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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John Torchetti to be named Houston Aeros coach today

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild coaching, Wild off-season news Updated: July 5, 2011 - 9:34 AM

 

 

 
I thought this picture was so funny during the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals, I took a shot of it. Doesn’t come across great in my old Blackberry camera, but before the series I was chatting with then-Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach John Torchetti in the little hallway leading to the Blackhawks room.
 
We talked for 20 minutes, and the entire time “Torch” was playing doorman for the media. Opening and closing, opening and closing. It was just a funny scene.
 
If you’ve read me since I arrived in Minnesota in 2005, you’ve often seen mentions of John Torchetti, either when I headed to Chicago along with the Wild or later to Atlanta. I’ve occasionally mentioned his name as a potential candidate either when the Wild’s job has been open or the Houston Aeros’ job.
 
Well, get ready to read a lot more about Torchetti. He’s the new Aeros’ coach – replacing Wild coach Mike Yeo.
 
Torchetti, who turns 47 on Saturday, comes to the Wild after serving last season as associate coach with the Thrashers. Before that, he was an assistant in Chicago since 2007.
 
He’s got 15 years of pro coaching experience, spending time in the ECHL, CHL (Coach of the Year in 1995 in San Antonio), IHL (Coach of the Year in 1998 in Fort Wayne), AHL and NHL, and was also a minor-league general manager.
 
He’s been an assistant also in Tampa Bay and Florida. He was also interim head coach with the Panthers in 2003-04 and Los Angeles Kings in 2005-06.
 
He’s a former minor-league goal scorer who got his career started playing for Rick Dudley for the old Atlantic Coast League’s Carolina Thunderbirds in the mid-80s. Dudley used to drive the buses and Torchetti would sit in the front seat and stay up every night ‘til 3 or 4 in the morning talking hockey and life with Dudley. They’ve been tight ever since.
 
When Wild assistant GM Brent Flahr ran the San Antonio minor-league franchise for Florida, Torchetti was the head coach and they became good friends.
 
Torchetti is a guy who worked for free in his first coaching job in Greensboro. On the side, he drove a taxi to earn a living. He hails from Northeast and has the thickest Boston accent you’ve ever heard, so get ready for that.
 
That’s it for the news right now. Wild’s very close to signing their restricted free agents for those asking and the development camp roster will be out soon.

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