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.




Tennessee 13 FINAL
Jacksonville 21
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
New York 97 FINAL
Chicago 103
New Orleans 99 FINAL
Houston 90
Milwaukee 108 FINAL
Sacramento 107
Oklahoma City 109 FINAL
Golden State 114
Florida 2 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 1
Colorado 0 FINAL(OT)
Pittsburgh 1
Toronto 1 FINAL
Carolina 4
Washington 5 FINAL(OT)
Columbus 4
Anaheim 2 FINAL
Montreal 1
St. Louis 4 FINAL
Los Angeles 6
Edmonton 3 FINAL
San Jose 4
St Thomas (TX) 61 FINAL
Rice 72
Stony Brook 59 FINAL
Canisius 60
Temple 82 FINAL
Delaware 62
Long Island 69
Lehigh 65 FINAL
Quinnipiac 80
South Alabama 54 FINAL
Richmond 65
Seton Hall 89 FINAL
South Florida 69
Ga Southern 76 FINAL
Stetson 67
Yale 57 FINAL
Vermont 56
Cleveland State 54 FINAL
Virginia 70
Wright State 69 FINAL
Western Carolina 56
Nicholls 54 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 79
Morgan State 48 FINAL
Rider 62
Idaho State 72 FINAL
South Dakota St 75
Oakland City 52 FINAL
Austin Peay 76
Eureka 38 FINAL
Bradley 80
Appalachian St 65 FINAL
Charlotte 75
Connecticut 56 FINAL
Duke 66
Southern Miss 46 FINAL
Jackson State 66
Coastal Carolina 68 FINAL
Ole Miss 71
Montana State 53 FINAL
South Dakota 55
UAB 70
Ohio 69 FINAL
Evansville 81
CS-Dominguez 50 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 72
Walla Walla 39 FINAL
Idaho 86
DePaul 59 FINAL
Oregon State 90
Nevada 65 FINAL
Pacific 69
Portland State 40 FINAL
San Francisco 77
CS-Bakersfield 56 FINAL
Utah State 57
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Niagara 76 FINAL
Cleveland State 58
High Point 59 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 81
Towson 64 FINAL
Wake Forest 74
Presbyterian 50 FINAL
Charlotte 66
Chicago State 62 FINAL
Bradley 59
Northwestern Coll 58 FINAL
Drake 102
Vanderbilt 67 FINAL
Marquette 80
Temple 78 FINAL
Howard 48
Southern Miss 66 FINAL
Ole Miss 68
Rider 67
Miami-Florida 74 FINAL
St Mary-KS 51 FINAL
South Dakota 115
William & Mary 71 FINAL
Wofford 51
Troy 82 FINAL
Evansville 94
Loyola Marymount 54 FINAL
USC 96
St Francis-PA 52 FINAL
Duquesne 92
Indiana-Southeast 45 FINAL
Delaware State 52 FINAL
Detroit 74
Tenn Temple 48 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 68
West Virginia St 58 FINAL
Radford 52
Fairfield 47 FINAL
Seton Hall 79
Dartmouth 44 FINAL
New Hampshire 60
Ball State 47 FINAL
Pittsburgh 59
Jacksonville 61 FINAL
Tennessee St 64
Trine 45 FINAL
Western Mich 81
Tenn Tech 53 FINAL
Lipscomb 72
Samford 56 FINAL
Tulane 57
New Orleans 55 FINAL
Tulsa 78
Incarnate Word 61 FINAL
TX-Pan American 65
Ark-Little Rock 42 FINAL
South Dakota St 67
CS-Northridge 77 FINAL
Northern Ariz 71
Santa Clara 88 FINAL
Oregon 92
(19) Oklahoma St 55 FINAL
Weber State 49
Washington 69 FINAL
San Diego State 48
Cal Poly 68 FINAL
New Mexico 84
(10) Louisville 65 FINAL
Grand Canyon 51


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