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 Operation: Urgent Fury

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild practice, Wild training camp Updated: October 2, 2011 - 1:07 PM

 

 

There's Wild coach Mike Yeo showing off his camouflage battle fatigues after today's intense, hour long practice at Xcel Energy Center. You should have seen him when he had his military helmet on and not a ball cap.

Looked like he was ready to go to battle.

Today, after practice, the Wild headed north for two days worth of practices and team bonding in Duluth.

First up: The team was heading into the Wisconsin woods for four hours of disciplines and exercises this afternoon with former Army Ranger and current motivational expert J.B. Spisso, who runsElite Leadership Training. Spisso also works with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and at West Point a few years ago, he had the Penguins rolling over Jeeps, repelling down cliffs and pushing Hummer's up hills.

"The first year we did it, it was crazy," Yeo said. "Then the next year we were like, 'It might not be a good idea to lose Sidney Crosby for three months because he got caught underneath a Jeep or something.'"

Yeo said Spisso's toned down the danger aspect, but he says Spisso has spent a lot of time thinking about this one and Spisso thinks it's the best one he's ever done.

The Wild will be staying at a resort north of Duluth, having a couple team dinners, a golf tournament tomorrow and of course, two practices, which as they say, is integral.

"I think it's going to be a fun couple days," said playmaker/golf superstar Pierre-Marc Bouchard.

Everybody had their golf clubs lined up outside the locker room so they could be loaded onto the truck. The only one who didn't? Nick Johnson. He didn't think it would be a good idea to show up in the Columbus dressing room carrying his hockey equipment bag and golf clubs.

I thought it would have been awesome, like when Roger Dorn from Major League showed up for the first day of spring training with his golf clubs.

I'll write more in Monday's paper what's in store for this trip and what the team hopes to get out of it.

Hopefully you pick up today's paper and read my Devin Setoguchi personality profile. Some good stuff in there. You can also read it online if you're a subscriber. Otherwise you have to wait until Wednesday, so go out and scoop up a coupon-filled Sunday Strib.

Also, here's today's story on Eric Nystrom visited Taylor Fedun in the hospital and what he had to say to some Twitter bashers.

Couple other items:

-- Matt Cullen and Jared Spurgeon, who missed the final three preseason games with injuries, practiced today.

-- Cal Clutterbuck didn't practice today with a groin strain, but Yeo hopes he'll skate tomorrow in Duluth.

-- Mike Lundin will start the season on injured reserve because of back spasms that have kept him off the ice all of camp.

-- Matt Kassian practiced today in a yellow "Do Not Think About Touching" jersey.

-- Dany Heatley wanted me to make sure to remind you about "Wisco's domination over Nebraska last night and what happened to the Gophs."

-- Eric Nystrom hasn't been given the all-clear yet in terms of league discipline for the icing incident Friday. That should likely come tomorrow because Brendan Shanahan may not be able to talk to both Nystrom and Fedun today. The league normally doesn't put out statements or videos when it doesn't suspend a player, but if Nystrom is given no sentence like sources tell me the league is leaning toward, I'd suspect a league statement in this case.

Talk to you tomorrow from Duluth.

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