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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Wild, still optimistic after Thursday's opener, prepares for the Anaheim Ducks

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild practice Updated: October 4, 2013 - 2:06 PM

Afternoon from the X, where scrappy Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau is currently below on the ice surface putting Teemu Selanne, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and the rest of the Anaheim gang through a practice.

The Wild coaches are in the stands watching. The Ducks coaches, including some goalie coach who looks strangely like Dwayne Roloson, did the same during Minnesota's workout.

Painful start to practice. You know how coaches ask players to "pay the price." Well, the coaches apparently do, too.

Andrew Brunette, who once upon a time -- actually in two different stints -- wore a Wild sweater, took a puck to the chin immediately at the start of practice. Afterward, Bruno emerged with a chin the size of Jay Leno's, four stitches on the inside of his mouth and eight on the outside.

“I’ve had enough stitches to stitch a baseball in my career. I thought when I retired, ‘That’s it,’” Brunette said.

The Wild moved on with practice without Brunette and Yeo put the Wild through battle drills and execution drills. They worked on the "little things."

Charlie Coyle, who had a solid game at junctures, also had some young mistakes. On Jeff Carter's tying goal, he was walked in the neutral zone and then was slow to get into the zone and pick up Carter.

Coyle took a swan dive on the knife today and basically said if he picks up his guy, the Wild maybe wins 2-1.

Still, the atmosphere was good Friday after playing well Thursday.

Yeo was real happy with guys like Kyle Brodziak, who had a stellar game (probably would have loved to bury that goal with a minute left), and Mikael Granlund, who assisted on both Wild goals, was often first or second in on the forecheck, blocked two shots and drew a power play that could have won the game in the final minutes.

"He maturing in a lot of ways," Yeo said.

Niklas Backstrom will start vs. the Ducks. Yeo wouldn't say yet if Matt Dumba will make his NHL debut. Clayton Stoner played well yesterday alongside Keith Ballard and Jonas Brodin played well and scored a goal on the second power-play unit.

My gut though is Dumba plays for Stoner. I just get the sense that the Wild doesn't want to have Dumba sitting for long. At some point you want him to debut and probably at home, not on the road. Plus, I think the team flew in Dumba's folks for these games.

Everybody practiced today. Yeo admitted the top line looked tired late in yesterday's game, but he also said so did L.A.'s top line and those are "heavy, hard minutes" when you go head to head vs. Anze Kopitar.

If you want to get a laugh, I was pretty surly on Twitter today with some folks. Go take a gander. Just seems to be silly season on Twitter and some of the comments got to me.

It's one game folks, a game in which the Wild outplayed one of the best teams in the league for the majority of it.

Just an fyi: I put out a tweet last night that had an error with Year 1/4 salary/bonuses for Jason Pominville's contract.

The correct numbers are:
2014-15 $6 M
2015-16 $5.75 M
2016-17 $6.25 M
2017-18 $5 M
2018-19 $5 M
 

Frankly though, unless you're Craig Leipold, you don't need to care about those numbers. The one that matters is his salary-cap hit, $5.6 million, which is the average of the contract -- $28 million by five years.

Again, GM Chuck Fletcher said the Pominville deal doesn't inhibit the Wild from re-signing its own players or pursuing other free agents.

OK, need to run and get Selanne for a story.

Talk to you after Saturday's morning skate.

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Houston 23 FINAL
Pittsburgh 30
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 98 FINAL
Cleveland 107
New Orleans 88 FINAL
Washington 84
Milwaukee 120 FINAL
New York 107
Philadelphia 88 FINAL
Brooklyn 99
Charlotte 114 FINAL
Atlanta 117
Sacramento 99 FINAL
San Antonio 106
Memphis 103 FINAL
Dallas 108
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Arkansas State 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg

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