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.

Also find Russo on Facebook.

Email Michael to talk about hockey.

First place in the Northwest on the line Monday when the Wild visits the Canucks

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild practice Updated: March 17, 2013 - 5:45 PM
First place in the Northwest Division is on the line Monday night when the Wild, winners of four of its past five, visit Rogers Arena and the Vancouver Canucks.
 
Good afternoon (early evening back in Minnesota) from Vancouver, where the Hockey God(s) provided me with a gorgeous final off-day in this magnificent city before realignment hits next season and limits me to one or two games here a season.

Mike Yeo’s got his team running on all cylinders right now. The Wild practiced this afternoon down at the building formerly known as GM Place. The only Wild player who didn’t practice was defenseman Tom Gilbert, whom Yeo expects to play Monday against the Canuckleheads.
 
Yeo indicated it was a maintenance day for the veteran defenseman, who was mugged by Colorado’s John Mitchell early in Saturday’s game and did take a shot off the leg before one of the Avalanche’s second-period goals.
 
Left wing Mike Rupp, who sustained a lower body injury in Saturday’s game, practiced today. Yeo indicated that he would play, meaning Jason Zucker, although he has been cleared to return, will have to continue to wait to get back in the lineup.
 
That means recently-signed defenseman Brett Clark would continue to wait as well. The Wild hasn’t had a lot of quality practice time lately, so Yeo said he wants to give him the best opportunity to be successful.
 
It’s also understandable that Yeo doesn’t want to fiddle with a winning lineup.
 
“The lineup that we had did a really good job last game, and the game previous to that, as well,” Yeo said.
 
With Pierre-Marc Bouchard deserving to stay in the lineup after two quality games, there’s just no spot for Zucker right now. Charlie Coyle continues to play well on the top line, Bouchard has retaken Zucker’s spot on the second, Yeo isn’t going to sit any of the veterans on the third line and the fourth line of Rupp, Zenon Konopka and Torrey Mitchell has played real well together, brings a different and much-needed type of element (physicality, defense, energy) and played well in this building last month.
 
Asked if it’s tough not to throw Zucker back in, Yeo said, “Yeah. For sure. But it was hard taking Butch out, too. These are the tough choices that we have to make.”
 
The Wild has won two in a row for the seventh time this season. The six previous times it failed to extend that streak to three. Monday it’ll attempt to do so in an arena it has not taken a victory from in 11 visits (0-9-2, outscored 40-15). The Wild did play pretty well in last month’s 2-1 loss here though, and even though the Canucks are 2-1 against the Wild this year, the Wild has played them well.
 
The Canucks are up and down these days, getting trounced by Detroit last night at home. The Canucks are 0 for 30 on the power play in the past 11 games.
 
Niklas Backstrom, 10-3-1 in his past 14 starts, will get the nod. The Canucks didn’t practice Sunday, but the assumption by many is Cory Schneider will get the start despite Roberto Luongo holding Minnesota to one goal in his past four home starts.
 
Backstrom has been good the past month, but he has shown signs of cracking lately. He gave up seven goals in two wins against Colorado and was swimming all over the crease the first two periods before a strong third Saturday.
 
Yeo is aware of Backstrom’s workload and my guess is he would even consider giving him a game off Wednesday in Detroit. But Yeo said today: “We’ll make sure that we’re monitoring him. … It’s important to get wins. We’re going into a battle for first place [Monday], and I think it’s important that we go with our starting goalie. We want to give ourselves the best chance to win that game. We’ll make sure that we do that every night, but at the same, it’s important that we don’t burn him out. We’ll make sure that he gets enough rest, too.”
 
I wrote a big story on Ryan Suter for Monday’s paper. He has been sensational since a rocky start, and he talked to me about what helped turn it around. He is now a legit Norris Trophy contender, and that may have been strengthened if Kris Letang’s injury for Pittsburgh today was serious.
 
Suter is second among NHL defensemen with 21 assists and 23 points. He has done that in 27 games. He is one point from surpassing Jared Spurgeon’s defensemen lead in 70 games last year.  He has got a point in nine of the past 10 games.
 
Devin Setoguchi has a goal in three straight games and nine in the past 17.
 
That’s it for me. I’ll be on KFAN at 10:20 CT Monday and on Fox Sports North Plus during Wild Live and first intermission Monday.
 
Oh yes, remember, the game is on Fox Sports North Plus. Go to their site to find out what channel that is on your provider.
 
Talk to you after Monday’s skate.
 
 
 

ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago 11/27/14 11:30 AM
Detroit
Philadelphia 11/27/14 3:30 PM
Dallas
Seattle 11/27/14 7:30 PM
San Francisco
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Golden State 82 3rd Qtr 4:35
Orlando 61
Brooklyn 70 3rd Qtr 1:01
Philadelphia 62
Portland 74 3rd Qtr 2:42
Charlotte 69
Washington 55 3rd Qtr 5:57
Cleveland 68
LA Clippers 48 2nd Qtr 0:00
Detroit 51
New York 42 2nd Qtr 0:14
Dallas 45
Toronto 64 2nd Qtr 0:13
Atlanta 61
Milwaukee 28 2nd Qtr 10:39
Minnesota 26
Sacramento 19 2nd Qtr
Houston 37
Utah 29 2nd Qtr 10:31
Oklahoma City 33
Indiana 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Denver 8:00 PM
Phoenix
Memphis 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
Winnipeg 2 3rd Prd
Buffalo 0
Washington 2 3rd Prd
NY Islanders 2
Philadelphia 1 2nd Prd 17:29
Detroit 1
NY Rangers 2 2nd Prd 16:10
Tampa Bay 2
Carolina 0 2nd Prd 13:53
Florida 1
Toronto 0 2nd Prd 17:47
Pittsburgh 2
Los Angeles 2 1st Prd 3:11
Minnesota 0
Chicago 8:00 PM
Colorado
Calgary 9:30 PM
San Jose
Robert Morris 46 FINAL
Chattanooga 61
Rochester College 35 FINAL
Eastern Mich 68
Marist 68 FINAL
Fresno State 64
Butler 74 FINAL
North Carolina 66
Liberty 50 FINAL
Morgan State 51
Denver 57 FINAL
Belmont 78
American Univ 64 FINAL
Hampton 60
Sacred Heart 72 FINAL
James Madison 79
Northeastern 54 FINAL
Massachusetts 79
Samford 71 FINAL
Kennesaw St 84
ULM 48 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 61
Hawaii 75 FINAL
East Carolina 73
Missouri 74 FINAL
Chaminade 60
UCLA 65 FINAL
Oklahoma 75
North Florida 72 FINAL
Elon 65
Oral Roberts 69 FINAL
Milwaukee 66
Chicago State 61 FINAL
Western Carolina 66
Purdue 87 FINAL
BYU 85
Furman 54 FINAL
Duke 93
San Francisco 72 FINAL
Evansville 79
Wisconsin 58 2nd Half 7:38
UAB 30
Davidson 86 2nd Half 7:18
UCF 60
Albany 60 2nd Half 2:57
Colgate 57
Longwood 41 2nd Half 11:03
George Washington 55
Delaware State 63 2nd Half 7:01
Iona 103
Trinity Baptist 53 2nd Half 4:16
Jacksonville 60
Cleveland State 29 2nd Half 6:53
Louisville 36
St Johns 51 2nd Half 9:51
Minnesota 55
PSU-Harrisburg 40 2nd Half 4:39
Navy 57
Richmond 63 2nd Half 7:24
NC State 66
Grambling St 52 2nd Half 2:28
Notre Dame 77
Georgia State 76 2nd Half 4:19
Oakland 70
Campbell 54 2nd Half 6:42
Ohio State 75
Goucher 36 2nd Half 7:15
Towson 79
Bryant 31 2nd Half 5:39
Vermont 58
Miami-Ohio 35 2nd Half 11:45
Virginia Tech 60
Mount St Marys 28 2nd Half 9:00
Wake Forest 66
Lafayette 50 2nd Half 9:33
Yale 68
UMKC 50 2nd Half 7:49
Youngstown St 52
Canisius 34 2nd Half 15:48
Cornell 42
Va Military 35 2nd Half
West Virginia 53
Lehigh 31 1st Half 5:54
DePaul 20
UC Riverside 25 1st Half 5:44
Loyola Marymount 15
Morehead State 32 1st Half 6:00
Marshall 21
Miss Valley St 25 1st Half 6:00
North Texas 28
UNC-Asheville 25 1st Half 4:16
South Carolina 32
Tenn Tech 39 1st Half 2:56
SE Louisiana 30
Texas Southern 15 1st Half 4:54
SMU 24
Radford 18 1st Half 5:12
TCU 23
TX-Pan American 19 1st Half 5:57
Utah 32
Wayne St-NE 22 1st Half 5:28
South Dakota 32
Kansas State 20 1st Half 5:25
Pittsburgh 20
Northern Ill 6 1st Half 16:47
Iowa 4
Fla Gulf Coast 7:30 PM
Green Bay
Carroll (MT) 8:00 PM
Montana
Florida A&M 8:00 PM
New Mexico St
Auburn 8:00 PM
Oregon State
Eastern Ky 8:00 PM
Southern Utah
Stetson 8:00 PM
Wyoming
Northern Ky 8:05 PM
Eastern Wash
Utah Valley U 8:05 PM
Idaho State
Florida 8:30 PM
Georgetown
Georgia 8:30 PM
Gonzaga
Northwestern 8:30 PM
Northern Iowa
Cal Poly 9:00 PM
California
Arizona 9:00 PM
San Diego St
Utah State 9:00 PM
UC Davis
Alabama State 9:30 PM
North Dakota
Portland State 10:00 PM
CS-Northridge
Tulsa 10:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Pacific 10:30 PM
Alaska-Anchorage
Missouri State 11/27/14 1:00 AM
Colorado State
Ohio U 24 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 21
LSU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas A&M
(6) TCU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
Kennesaw St 74 FINAL
Seton Hall 77
Northern Ill 46 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 55
Illinois-Chicago 40 FINAL
Northwestern 61
UT Martin 75 FINAL
Samford 79
Niagara 63 FINAL
Binghamton 52
Radford 47 FINAL
Pittsburgh 72
East Tenn St 69 FINAL
Indiana 97
North Dakota 72 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 52
Marshall 49 FINAL
Cornell 58
Oral Roberts 43 FINAL
Ark-Little Rock 54
LSU 0 Postponed
Texas-El Paso 0
Boise State 59 FINAL
Yale 53
Presbyterian 43 FINAL
Xavier 45
Evansville 37 2nd Half 7:23
(22) West Virginia 66
(4) Tennessee 53 2nd Half 6:07
Chattanooga 57
Delaware State 60 2nd Half 0:33
Mount St Marys 68
Bradley 58 2nd Half 3:51
Columbia 58
Providence 49 2nd Half 4:47
Dayton 62
Albany 47 2nd Half 5:13
Canisius 47
VA Commonwealth 40 2nd Half 4:44
William & Mary 44
Alabama A&M 38 2nd Half 7:37
Alabama 59
Colgate 28 2nd Half 4:19
(22) Georgia 56
Memphis 64 2nd Half 2:59
Southern Ill 75
Oakland 27 2nd Half 20:00
(16) Michigan State 41
Utah Valley U 24 2nd Half
UC Davis 35
Butler 26 1st Half 0:32
BYU 38
TX-Pan American 8 1st Half 7:33
(6) Texas 25
McNeese State 12 1st Half 6:12
(7) Texas A&M 35
Milwaukee 34 1st Half 4:57
Marquette 32
Northern Ariz 22 1st Half 5:51
TX-Arlington 28
Jackson State 11 1st Half 11:04
Chicago State 25
Indiana State 34 1st Half 3:08
South Alabama 20
Kansas State 0 Postponed
Santa Clara 0
Long Beach St 8:00 PM
Alaska-Anchorage
Iona 8:00 PM
Kansas
Fresno Pacific 9:00 PM
CS-Bakersfield

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Will the Gophers bring home The Axe?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT