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.

Burnzie, Schultzie, Bruno, teammates tear it up for good cause

Posted by: Michael Russo under Vikings, Wild off-season news Updated: September 2, 2010 - 2:13 PM

Good afternoon from the mothership -- Star Tribune headquarters, where people always know something's up when I actually walk in the building. It's just so rare.

Typically it's just a meeting with the editors, but today it was laptop issues.

Better now than Opening Night, which happened to me last year in Columbus when my laptop was hit by the same nasty virus I got today. Luckily, the crack Blue Jackets PR staff hooked me up with a laptop and IT guy, making what could have been a nightmare into a very slight blip (other than the awful game story I wrote after not watching half the game).

The office has been pretty quiet -- the calm before the storm with the Twins and Vikings playing downtown tonight at the same time. Chip and Judd have been hard at work chatting with Star Tribune readers, Kent Youngblood's been on the phone working stories and it only took me two hours to install a printer to print out my expense report.

Not kidding.

Last night, I drove out to Eden Prairie to Velocity Hockey Center to watch the 3-on-3 tournament organized by Octagon Player Agency. Very fun time, with the red team beating the white team 22-21. Red was led by Wild players Brent Burns, Nick Schultz, Cal Clutterbuck and Cam Barker. Burns spent the night showing off with a ton of sweet plays. Schultz was scoring on breakaways and dekes.

In fact, there was a beautiful 2-on-0 between Burns and Schultz -- a scenario we probably won't see a lot once the Wild get started. Coach Todd Richards loves his defensemen getting involved in the offense, but a Burns-Schultz 2-on-0 might even be too much for the coach nicknamed inside the locker room, "Moose."

Chris McAlpine, the former player, now agent, was named Red MVP by Burns. He paraded a garbage can around the rink when it was over. McAlpine scored a really nice goal off a Schultz feed, swung and missed on a slap shot after Keith Ballard sneakily slashed his stick from the white bench, nearly decapitated a small child with his blade after the broken stick, jokingly snapped at colleague Ben Hankinson when the white team coach gave himself the authority to wave off a late red goal and most impressively, didn't accidentally tweet his cell phone number like he did last year.

Hankinson was hilarious, wearing a golf shirt, shorts and sandles while coaching, screaming at his players and yelling at goalie Cory Schneider that he wanted him to get more involved with the offense and "a good night for you will be four assists."

The white team had guys like Andrew Brunette, Ballard, Paul Martin, Dustin Byfuglien, Matt Carle, Stephane Veilleux and Mark Stuart. Martin and Ballard were awesome. Brunette had about 10 points. In fact, you've got to love 3-on-3 because during one sequence, Ballard and Brunette combined for three goals in like 30 seconds.

You know it's hockey season when I'm roaming a postgame locker room from a charity game. Ballard was jokingly heckling me, but as I told him, I waited the mandatory five-minute "cooling off" period. So, no angry, outspoken quotes from anybody. The white team cooled off by the time I got in there.

The event was for a great cause. Proceeds benefit Team Bisch, in support of Cohasset Elementary Kindergarten Teacher, Jackie Bischoff, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer.

I'm told 225 tickets were sold, raising over $5,500. The highest game-worn jersey auctioned off was Big Buff's, which went for $225.

Just a really fun event down there. Tons of kids, who had a great time watching and getting autographs from their favorite players.

That's really about it. Things will be cranking up soon as Sept. 17 training camp opening fast approaches.

Really cool Nick Schultz mailbag is on wild.com. My favorite question is the last one from some guy named Kris, who resides in Schultz's tiny hometown of Strasbourg, Saskatchewan. Same spelling as Nick Schultz's brother, Kris, strangely enough.

  • 20
  • Comments

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

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

ADVERTISEMENT