Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

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Live Russo online chat today at 2 p.m.

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild off-season news Updated: April 10, 2012 - 10:12 AM

Have a question or two or 20 heading into the offseason about the Wild or the NHL? My live offseason primer online chat will be Tuesday at 2 p.m., so be sure to come back to startribune.com armed with questions galore.

I will try to get to as many as I can.

We are two days away from my favorite time of year -- the NHL postseason.

I've probably watched more playoff games than any hockey writer in the league the last four years. When you actually cover the playoffs, you don't really get to watch the other games because you're so entrenched in the series you're covering.

For me, that never seems to be a problem.

Some tremendous first-round matchups, and my playoff preview will appear in Wednesday's paper.

In Tuesday's paper, I'll have an odds-and-ends notebook. In Thursday's paper, you'll hear from owner Craig Leipold.

Wild GM Chuck Fletcher and coach Mike Yeo had end-of-the-season availability with the local press corps this morning down at the X.

Most the things discussed were all things you've read in the paper the past few days and frankly the entire second half -- the prospects on the horizon, how the Wild won't rush em, how it got rid of some "fractures" in the dressing room and became more of a "team" (I've alluded or pointedly said more than once who those two/three players allegedly were), how the Wild will try to analyze this offseason why it's been so injured the past three years, etc., etc. 

If you want to watch the presser, carve out 40 minutes and here's the link (minus Fletcher sarcastically calling me his publicist by writing he's grayer in this morning's paper. Here's that link on Fletcher).

Niklas Backstrom will have offseason ankle surgery. Other players had end of the year physicals today and Fletcher said he anticipates a few more players will need surgery on ailments.

No news on world championship participants yet for the tournament in Finland. There probably won't be any real confirmations until after the first round. It's been reported in Finland that Wild captain Mikko Koivu will captain Finland for a second consecutive year. Last year, they won gold. 

On Tuesday at 7 p.m. on the NBC Sports Network, remember, the NHL draft lottery takes place. The Wild will currently pick at Lucky No. 7 at the June 22-23 draft in Pittsburgh. It has a 4.7 percent chance of winning the lottery, which would move Minnesota to third. If the 8th-11th teams win the lottery, the Wild would move back to eighth.

Columbus, Edmonton, Montreal, the Islanders and Toronto are the only teams with a chance of getting the first overall pick.

The NHL's Central Scouting Service came out with its final draft-eligible player rankings today. Here's a link (lists are about the middle of the page to the right of the article). Obviously, as we get closer to the June draft, you'll be reading a lot more about it.

For now, ... I'm in offseason mode.

You know how I know the Wild's season is officially over? Look at this depressing sight -- an empty, dark, closed-for-business Xcel Energy Center from this morning.

 

 

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Oakland - LP: D. Otero 8 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Frasor 9
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
NY Islanders 5 FINAL
Boston 3
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Ottawa 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Tampa Bay 5 FINAL
Dallas 1
Colorado 0 FINAL
Calgary 2
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
San Jose 1
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton

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