Russo's Rants Logo


Russo's Rants

Michael Russo gives you complete coverage of the Minnesota Wild and the NHL

Wild looks to rebound from Tuesday's loss tonight vs. Arizona

Wild and Arizona Coyotes tonight at Xcel Energy Center.

The Wild has a 13-game point streak against the Western Conference (11-0-2). The Wild, which has only lost consecutive games in regulation once this season (Nov. 1 and 5), will try to avoid that. It’s coming off its second regulation loss since Nov. 29 (17-2-2) after blowing two third-period one-goal leads Tuesday against New Jersey.

Seems impossible but the Wild is 9-1-2 in its past 12 meetings against Arizona, including a current nine-game point streak (7-0-2). Yet, it’s 5-6-1 in its past 12 games with Arizona at Xcel Energy Center

I'll be on KFAN with Dan Barreiro at 5:15 p.m.

If you missed it, here's my Mikael Granlund feature from today's paper. I talked to John Torchetti for the story because I wanted to remind myself why he moved Granlund to wing. He was also so good talking about the Wild, I'll make my Sunday column on the former Wild interim coach.

Coyotes blew a 2-1 lead in Winnipeg last night and lost 6-3. Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, whom Dave Tippett lit up like a Christmas tree earlier this season after the Coyotes lost to Minnesota, was a minus-FIVE.

They have lost 12 of 14 starting with that Minnesota loss Dec. 17.

This is Arizona's fifth game in seven days, so the opportunity is there for the Wild to rebound from its loss to New Jersey the other night.

Mike Reilly got the recall with Jonas Brodin out at least a month with a broken finger on his right hand.

Reilly, who played last night for Iowa, won't play tonight though. Nate Prosser will play left D, maybe with Matt Dumba. That's the way it was paired in today's optional skate.

Bruce Boudreau would only say Marco Scandella won't take Brodin's spot on the power play, so that must mean he'll go with a forward. Without practice, one can assume the only forward that would fit that role is Jason Pominville. You're not tossing a Granlund or Jason Zucker in that spot without practicing there first.

I'd assume Boudreau revamps the lines tonight after Zach Parise, Eric Staal and Pominville were on for all three third-period goals the other night. Unable to give you what they'll be yet though because Eric Staal and Charlie Coyle missed practice yesterday and the team has an optional today.

If it were me, I'd return Nino Niederreiter and Coyle to Staal's flanks and go with a third line of Parise, Erik Haula and Pominville or Jordan Schroeder.

The latter may make the most sense after Pominville's game the other night vs. New Jersey. Plus, the way Schroeder has teed up Chris Stewart, maybe he can do the same for Parise, who has no points in the past four games despite the Wild having 18 goals in that span.

"I've been known to tinker in the past," Boudreau said. "We will look at it and we'll see what was happening. [The Staal line] all acknowledged that they could be better. We will see how it goes."

As for Reilly, Boudreau said Iowa coach Derek Lalonde said he was playing the best and GM Chuck Fletcher, who attended last night's Iowa game, confirmed that fact.

Interestingly, Reilly played nine games for the Wild, which went 4-4-1 in those games. His last game was the overtime loss to Dallas on Nov. 21. The Wild beat Winnipeg the next game and is 19-3-3 since the last time he was in Minnesota's lineup.

Boudreau agreed Reilly was pretty erratic back then, but "at the beginning of the year we were erratic too, so when he made a mistake it was probably blown a little bit more out of proportion than it actually was.

"I don't think he had the confidence. One of the reasons he got sent down was to build the confidence. He has been playing really well, so he's coming up here probably a different player."

And, that's what Reilly said.

“The team has been doing better down there and that always helps," he said. "Just rounding out the game, I’ve been getting a lot of minutes, that always helps. I get to play in every situation where realistically, I probably wouldn’t be in those situations up here, at least right away. It’s good to get those reps.”

Reilly has four goals and 15 points, including two power-play goals and 71 shots, in 29 games with Iowa this season.

With Brodin out, Reilly will get in and probably play consistently at some point.

"You never want to wish an injury on anyone, especially when a guy works hard and is a great person, hate to see that," Reilly said. "But obviously it creates an opportunity. Just try to come here and play my game and I guess, build on what I did in the beginning of the year at least when I was up here and try to bring my game from down there up to here a little bit.

"Obviously, I probably won’t be in as many situations, just come to work every single day and listen to Scott [Stevens] and tonight watch the game and get better and just take some mental notes from it.”

On the Wild's hot streak, Reilly said, "It’s been pretty cool to follow, the talk of the league for sure. Definitely been playing some good hockey, and the atmosphere in the locker room seems to be pretty good.”

Wild's Brodin expected to miss up to a month with broken finger

Update: As I reported last night, Mike Reilly has been recalled.

One of the Wild's biggest strengths is its mobile blue line, but that group suffered a big blow Tuesday night when Jonas Brodin broke a finger.

He had an appointment with a hand specialist Wednesday at noon. While the Wild didn't provide the extent of Brodin's injury after Wednesday's practice, GM Chuck Fletcher said he expects Brodin will be out at least a few weeks, but he doesn't know if the timetable's two or three weeks or four or six.

Maybe things change after the appointment, but sources are telling me that before the appointment, the team was expecting he'd miss four weeks and shouldn't need surgery. Even with the All-Star break, this will be a good chunk of games with the condensed schedule coming up.

Brodin, 23, the 10th overall pick in the 2011 draft, has scored three goals and 16 points in 43 games. Big bounceback year after a seven-point season a year ago, and frankly, the Wild's defense always has taken a turn for the worse without Brodin.

He's the epitome of you don't know what you've got until it's missing.

In the short-term, coach Bruce Boudreau said veteran Nate Prosser will probably draw into the lineup Thursday against the Arizona Coyotes, but Boudreau planned to call Iowa coach Derek Lalonde this afternoon to seek his recommendation for a callup.

One would think the Wild will recall one of left-shot Mike Reilly or Gustav Olofsson. By now you know the scouting reports: If the Wild wants a speedy thoroughbred with offensive upside and to take Brodin's spot on the power play, Reilly makes sense. If the Wild wants a safer, more defensively responsible player to take Brodin's spot, Olofsson makes sense.

We shall see.

It was interesting that Brodeau said, "I don't know what position [Prosser's] going to play yet, but he’ll probably play."

If he plays the right side, that would mean the callup's also likely playing the left side and he's thinking of sitting a right-shot D -- Matt Dumba or Christian Folin.

We shall see.

On Brodin, Boudreau said, "He’s a good player, so it’s a big loss if he’s out any time. But good teams persevere in this. We don’t fold like an accordion. Somebody else gets into the lineup and he’s got to do just as good."

Boudreau said it's foolish to compare Prosser and Brodin because they're completely different players.

"It’s a chance," Boudreau said for Prosser, who has been scratched six games in a row and nine of the past 10. "Pross is a hard-working guy that's been doing the same job for two or three years now. Brods is a power-play guy, a penalty-killing guy and everything else. He’s a special guy, but Pross is going to get in there, whether it's left side, right side or center ice, he’s going to do a good job."

Boudreau reminded he has had no problem with Prosser, that it's just that the Wild has seven good defensemen and he felt Folin needed to play consistently to get his game back on track.

As for the loss to New Jersey -- the Wild's second in regulation since Nov. 29, Boudreau said reviewing the video, the Wild played a solid first 35 minutes and things turned when the Devils scored their power-play goal late in the second.

"Third period was a train wreck," Boudreau said.

Most disconcerting, Boudreau said, is the fact the Wild's typically such a good 5-on-5 defensive team.

Eric Staal and Charlie Coyle didn't practice today, but they were walking around fine and Boudreau said they're fine. Boudreau did indicate he met with a "few" members of the Staal line, which could be any couple of Zach Parise, Staal, Coyle and Jason Pominville.

I'm fairly certain Pominville was one of the "few."

"The whole team saw the video session,but there were stars of the video, and it wasn’t them necessarily, but there were individual stars," Boudreau said.

Also, a couple other tidbits.

He'd like to see more from Tyler Graovac, who has three goals and no assists this season and one point in the past 26 games.

"He does an adequate job for the position he’s in right now," Boudreau said.

I once was told that an article I wrote on Mitch Richmond was "adequate."

I didn't take it as a compliment.

But Boudreau said Graovac "works hard, he’s a young guy, he’s getting better all the time. It's something you have to be patient with. His time will come."

Also, Erik Haula scored last night. Boudreau hasn't been delighted with his game lately.

"Haulz can bring more, but maybe that goal was a stepping stone yesterday for confidence," Boudreau said.

Hell's Kitchen tonight, 6 p.m., Russo-Souhan Show. Be there or be square

TV Listings

Local Schedule

< >
  • Arizona at Wild

    7 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Timberwolves at L.A. Clippers

    9:30 pm on TNT, 830-AM

  • Gophers men's hockey at Wisconsin

    7 pm on FSN, 1500-AM

  • Ohio State at Gophers women's hockey

    7:07 pm

  • Gophers women's basketball at Iowa

    2 pm

  • Ohio State at Gophers women's hockey

    2:07 pm

  • Wisconsin at Gophers men's basketball

    3:30 pm on BTN, 1500-AM

  • Gophers men's hockey at Wisconsin

    5 pm on FSN, 1500-AM

  • Anaheim at Wild

    8 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Denver at Timberwolves

    6 pm on FSN, 830-AM

  • Nashville at Wild

    7 pm on FSN PLUS, 100.3-FM

  • Wild at Dallas

    7:30 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Timberwolves at Phoenix

    8 pm on FSN PLUS, 830-AM

  • Gophers men's basketball at Ohio State

    6 pm on BTN, 1500-AM

Poll: How certain are you that the Wild's success is for real?

See more polls

Today's Scoreboard

No MLB games today

No NFL games today

  • Phoenix


    6:00 PM

  • Dallas


    6:30 PM

  • Washington

    New York

    7:00 PM


  • Denver

    San Antonio

    7:30 PM

  • Minnesota

    LA Clippers

    9:30 PM


  • Ottawa


    6:00 PM

  • Dallas

    NY Islanders

    6:00 PM

  • NY Rangers


    6:30 PM

  • Arizona


    7:00 PM


  • Washington

    St. Louis

    7:00 PM

  • Nashville


    8:00 PM

  • Colorado


    9:00 PM

  • Tampa Bay

    San Jose

    9:30 PM

No MLS games today