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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All-around effort by the Wild helps it improve to 2-0

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild game coverage Updated: January 20, 2013 - 11:42 PM
In his first start since being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Josh Harding made 24 saves for his seventh career shutout and Zach Parise scored his first goal as a Wild to lift Minnesota to a 1-0 win over Dallas.
 
Good evening from high above an empty Xcel Energy Center, where a few hours ago, the perfect story was written by Harding, the 28-year-old goalie selected by the Wild in the second round of the 2002 draft.
 
If you don’t remember my stories at the time, here is the article I wrote in November after spending an afternoon with Harding and his doctor, Dan Peterson.
 
Here is also a supplementary blog I wrote that night, too.
 
Tonight, Harding brushed off all the doubt and butterflies and was flawless.
 
“This is something that most of us cannot understand what he’s going through,” coach Mike Yeo said. “He’s just had an amazing attitude about this.”
 
Added former teammate and Dallas Stars forward Eric Nystrom: “It’s incredible. There’s a lot more important things in life than hockey and I think sometimes we forget about that.”
 
As good as Harding was in the game, he was as good in his postgame interview. He thanked everybody, from management, to the coaches, to his teammates, to his doctors – Dan Peterson and Jonathan Calkwood -- that he says have “saved him” and made him believe.
 
To hear from Harding, read the game story when it’s updated later tonight on www.startribune.com/wild.
 
On the game, the Wild limited the Stars’ chances, remedied a lot of the defensive woes from the night before and spent a lot of the night in the offensive zone. They generated 32 shots and a lot of quality chances, especially during a second-period flurry, but weren’t rewarded.
 
The Stars’ line of Loui Eriksson-Derek Roy-Jaromir Jagr was pretty much shut down. It was a team effort, but the Cal Clutterbuck-Kyle Brodziak-Pierre-Marc Bouchard line along with Clayton Stoner and Tom Gilbert got a lot of the assignments.
 
This is the first time in Bouchard’s career he’s being asked to play a defensive role against top players and the best way to do that is to play in the offensive zone. This line did that for much of the night. Clutterbuck had five shots and five hits, including a crushing, clean hit on Stephane Robidas.
 
Gilbert had seven blocked shots and Stoner was just awesome tonight. Justin Falk’s game was real good, too.
 
Jagr, ancient only in the fact that he turns 41 next month, looked like vintage Jagr the night before in a win over Phoenix. But he followed a four-point night with gooseeggs on three shots in the only NHL arena he has never scored in.
 
“Good teams find a way to win and sometimes you’ve got to win 1-0, sometimes you’ve got to score four goals,” Yeo said. “Every night is different, every night is unique. Our guys battled and did everything we could. The battle level is unbelievable with this group.”
 
Both teams were playing back-to-back to open the season, and all fans should get used to this during this condensed, 48-game season. On every night, pretty much one of both teams will have played the night before.
 
So that could lead to some dead legs and some lulls, which this game had a few times. But all in all, it was a pretty good game with some open ice and plenty of chances for a 1-0 game.
 
But, with only six days of camp and no practices since, Yeo says it’ll be a work in progress. He noted how the players “tried to do things and couldn’t quite connect, without the puck, system-wise, they know where they’re supposed to be but kind of drift out of there.”
 
He did feel that the team is tired, so he won’t practice the guys Monday. They’ll have a morning skate Tuesday before playing Nashville that night to close the three-game homestand. Then, there’s a chance for consecutive practice days if Yeo so chooses before a two-game trip to Detroit and St. Louis.
 
That’s it for me. Since there is no practice, you may not hear from me Monday. But I will be on KFAN in studio from 9:35-10:15 a.m.
 

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Minnesota 35 FINAL
Miami 37
Baltimore 13 FINAL
Houston 25
Detroit 20 FINAL
Chicago 14
Cleveland 13 FINAL
Carolina 17
Atlanta 30 FINAL
New Orleans 14
Green Bay 20 FINAL
Tampa Bay 3
Kansas City 12 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
New England 17 FINAL
NY Jets 16
NY Giants 37 FINAL
St. Louis 27
Buffalo 24 FINAL
Oakland 26
Indianapolis 7 FINAL
Dallas 42
Seattle 35 FINAL
Arizona 6
Denver 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
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Toronto 118
Memphis 91 FINAL
Cleveland 105
Boston 84 FINAL
Miami 100
Detroit 105 FINAL
Brooklyn 110
LA Lakers 101 FINAL
Sacramento 108
Philadelphia 96 FINAL
Orlando 88
Phoenix 104 FINAL
Washington 92
Indiana 100 FINAL
Minnesota 96
New Orleans 101 FINAL
Oklahoma City 99
Colorado 2 FINAL(SO)
Detroit 1
Dallas 6 FINAL(SO)
Edmonton 5
Buffalo 3 FINAL(OT)
Boston 4
Carolina 0 FINAL
NY Rangers 1
Toronto 0 FINAL
Chicago 4
Philadelphia 4 FINAL(OT)
Winnipeg 3
Harvard 27 FINAL
Virginia 76
Maine 69 FINAL
Army 72
Ferris State 82 FINAL
Bowling Green 68
San Francisco 65 FINAL
Cleveland State 69
Oregon State 52 FINAL
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Holy Cross 48 FINAL
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UNC-Asheville 62
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Montana 62
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Samford 64
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South Carolina 78
USC 75 FINAL
Boston College 71
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Hampton 75
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UC Irvine 55 FINAL
Bradley 47
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Nicholls 64
Seton Hall 47 FINAL
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Alabama 60
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Kent State 53
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Washington St 82
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Texas-El Paso 78
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Seattle 66
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Louisiana 16
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Texas-El Paso 6
(23) Utah 45 FINAL
Colorado State 10
Western Mich 24 FINAL
Air Force 38
South Alabama 28 FINAL
Bowling Green 33
BYU 1:00 PM
Memphis
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
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Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
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UCF
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Virginia Tech
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(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Cal-Irvine 55 FINAL
Denver 63
St Marys-CA 52 FINAL
George Washington 70
TX-San Antonio 49 FINAL
Nicholls 57
Portland State 71 FINAL
Columbia 66
Tenn Tech 62 FINAL
Morgan State 56
SMU 43 FINAL
Auburn 56
Quinnipiac 70 FINAL
Hartford 58
Hofstra 75 FINAL
Boston College 61
Eastern Washington 55 FINAL
Georgia Southern 42
Liberty 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 84
Fairleigh Dickinson 74 FINAL
Brown 79
Buffalo 73 FINAL
Long Island 79
Bucknell 74 FINAL
Mount St Marys 49
Stony Brook 70 FINAL
Wagner 76
FIU 83 FINAL
Wofford 75
Duquesne 56 FINAL
Providence 67
Maine 54 FINAL
William & Mary 51
Alabama State 43 FINAL
Samford 56
TX-Pan American 43 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 64
South Dakota St 64 FINAL
Marist 82
Saint Josephs 50 FINAL
(5) Notre Dame 64
Radford 60 FINAL
Virginia Tech 73
(3) Texas 67 FINAL
(4) Texas A&M 65
Rhode Island 60 FINAL
Bryant 56
South Florida 90 FINAL
Penn State 87
Sam Houston St 55 FINAL
TCU 79
Evansville 50 FINAL
IUPUI 62
(14) Maryland 110 FINAL
Coppin State 51
Mercer 59 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 72
NC A&T 43 FINAL
Chattanooga 58
Princeton 84 FINAL
Monmouth 53
Eastern Illinois 69 FINAL
Lehigh 72
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Binghamton 72
SC State 57 FINAL
Clemson 66
Fairfield 63 FINAL
Iowa State 76
Richmond 70 FINAL
Eastern Kentucky 56
Cleveland State 80 FINAL
Morehead St 72
Kent State 62 FINAL
Colgate 61
South Alabama 43 FINAL
UAB 73
Saint Peters 35 FINAL
Navy 71
Youngstown St 52 FINAL
Pittsburgh 78
NJIT 50 FINAL
Lafayette 66
Davidson 51 FINAL
Charlotte 86
Indiana State 73 FINAL
St Johns 67
Southern U 49 FINAL
Florida 78
Wright State 46 FINAL
Purdue 70
(19) Oklahoma St 66 FINAL
USC 62
Houston 54 FINAL
Texas Tech 60
Ark-Little Rock 66 FINAL
Tulsa 59
Dayton 71 FINAL
Vanderbilt 67
Northern Ariz 37 FINAL
New Mexico 56
UNC-Asheville 60 FINAL
USC Upstate 67
North Dakota 81 FINAL
South Dakota 86
Western Ill 57 FINAL
Marquette 65
Elon 67 FINAL
(6) North Carolina 85
Ball State 59 FINAL
Western Ky 84
(8) Kentucky 68 FINAL
(13) Duke 89
New Orleans 58 FINAL
Alabama 87
Chicago State 47 FINAL
Milwaukee 69
Bowling Green 61 FINAL
Bradley 47
Ill-Springfield 56 FINAL
SE Missouri St 73
Northern Ill 42 FINAL
Northern Iowa 51
(23) Iowa 100 FINAL
Drake 98
Central Michigan 64 FINAL
Minnesota 67
Western Carolina 45 FINAL
North Florida 62
Wyoming 71 FINAL
Colorado 76
Portland 58 FINAL
Boise State 94
Cal Poly 63 FINAL
Colorado State 65
No Dakota State 54 FINAL
Grand Canyon 69
Albany 71 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 49
Oklahoma 64 FINAL
Arkansas 71
Idaho State 63 FINAL
Seattle 55
(18) Michigan State 89 FINAL
(19) Syracuse 76
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Arizona State 88
TX-Arlington 46 FINAL
North Texas 38
Fresno State 68 FINAL
Oregon 59
St Francis-PA 75 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 72
UNLV 71 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 74
UCLA 50 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 86
(10) Louisville 70 FINAL
(24) California 57
Howard 53 FINAL
Virginia 74
Miami-Ohio 42 FINAL
(21) Miss State 68
Illinois-Chicago 55 FINAL
Old Dominion 61

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