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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World Junior, Bussieres chatter; Aeros, Zucker, Granlund update; Spurgeon injured

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild off-season news Updated: December 3, 2012 - 12:33 PM


This morning, Hockey Canada will announce its preliminary roster for the world junior championships, which will be in Ufa, Russia, from Dec. 26-Jan. 5.

On the preliminary roster of this eventual stacked team should include Wild draft picks Matt Dumba and Tyler Graovac. For much of the season, Graovac, an Ottawa 67s forward, was leading the Ontario Hockey League in goals. He now has 18 in 23 games, was playing hurt for much of the year and is now day-to-day with that injury. Dumba has 15 points in 28 games for Red Deer of the Western Hockey League.

Raphael Bussières, a second-rounder in 2012, is off to a great start with Baie-Comeau of the Quebec League, but he's considered a longshot to play for Canada. Bussières has 17 goals and 37 points (21st in the Q) in 29 games. He was named one of the Q's 3 Stars of the Month for November today. During his past 13 games, Bussières scored 10 goals, totalling 23 points. With three winning goals, he was one of the key elements of the team during their 15 consecutive winning streak in regulation time; equalling the 10 year-old team record. Bussières had a +11 during the last month and two points or more in six games. He also had an eight-game goal streak last month.

UPDATE: Dumba and Graovac made the preliminary roster, Bussieres did not. Here is the roster

Defending champion Sweden has released its roster, and obviously that does not include Jonas Brodin, who is sidelined indefinitely following surgery for a broken clavicle. Christoph Bertschy, drafted 158th overall by the Wild in June, should play for Switzerland. He plays for Bern in the Swiss League.

On Tuesday, the United States will announce its preliminary roster. With Mario Lucia back playing for Notre Dame after a preseason leg and ankle injury, Lucia should be on the roster. Lucia has four goals and an assist in six games for the 11-4 Irish. The freshman Lucia is coming off a 2-goal performance in a pounding of Lake Superior State, the school put on the map by Brian Rolston, Doug Weight, Jimmy Dowd, and ... Mike Greenlay.

The U.S. will be in a group with Canada, Russia, Germany and Slovakia and here is the world junior schedule for this year.


The Houston Aeros are coming off a big two-game sweep over Oklahoma City and this came one game after beating Abbotsford. So that's two of the top teams in the AHL.

Houston is now fifth in the conference and has won five in a row since defeating Rockford in the Nov. 18 game at the X.

Former UMD national champ Justin Fontaine continues to be a stud for the Aeros. He is tied for 16th in the AHL with 19 points in 19 games. Jason Zucker is tied for fifth in the AHL with 11 goals and leads all rookie forwards. Zucker is tied for first in the AHL with six power-play goals. Brian Connelly is tied for 19th in the league with 12 assists. Matt Hackett is tied for fifth with eight wins.

Here is the Aeros' schedule, but they play at Texas on Friday and home against Peoria on Sunday. Mikael Granlund, injured Nov. 2, is expected to return this weekend from a sprained ankle that cost him 12 games. The Aeros are a very impressive 7-3-2 without Granlund and Brodin.

Also, sounds to me like Brett Bulmer will be out a bit with what I think is a sprained knee. Chad Rau is also out for awhile with a foot injury, while Carson McMillan is banged up with an upper body injury.


Wild defensemen Jared Spurgeon has sustained an injury in Switzerland with the SCL Tigers and is on his way back to North America. I have emails into his agents and a text into Spurgeon, but as of now, I'm told it's a minor lower-body injury. If I get more details, I will update the blog.

Update: I talked with agent Eustace King. Spurgeon has touched down in Minneapolis. He will be examined by doctors here for a tweaked groin. They believe it's minor, but they want to make sure it's not something more substantial. If it's not and the lockout continues, he will likely eventually return to Switzerland.

This leaves only two Wild locked-out players playing elsewhere right now. Clayton Stoner left this past Thursday for Banska Bystrica in Slovakia and Devin Setoguchi is playing for the Ontario Reign in California of the East Coast Hockey League. He has seven points in five games.


On Tuesday afternoon in New York, six owners and six players will meet face to face in an effort to gain traction and end this lockout. Commissioner Gary Bettman proposed the meeting last week when mediation failed without union or league leadership. But the NHLPA proposed a staff member from each side be involved, so now Bill Daly and Steve Fehr are expected to be in the room.

The owners will include: two members from the negotiating committee -- Jeremy Jacobs of the Boston Bruins and Murray Edwards of the Calgary Flames -- four new owners -- Ronald Burkle of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Mark Chipman of the Winnipeg Jets, Jeff Vinik of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Larry Tanenbaum of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The players should be announced today, so I'll update the blog later.

The Board of Governors meet in New York on Wednesday, and as I mentioned last week, it's time in my opinion for a drop-dead date to be established and announced.


Toronto - LP: D. Hutchison 2 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Tanaka 5
Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 2 FINAL
Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi 1
NY Mets - WP: J. deGrom 10 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: E. Santana 2
Boston - WP: J. Kelly 3 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: M. Gonzalez 2
Milwaukee - LP: W. Peralta 0 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 1
Chicago WSox - WP: J. Danks 10 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: N. Karns 5
Cleveland - WP: C. Kluber 7 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: A. Swarzak 2
Detroit - LP: R. Porcello 2 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Guthrie 5
Seattle - LP: H. Iwakuma 3 FINAL
Houston - WP: C. McHugh 8
Los Angeles - WP: C. Perez 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Turner 5
Texas - WP: S. Tolleson 2 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: H. Street 1
Philadelphia - LP: M. Gonzalez 6 FINAL
Oakland - WP: S. Doolittle 8
San Francisco - LP: R. Vogelsong 2 FINAL
San Diego - WP: I. Kennedy 8
Arizona - LP: W. Miley 3 FINAL
Colorado - WP: C. Bergman 8
Cincinnati - WP: A. Simon 7 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: L. Lynn 2
San Diego 22 FINAL
Buffalo 10
Dallas 34 FINAL
St. Louis 31
Washington 34 FINAL
Philadelphia 37
Houston 17 FINAL
NY Giants 30
Minnesota 9 FINAL
New Orleans 20
Tennessee 7 FINAL
Cincinnati 33
Baltimore 23 FINAL
Cleveland 21
Green Bay 7 FINAL
Detroit 19
Indianapolis 44 FINAL
Jacksonville 17
Oakland 9 FINAL
New England 16
San Francisco 14 FINAL
Arizona 23
Denver 20 FINAL
Seattle 26
Kansas City 34 FINAL
Miami 15
Pittsburgh 37 FINAL
Carolina 19
Chicago 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Columbus 4 FINAL
Carolina 3
Buffalo 0 FINAL
Washington 1
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Columbus 4
Calgary 1 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Edmonton 0 FINAL
Calgary 1
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(12) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(9) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
North Carolina 41 FINAL
(23) East Carolina 70
Army 21 FINAL
Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(20) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
Rutgers 31 FINAL
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 FINAL
Kansas 24
Utah 26 FINAL
Michigan 10
Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
Louisville 34 FINAL
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
Missouri 27
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Minnesota 24
Texas State 35 FINAL
Illinois 42
Massachusetts 7 FINAL
Penn State 48
Georgia State 14 FINAL
Washington 45
Appalachian St 20 FINAL
Southern Miss 21
(14) Miss State 34 FINAL
(17) LSU 29
Northern Ill 14 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Middle Tennessee 17 FINAL
Memphis 36
Utah State 14 FINAL
Arkansas State 21
Miami-Ohio 24 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Idaho 24 FINAL
Ohio U 36
Ball State 23 FINAL
Toledo 34
(13) So Carolina 48 FINAL
Vanderbilt 34
(4) Oklahoma 45 FINAL
West Virginia 33
Ga Southern 28 FINAL
South Alabama 6
Houston 47
Miami-Florida 31 FINAL
(21) Nebraska 41
New Mexico 38 FINAL
New Mexico St 35
Clemson 17 FINAL
(1) Florida State 23
California 45 FINAL
Arizona 49
San Diego St 7 FINAL
Oregon State 28
(2) Oregon 38 FINAL
Washington St 31
Louisiana 9 FINAL
Boise State 34
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Chivas USA 0 FINAL
Toronto FC 3
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 15 FINAL
Montreal 31
Ottawa 32 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35


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