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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Mikko Lehtonen signs in KHL

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild off-season news Updated: May 4, 2011 - 9:44 AM

Mikko Lehtonen, the Boston Bruins draft pick the Wild acquired along with Jeff Penner for Anton Khudobin at the trade deadline, has reportedly agreed to terms with Severstal Cherepovets of Russia's Kontinental Hockey League.

Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher confirmed that Lehtonen's agent has informed him Lehtonen has signed in the KHL. The Wild is still interested in signing Lehtonen and technically could, but all signs point toward Lehtonen playing in Russia next season.

Lehtonen scored 66 points in the Swedish Elite League last season, leading the league with 33 goals.

By the way, I'll be on 1500ESPN at 6:15 tonight.

Everything else is quiet. Wild management returns tonight after being out of town in meetings. I'd assume afterward, the coaching search begins to take shape.

I can tell you Florida, Dallas, New Jersey and Ottawa are all in "assemble the list" mode just like the Wild.

Florida and Dallas have met with no one so far, and to give you an example, I've talked to seven coaches who will almost certainly be candidates in a number of places in the coming weeks, and none of the coaches has heard from any team yet.

Teams aren't rushing right now. Dallas has to wait for ownership to clear up, Florida hasn't met with anyone because GM Dale Tallon has been scouting in Europe for three weeks, Ottawa GM Bryan Murray's been in Denver and New Jersey appears to be waiting for Ken Hitchcock to return from worlds to talk to him.

Anyway, hope you've been enjoying the NHL postseason. Makes you appreciate what you're missing when you see hockey played at its finest. The games have been awesome. Overtimes in 14 of the past 15 nights? Incredible.

Later

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