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.




New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Toronto 104 FINAL
Indiana 91
Cleveland 103 FINAL
Detroit 95
Milwaukee 109 FINAL
Miami 102
Memphis 109 FINAL
Dallas 90
Chicago 51 3rd Qtr
Golden State 56
Washington 47 3rd Qtr 10:48
LA Lakers 59
NY Rangers 1 FINAL
NY Islanders 4
Arizona 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 4
Winnipeg 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 5
Washington 3 FINAL
Columbus 4
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Carolina 4
Dallas 2 FINAL
Montreal 3
Detroit 5 FINAL
Florida 4
Colorado 3 FINAL(OT)
Nashville 4
Buffalo 1 FINAL
Calgary 4
Minnesota 1 3rd Prd 7:23
Edmonton 1
Anaheim 2 3rd Prd
Vancouver 0
Ball State 47 FINAL
Akron 59
Northern Ill 46 FINAL
Bowling Green 56
Western Mich 71 FINAL
Buffalo 77
Ohio 40 FINAL
Eastern Mich 76
Xavier 66 FINAL
Georgetown 53
Vanderbilt 62 FINAL
Georgia 70
West Virginia 65 FINAL
Kansas State 59
Central Mich 53 FINAL
Kent State 63
Saint Josephs 48 FINAL
La Salle 53
Nebraska 44 FINAL
Michigan 58
Miami-Ohio 65 FINAL
Toledo 70
Tulsa 62 FINAL
Tulane 55
George Washington 48 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 72
Pittsburgh 67 FINAL
Virginia Tech 70
Indiana State 78 FINAL
Evansville 89
Tabor College 53 FINAL
Oral Roberts 94
Florida 52 FINAL
Alabama 50
Tennessee 64 FINAL
Arkansas 69
Texas A&M 71 FINAL
Auburn 61
Baylor 53 FINAL
Oklahoma State 64
DePaul 0 Postponed
Providence 0
Michigan State 0 Postponed
Rutgers 0
Wyoming 44 FINAL
Utah State 56
Fresno State 47 FINAL
San Diego St 58
UNLV 55 2nd Half 3:06
Nevada 54
SD Christian 54 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 79
Colorado State 38 1st Half 0:54
Boise State 30
Temple 71 FINAL
UCF 54
Campbell 42 FINAL
Presbyterian 51
Coastal Carolina 65 FINAL
High Point 73
Gardner-Webb 49 FINAL
Radford 59
UNC-Asheville 58 FINAL
Liberty 62
Winthrop 63 FINAL
Longwood 62
Columbia International 33 FINAL
Charleston Southern 74
Tulane 63 FINAL
Houston 46
(3) Baylor 89 FINAL
TCU 67
Navy 49 FINAL
American Univ 59
Valparaiso 42 FINAL
Illinois-Chicago 60


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