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Michael Russo's NHL short takes

  • February 3, 2013 - 7:12 AM
Wooing players

Newport Sports, the agency that represents more than 100 NHLers including the Wild's Zach Parise and Cal Clutterbuck, brought virtually the entire staff to St. Louis for last Sunday's Wild-Blues game.

Don Meehan, the head of the agency, said he and fellow agents Pat Morris, Wade Arnott, Mark Guy, Rand Simon and others were there because it was a chance to watch several clients play in one game.

But you can bet the group was also meeting with GM Doug Armstrong about on-the-rise defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who is a restricted free agent.

Young guns

Speaking of the Blues, Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz are thriving there.

Coach Ken Hitchcock has a reputation of not showing much faith in kids, something he says is "hogwash."

"It's like someone writes a story and it grows legs," Hitchcock said. "I'm past the point of even caring. Tarasenko and Schwartz, they're throwbacks, low maintenance, very respectful, high character, quality kids.

"They respect the veteran players, they respect the history of the franchise and game. There's absolutely zero sense of entitlement. They want to go out and learn every day."

Kessel moving?

There's scuttlebutt Phil Kessel, who has no goals this year, is on the block. First, Brian Burke, who acquired the former Gopher from the Bruins, is no longer the Toronto GM. Second, Kessel can become a free agent in July 2014.

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