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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Ben Hanowski with a crewcut, and other Wild-Calgary pregame notes

Posted by: Rachel Blount under Wild pregame skate Updated: April 21, 2013 - 1:00 PM

Rachel here, sitting in for Russo at tonight's Wild-Calgary game. No morning skate for the Wild today, only a meeting. Coach Mike Yeo didn't have much news. No updates on the health of Mike Rupp (lower body) and Zenon Konopka (broken foot); neither will play tonight. Defensive personnel will remain the same.

Yeo again stressed the importance of not just getting to the playoffs, but getting there in a good frame of mind with everyone working towards a peak. He wants to see the Wild continue to build its game this week. "You want to be rolling,'' he said. "You want to be feeling good about your game. You want to be on top of it.

"It's really important to stay positive. We should just be really excited about this opportunity, what we have a chance to do as an organization that we haven't been able to do for the past several years. We've set ourselves up with a great opportunity. We should be making sure we take advantage of it now.''

Having guys who have been there will help reinforce those ideas, Yeo said. "It's not by accident we've brought in guys who have done a lot of winning,'' he said. "The big names (such as Zach Parise and Ryan Suter) stick out, but then you add in a Torrey Mitchell, who's been part of a lot of San Jose runs and a lot of playoff games, and a Mike Rupp (who appeared in the playoffs in seven seasons with New Jersey, Pittsburgh and the New York Rangers). They not only know what it takes, but more importantly, they've experienced the emotions and all the things you have to overcome.''

The Wild opens a three-game homestand Sunday, and it could help its cause by bringing its power-play production at Xcel in line with its numbers on the road. The Wild has scored 15 power-play goals in 65 chances on the road (23.1 percent), ranking it third in the NHL. At home, the team has 11 goals on 77 power-play opportunities for a dismal conversion rate of 14.3 percent--ranking it 27th.

"You don't have to think too hard about it,'' Yeo said. "It's just a mindset. When you go on the road, you're simplifying a little bit more. Your focus is on getting shots and getting traffic to the net. When you get home, you're thinking about making plays and setting up goals. I think that mindset has to change for us a little bit and just get back to that shot-first mentality.''

Ben Hanowski of Little Falls, who joined the Flames last week after concluding his career at St. Cloud State, will play his first NHL game in his home state. He will be on a line with a fellow Minnesotan, Tim Jackman of Brooklyn Park and Minnesota State, Mankato, and Matt Stajan. He's expecting to see his former teammates--the Wild, he said, set the Huskies up with a suite--and about 20 relatives and friends.

Hanowski has shorn the mane he was growing as part of a St. Cloud State effort for the charity Locks of Love, which uses donated hair to make wigs for young cancer patients. He got a crew cut last Tuesday, for the first time since his high school baseball days. The minimum length of hair that can be donated is 10 inches; Hanowski had to trim close to the scalp to get to 10 1/2.

Hanowski has one goal in two games and is plus-one since joining the Flames. "With two Minnesota guys playing together, I hope we can work a little magic in the state today,'' he said. "The NHL is always your goal as a hockey player. To actually get there and play (at Xcel) in the NHL is pretty special for me. My family members and friends are pretty proud and excited for this opportunity I've gotten.

"We've got a lot of Minnesota guys on the (St. Cloud State) team. I'm sure they will want me to do well, but they'll want the Wild to win.''  


New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Detroit 69 FINAL
Philadelphia 89
Portland 94 FINAL
Cleveland 99
Sacramento 102 FINAL
Toronto 119
Boston 98 FINAL
Minnesota 110
Dallas 94 FINAL
Houston 99
Denver 93 FINAL
New Orleans 85
Brooklyn 102 FINAL
Atlanta 113
Oklahoma City 92 FINAL
New York 100
Charlotte 86 FINAL
San Antonio 95
LA Clippers 94 FINAL
Utah 89
Washington 98 FINAL
Phoenix 106
Toronto 1 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Pittsburgh 0 FINAL
Washington 4
Chicago 3 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Temple 86 FINAL
UCF 62
Winthrop 75 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 68
Lafayette 59 FINAL
Colgate 54
Northeastern 60 FINAL
Drexel 65
Wake Forest 76 FINAL
Florida State 82
Rhode Island 64 FINAL
Fordham 63
Delaware 82 FINAL
James Madison 88
South Carolina 58 FINAL
LSU 64
New Hampshire 63 FINAL
Maine 58
Seton Hall 80 FINAL
Marquette 70
Binghamton 68 FINAL
American Univ 54 FINAL
Navy 64
Elon 65 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 82
Wright State 76 FINAL
Oakland 84
Minnesota 58 FINAL
Penn State 63
Duquesne 55 FINAL
Richmond 86
South Florida 52
Hartford 66 FINAL
Stony Brook 72
Albany 47 FINAL
Vermont 44
Hofstra 79 FINAL
William & Mary 100
UNC-Asheville 74 FINAL
Longwood 64
Radford 84 FINAL
Char Southern 77
Holy Cross 0 Postponed
Loyola-Maryland 0
Duke 73 FINAL
Notre Dame 77
Texas Tech 36 FINAL
Oklahoma 81
Oregon State 55 FINAL
Arizona State 73
Morehead State 82 FINAL
Austin Peay 69
Drake 69 FINAL
Bradley 57
Lehigh 62 FINAL
Bucknell 68
Rice 48 FINAL
Houston 59
Missouri State 57 FINAL
Illinois State 67
Loyola-Chicago 47 FINAL
Wichita State 58
Nebraska Omaha 64 FINAL
South Dakota St 86
Northern Iowa 59 FINAL
Southern Ill 52
Louisville 81 FINAL
Boston College 72
St Johns 74 FINAL
Creighton 77
East Carolina 58 FINAL
Memphis 70
Georgia Tech 70 FINAL
Miami-Florida 50
Miss State 73 FINAL
Ole Miss 79
Clemson 68 FINAL
NC State 57
Indiana 67 FINAL
Purdue 83
Kansas 64 FINAL
TCU 61
Oregon 56 FINAL
Arizona 90
Air Force 66 FINAL
San Jose St 52
Stanford 84 FINAL
Washington 74
Rider 56 FINAL
Siena 49
Dayton 76 FINAL
Richmond 62
Eastern Kentucky 53 FINAL
Jacksonville St 73
Saint Josephs 0 Postponed
Saint Louis 0
Binghamton 55
Akron 60 FINAL
Ohio U 72
Ball State 72 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 55
Memphis 56 FINAL
Cincinnati 44
East Carolina 32 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 87
Murray State 59 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 75
Kent State 63 FINAL
Central Michigan 65
UT Martin 64 FINAL
Tennessee St 58
Eastern Michigan 56 FINAL
Western Mich 83
Bucknell 61 FINAL
Lehigh 76
Indiana 57 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Colgate 56 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Fordham 66 FINAL
Davidson 45
Duquesne 76 FINAL
St Bonaventure 64
George Mason 66 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 70
Detroit 59 FINAL
Youngstown St 58
Army 0 Postponed
Boston U 0
Loyola-Maryland 0 Postponed
Holy Cross 0
Tulsa 74
Oklahoma St 54 FINAL
Kansas State 52
West Virginia 57 FINAL
Texas Tech 73
Denver 56 FINAL
South Dakota 82
Northwestern St 46 FINAL
Central Arkansas 63
Austin Peay 67 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 87
Kansas 61 FINAL
Iowa State 56
Bowling Green 50 FINAL
Northern Ill 67
Penn State 64 FINAL
Minnesota 75
San Jose St 80 FINAL
Air Force 83
Boise State 82 FINAL
Colorado State 83
Utah State 51 FINAL
Wyoming 86
San Diego State 50 FINAL
Fresno State 57
Nevada 52 FINAL


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