This is Michael Russo's 18th year covering the National Hockey League. He's covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005 following 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. Michael 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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Take 2. Yep, lost most the first blog. I hit save, but my hotel Internet expired and reset. Like usual, I handled it quite well other than my right hand feels like John Madden's did when he collided with Nick Schultz the other day in Tampa.
I may have to type only lefty tonight.
Coming to you from the 56th floor of my hotel at the Renaissance Center, which is part of GM headquarters. I hear GM had a good day yesterday. I hear that because I witnessed about 500 GM employees celebrating in the GM Wintergarden last night. I just spent some time actually in the motor lobby looking at some of the new GM cars coming out.
As you know, I'm not the biggest fan of coming to this city, but one of the coolest sightsfrom the very top of this hotel is watching the massive barges make their way down the Detroit River. In fact, I just walked most the Riverwalk to nearly the Ambassador Bridge, which takes you over to Windsor, Ontario -- hometown of Ed Jovanovski.
I accidentally drove across that bridge last year when I missed my exit. I handled that well, too. Detroit River, I believe, is part of the St. Lawrence route to the Atlantic. Connects Lake Erie with Lake St. Clair.
There's your Detroit 101 schooling of the day.
Sooooooooo, anyhoo, Wild visits the Joe tonight, which hasn't been cleaned since Wild assistant to the GM Jim Mill attended the first-ever game there in 1922, I mean 1979. Sorry Jim.
I do love going down there though because some national writers live here that I rarely get to see. Sporting News' Craig Custance and Yahoo's newest hockey writer, Nick Cotsonika, the old Red Wings' and Lions' writer for the Detroit Free Press, were down there working on Wild stories today.
The Red Wings, folks, may once again be the best team in the league. They're just awesome, and riding high (8-1-1 at home, winners of four straight, nobody major hurt, which means they're scary good). Combine that with the fact that the Wild seems to be blinded by the red seats or something, and this could be an interesting one to say the least tonight.
Brent Burns will make his way back into the lineup after a two-game suspension, which should help. Marco Scandella plays Game No. 4. Todd Richards was funny talking about the shock and awe that may happen tonight with Scandella: "You have to respect your opponents, but you can't be asking for autographs while lined up across from them."
The Red Wings are star-studded. As Mike Greenlay tweeted today (@pulledgoalie), Detroit's career goals add up to 2,704. Points add up to 7,094. Six players with 200 or more goals, three with 100 or more.
Speaking of Burns, I'll put this in the paper tomorrow or Sunday, but he talked with Florida's Steve Bernier before and after his surgery, which says everything about Burns' genuine remorse for the unintentional butt-end a week ago today.
Jose Theodore starts in goal tonight, Nik Backstrom starts in goal vs. red-hot Derek Boogaard and the Rangers tomorrow. Theodore had us fooled this morning. Normally starting goalies take shots from the defensemen at the end of skates, but Theodore switched sides and took shots from the forwards.
I'll ask him about it next week. He doesn't talk on game mornings. I'll write a Boogaard/Marian Gaborik returns story tomorrow. Some fun stuff in there.
Lastly, and I wanted to make mention of this very sad news, but remember that 3-on-3 NHL tournament I blogged about before the season at Velocity in Eden Prairie? It was for charity to benefit Team Bisch in support of former Gopher Grant Bischoff's wife, Jackie Bischoff, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer.
Jackie has passed away. She leaves four children under 15. Her oldest, Jake, will be a sophomore on Grand Rapids' hockey team.
"She battled hard for six months and will be greatly missed as a mom, coach and teacher," said Ben Hankinson, Grant Bischoff's former roommate and teammate.
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