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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Gophers (Top ranked; Michaelson receives scholarship) and Wild prospect news (Nanne injured, Graovac soaring)

Posted by: Michael Russo under Gophers sports, Gophers players, Gophers awards and honors, Wild off-season news Updated: October 15, 2012 - 3:02 PM

The Gophers men’s hockey team, No. 1 in last week’s USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll, is now the top-ranked team in the nation in both polls considered to be the guide to college hockey.

This is thanks to annihilating Michigan State by a 12-2 combined score in consecutive wins Friday and Saturday. In the USCHO.com poll, the Gophers moved from No. 2 to No. 1. Defending NCAA champ Boston College, the previous No. 1 team who lost to Northeastern Saturday, fell to No. 3, while the University of North Dakota moved to No. 2.

In the new USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll, it also goes Minnesota, North Dakota and Boston College. Minnesota-Duluth is ranked 13th. 

The Gophers’ women are also ranked No. 1 in the USCHO poll. For a look at the poll, click this link, and for more on the polls, check out Roman’s twitter at @romanstrib.
 
I also did a Podcast with College Hockey Inc. today on the Gophers. Here’s that link.
 
In other Gophers news, I talked to Lou Nanne today. He is actually in Dallas, where Mike Modano, the former North Stars great, is being inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame along with Lou Lamoriello and Eddie Olczyk.
 
Three days before his son, Michael Nanne, died last month after a long battle with brain cancer, the Michael Nanne Endowed Scholarship was created. It will lead to an annual scholarship for a student-athlete on the Gophers’ men’s hockey team.
 
Lou Nanne said the endowment has received many generous donations already, and that the first scholarship will go to Gophers forward A.J. Michaelson, a freshman from Apple Valley that Nanne says happens to be good friends with Michael Nanne’s daughter, Lauren.
 
To donate to the Michael Nanne Endowed Scholarship, you can visit the Golden Gopher Fund page here or call the Golden Gopher Fund at (612) 626-4653.
 
---------------------------------------
 
In Wild news, they’re still locked out.
 
In prospect news, the Aeros lost their opening two games 3-1 (empty netter) and 3-2.
 
In Saturday’s loss to Charlotte, Jonas Brodin scored his first goal in North America. In yesterday’s loss at San Antonio, Charlie Coyle and Jason Zucker scored their first pro goals, with Mikael Granlund getting his first point in North America on Coyle’s goal. Coyle and Zucker had two points apiece, with Minnesota native Brian Connelly also assisting on Zucker’s goal.
 
 
Also, Wild 2012 seventh-rounder Lou Nanne, who played at Edina, was injured Saturday and taken to hospital after being checked in the boards while playing for BCHL Penticton.
 
As I mentioned, I talked to Lou Nanne’s grandfather, Lou Nanne, this afternoon. Nanne said his grandson needs to get an MRI, but he could have a broken bone in his shoulder or torn his rotator cuff. Nanne had gotten off to a terrific start for the Vees, including a hat trick Oct. 6 against Trail Smoke.
 
“I saw him play two weeks ago, and I told him after the game he needed to work on three things – deflections, driving the net and getting the puck and coming with speed through the neutral zone,” Grandpa Louie said. “His hat trick? First goal was a deflection. Second goal was a drive to the net. Third goal was a breakaway.”
 
Also, as TSN Bob McKenzie tweeted today, one of the biggest surprises this season in the Canadian Hockey League is Wild 2011 seventh-rounder Tyler Graovac, who impressed bigtime at July’s development camp.
 
He scored eight goals last season for the Ontario League’s Ottawa 67s. His career high is 10. Well, Graovac has nine in nine games this season, and McKenzie tweeted, “Graovac is 6-4 but has put on 30 pounds, now 204, since being drafted. Playing his way into legit prospect territory.” 

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