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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Bulmer to make NHL debut tonight for Wild

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild pregame skate Updated: October 8, 2011 - 1:48 PM

Good afternoon. It's officially Opening Night!

Hopefully you checked out today's Mike Yeo feature. Here's the link. Some real good stuff in there.

Here's the notebook, where Todd Richards compares the Wild to the ex-girlfriend you'd hate to bump into

Brett Bulmer, the 19-year-old 2010 second-rounder that came out of nowhere to make the Wild, will make his NHL debut tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

I've covered scores of NHLers make their debuts, and he had to be one of the calmest. He's a potential Academy Award winner, or he was fairly at ease as he'll play on the third line with Cal Clutterbuck and Kyle Brodziak.

Bulmer said his parents, Lance and Sharon, will be the "two happiest parents" in the arena tonight, and his one younger brother and one older brother will be back home in Prince George watching on the tube.

I'd think Yeo will have no problem going top line vs. top line tonight, but if the third line gets shifts against Rick Nash, pay attention to see if the brash Bulmer and Nash clash. (That's bad writing even for me).

In the previous exhibition game in Columbus, Bulmer, who loves getting underneath the skin of opposing stars, did just that with Nash and took a wicked two-hander in the game from the Jackets captain. Nash did the same thing last night to Ryan Suter, so you know you're doing your job if you make Nash react like that.

"I want to get him in there," coach Mike Yeo said of Bulmer. In other words, I wouldn't expect a lot of managing of his ice time tonight by Yeo. Yeo has confidence in the kid, and the kid will play.

Justin Falk and Matt Kassian, who should be taken off injured reserve after the game, will be the scratches tonight. Yeo said he probably would have thought about playing Kassian if Boll was playing for Columbus.

The news from Columbus: Steve Mason, who lost Opening Night, will get the nod again. Rookie Ryan Johansen, who will be a stud for a long time, will be scratched. Watch faceoffs tonight. Jeff Carter won a franchise-record 24 last night for the Jax.

Prior to the game, the Wild will honor Derek Boogaard and Pavol Demitra with a video. Both former Wild players died this offseason.

Tonight, if you want to hear/see some Wild talk and you're at/not at the game, I'll be on KFAN by Gate 2 at 5:45 p.m., Fox Sports North just inside Gate 1 at 6:30 p.m. And I'll be on the Blue Jackets radio network during the first intermission.

I've been told believe it or not I'm talking in some pregame video just before 7 on the Jumbotron, too. I'm thinking I must have said something positive.

At some point, I should probably write for the paper too. Overexposed, I know.

Big opener for the Wild tonight. They've won nine in a row in home openers, but with consecutive road games coming up to Long Island and fiery Ottawa, Wild needs to start off on the right note.

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