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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Parise, Suter news conference today; Wild development camp starts today

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild off-season news Updated: July 9, 2012 - 7:31 AM

It's been five days since the Wild signed Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, and I'm still getting tweets from fans saying, "Was I dreaming?"

Nope. You weren't.

The Wild, honest to goodness, signed the top two free agents in the NHL for the grand sum of $196 million in long-term contracts. For the first time today, Parise will slip on his No. 11 sweater and Suter his No. 20 sweater in front of the cameras at a news conference down at Xcel Energy Center at noon CT.

The presser will be streamed live on www.startribune.com. It will also be live on KFAN (100.3-FM) and Fox Sports North.

I will be live from the arena on KFAN talking with Paul Allen about the Wild from 9-10 this morning.

If you missed our coverage the past few days, here are some links:

My story digging into the behind-the-scenes as to how the Wild signed Parise and Suter: 72 hours of pursuit, anxiety and elation

Mike Kaszuba's story on how the Wild must wait to see the payoff of its investment

Jim Souhan's column on the Wild's risk

And my story in today's paper on the start of Wild development camp

Camp starts today with physicals, fitness testing and a night out on Lake Minnetonka. On-ice sessions begin Tuesday.

Remember, if you want to see the prospects live and in action, the Wild will have two free, open-to-the-public scrimmages down at the X on Thursday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m.

Gate 1 will open 30 minutes prior to each scrimmage.

The Hockey Lodge will hold a Warehouse Sale inside Xcel Energy Center Gate 1 on Tuesday from 12 to 9 p.m., on Thursday from 3 p.m. until the end of the open scrimmage and on Sunday from 9 a.m. until the end of the open scrimmage. Items on sale will include player used equipment and autographed items along with apparel, headwear, novelty and collectible items.

And you can bet season tickets will be on sale, too.

Exciting times down at the X.

Also, if you didn't see Friday, the Wild signed offensive defenseman Brian Connelly of Bloomington to a two-year, two-way deal. He was the second-leading scorer among blue liners last year in the AHL.

Including four unsigned restricted free agent minor-leaguers, the Wild's now at 49 of a possible 50 contracts. My guess is eventually the Wild will do something (trade) to free up a couple contracts and salary-cap space (it's creeping up to a $70.2 million cap that will surely go down once a new collective bargaining agreeement is worked out between the NHL and NHLPA).

But GM Chuck Fletcher says he's in no hurry and not worried about it.

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