difficult decision to make. He was the NHLPA rep for the Northwest Division, and he was offered the Gophers color job on Fox Sports North. Originally, this was going to be a part time third assistant for the Wild, but GM Chuck Fletcher sweetened the pot and created a fulltime position for Hendrickson.
That certainly was the deciding factor.
Tom Chorske would be an excellent candidate to replace Hendrickson for both the NHLPA job or FSN positions. It'll be interesting what FSN does with the Wild analysis (studio work, pre and post game). You have Chorke in town, Wes Walz, Shjon Podein, etc, etc. Lots of guys. Remember, Brad Bombardir did sideline work for KSTC, but his already fulltime job with the Wild is even more fulltime as director of player development.
The Wild rookies are 2-0 in Traverse City. On Saturday, they beat Carolina 2-1 behind goals from Joel Broda and Tyler Johnson, and 29 saves from Matt Hackett. On Sunday, they beat Columbus 5-1 with Darcy Kuemper in net. Jarod Palmer, Cody Almond, Jared Spurgeon, Nate Prosser and Casey Wellman scored the goals, and apparently Josh Caron had a mammoth fight.
The rooks are off today, then play the Rangers on Tuesday. If they beat the Rangers, they'd be in the championship game. I believe they're assured no worse than the third-place game at this point.
Also, this week, the eighth North American Hockey League Showcase Tournament takes place at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine. It's Wednesday to Saturday, and it features 118 Minnesota natives. It's one of the most heavily-scouted hockey events on the continent.
Daily tickets are $8 for students/seniors and $15 for adults. Tournament passes are $20 for students/seniors and $50 for adults. Children 6 and under are free. For more info, go to nahlshowcase.com.
I'll be back on perhaps later with the training camp roster and schedule.