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Russo's Rants

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

Koivu, Parise, Suter model Wild's new outdoor game sweaters

Outdoor games are old hat for the Chicago Blackhawks, but the Wild threw out all the bells and whistles earlier today when the organization unveiled its uniform for the Stadium Series game Feb. 21 at TCF Bank Stadium.

On the ice in front of a large throng of media and team employees, captain Mikko Koivu and alternate captains Zach Parise and Ryan Suter modeled them in front of the penalty boxes.

“Really cool,” Parise said of his impressions. “In a good way, they’re plain. I think they’re sharp. They have a really good look to it. I really like it.”

I’m no fashion guru, but in my best attempt to describe them with help from the press release, the jersey’s crest features the Wild logo and the colors are primarily Forest Green with Iron Range Red and Minnesota Wheat accents.

On the shoulder is the State of Hockey logo, the first time that has ever appeared on a Wild sweater. The new ligature “M” logo is on the left side of the pant. There are also enlarged numbers on the sleeves and back that are scaled for greater visibility in the stadium setting.

“I really like the jersey's classic look, the addition of the State of Hockey Logo and the ‘M’ mark to our uniform,” said Koivu. “It'’s an exciting step towards our first outdoor game, which is going to be a great celebration for our fans and the entire State of Hockey.”

Added Suter, “I think it’s cool. Like Mikko said, it’s traditional, big numbers. It’s just something different and I think it’ll look nice on the ice. … My son just brought home his jersey for his team now, and he’s pumped about it just like we are.”

The Blackhawks have played in three outdoor games, including two Winter Classics. Wild players are starting to get excited even though the game is three months away.

“It’ll be fun,” Suter said. “[The Blackhawks] have done it before. We haven’t. It’s all new to us. It’ll be different with the weather, the ice, the sun, who knows, but it’ll be a great experience. Everyone in the locker room is looking forward to it.

“Hopefully it’s not too cold.”

Added Parise, “I guess I don’t really know what to expect, and [Ryan Carter, Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville who have played in them before] all have said how the buildup is a lot of fun. But as far as the game, it’ll be a little weird with the dynamic of the football field and the different sounds, but I think it’ll be an exciting time playing in front of 50,000.”
Per the release, the jersey along with a full line of apparel and novelty items will be available for purchase at all Hockey Lodge locations starting on Wednesday. Fans can also purchase the jerseys at, the official online store of the NHL®.  
The overarching design direction for this year's Coors Light NHL Stadium Series™ jerseys focused on boldness, uniqueness and simplicity to create recognizable visuals at a greater distance. Designers focused on details that were unique to each participating team's identity and fan base to create iconic designs. The Wild's NHL Stadium Series™ jersey was designed by Reebok in partnership with the Wild and the NHL. The 2016 NHL Stadium Series™ Alumni Game uniform will be unveiled at a later date.
A limited number of ticket packages to the 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series™ game and the NHL Stadium Series™ Alumni Game at TCF Bank Stadium are on sale now at and, the official ticket marketplace of the NHL®. The ticket package consists of one ticket to the 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series™ game on Sunday, Feb. 21 and one ticket to the 2016 NHL Stadium Series™ Alumni Game on Saturday, Feb. 20 - both to be held at TCF Bank Stadium.

Here is the Chicago sweaters

In Wild practice news,

Marco Scandella (lower body) didn’t practice and is likely unavailable to play the next three games, coach Mike Yeo said.

Ryan Carter practiced and will play Wednesday against Vancouver after spending five hours in Dr. Edlund’s dentist chair. He had a root canal, lost one tooth and will need another pulled. He had several stitches in his lower lip but none in the upper because of “the power of the mustache. Must have blocked it.”

I did a big feature on him tomorrow.

The Wild also recalled Kurtis Gabriel and reassigned Brett Bulmer. The Canucks have gotten into 10 fights, tied for third in the NHL, so Yeo alluded to that being the reason.

"They've got a physical team," Yeo said. "Based on our opponent or based on what we think we need for a certain night, we'll make those switches."

Yeo felt Bulmer played well, saying he's looking faster and he's getting used to the pace in the NHL.

Also Tuesday, the Wild was the 17th-most valuable NHL franchise at $380 million in Forbes’ annual list of annual valuations of NHL teams. The New York Rangers are the most valuable NHL franchise at $1.2 billion, taking the top spot on the Forbes list for the first time since 2004. Montreal is second at $1.18 million followed by Toronto at $1.15 million. The least valuable is the Florida Panthers at $190 million.

Reminder, 3 p.m. Wednesday at Tom Reid's, Jim Souhan and I will be taping our next podcast. Come on by.


Fontaine returns to practice; Parise still sitting out


Justin Fontaine, who has missed the past nine games with a sprained MCL, practiced for the first time since being injured Oct. 30 against Chicago.

He got more than he bargained for today because he suddenly was thrust into full line rushes and all the drills. That's because Ryan Carter left practice early after being struck in the face by a puck that deflected off the crossbar. Lots of blood. Carter headed straight to the dentist for some dental work. I was told he had some chipped teeth, but perhaps it was worse.

"I don’t know if they’re chipped or completely gone," coach Mike Yeo said. "He had a few less than he had this morning."

I'm doing a big Carter feature for Wednesday's paper. Luckily I interviewed him ... when he could still talk (bad joke). Hopefully this errant puck didn't ruin the Movember captain's stache.

Back to Fontaine, who may have the best 'Mo on the team, in a moment.

Zach Parise, who has missed the past seven games with a sprained MCL, did not practice and I'm guessing won't for a bit. Yeo said he's doubtful for the rest of the homestand, which ends Saturday against Dallas.

As I wrote Saturday, Parise just didn't look himself during Saturday's morning skate. He didn't look like he could do the things he wanted to do out there. I wouldn't call this is a setback because he was back skating way ahead of the month timetable I believe he was originally given. So I don't even think Parise expected to feel 100 percent.

"He clearly wasn’t feeling 100 percent [Saturday], so we’ll just take things slowly," Yeo said. "[Tuesday] he’ll skate with Andy [Ness] again and see where he's at . We’re not panicking here by any means. I was shocked that he was on the ice with us, -- well not shocked knowing him, but we weren’t sitting around thinking that he’d be in the lineup for us Wednesday."

Marco Scandella (lower body), who has missed the past two games, also didn't practice.

Fontaine is on Long-Term Injury right now, so he's ineligible to play Wednesday (10 games and 24 days in the minimum) because he has only missed nine games. But I can't imagine he'd be able to play by Wednesday anyway after being out so long. So, likely same lineup vs. the Canucks as long as Carter is OK.

Fontaine called today a good first step. Yeo said he definitely wasn't game ready, "but we'll see how he progresses through the week."

As for getting so much work today because of Carter's abrupt absence, Yeo said, "That was good for Fonzie though. That’s the only way we’re going to get him back is to get him in there and get him reps. Skating on your own without contact in controlled situations is one thing. You start getting out there and you have to read and react and challenge yourself a little more physically than what you’re used to, that’s how you get closer to returning."

The Wild could use Fontaine back if for no other reason than the penalty kill. Before last game, the Wild's penalty kill was successful 84.2 percent of the time with him in the lineup, 67.9 percent without him.

"He’s a very smart player and he’s a versatile player and he’s a player that helps us in a lot of areas," Yeo said. "He’s responsible defensively, can contribute offensively, can fill-in in offensive roles when you need him to and can complement offensive players."

Fontaine said his knee feels stable and it's just a matter of getting used to the brace. On that knee-on-knee hit by Chicago's Andrew Desjardins, Fontaine said he hasn't thought too much about it.

"I definitely got out of the lane and he kind of lunged," Fontaine said. "I got the worst of it for sure missing this much time."

Good win over Nashville the other night. Now the Wild must build on this. I just ran into Lonnie from Wild Xtra in the St. Paul skyway system and as he reminded me, it was this week that kinda sorta started the Wild's skid last season.

He's exactly right. Starting Nov. 22, the Wild got into a win-one/lose-one pattern for 10 consecutive games before dropping 12 of 14 games (2-8-4) between Dec. 16 and Jan. 13.

Yeo said building its game starts with taking advantage of Monday and Tuesday practices.

"We just have to keep building our game," Yeo said. "Results are important and we have to make sure we keep getting them. There were lessons that we learned in some areas that I think helped us when we lost a couple games and sharpened our focus heading into our last game. We can’t now all of a sudden get soft in those areas or other areas of our game just because we won one game.

"That’s not what good teams do. You put the pedal down. We should feel pretty good and build some confidence off the way we played last game, but there's still some areas we have to be sharper at, that’s for sure."

I did ask Yeo about how tough it is for NHL teams to use their backups right now. We saw the other night Pekka Rinne started consecutive games, the second of which was against the Wild. Devan Dubnyk will start his 12th consecutive start Wednesday against Vancouver.

"I’ve seen more and more teams doing it where they're playing their [starter] back to back," Yeo said. "I don’t want to say it’s tough, but the way the league is right now, you never have a game where you're playing a team and saying, 'OK, we should definitely get this win,' … but when you look at the standings of what happens with one win, one loss, teams are making different decisions because of that and teams are taking a different strategy towards how how they work their starting goalies."

That said, he has no plan yet as to whether Darcy Kuemper will play one of the back-to-backs this weekend. They're two big games against division rivals Winnipeg and Dallas, and they're not normal back-to-backs because both are at home, so no travel, and one's an afternoon game and one's a night game, meaning extra rest. So it's NO guarantee Kuemper plays this weekend.

Lastly, Tyler Graovac is also skating with Ness, but there's a protocol here and Yeo said he's a ways off.


The much-anticipated stadium-series jersey unveiling will occur after practice roughly 11:45 a.m. tomorrow, by the way.

If you missed the latest Russo-Souhan Show, go to We are taping our next one live at Tom Reid's Hockey City Pub at 3 p.m. Wednesday, so please come on down before the game.

I'll be live in studio on KFAN with Paul Allen on Tuesday at 9 a.m.

TV Listings

Local Schedule

< >
  • Gophers women's basketball at Kent State

    5:30 pm on 88.5-FM

  • Vancouver at Wild

    6 pm on FSN PLUS, 106.1-FM

  • Atlanta at Timberwolves

    7 pm on FSN, 830-AM

  • Nebraska-Omaha at Gophers men's basketball

    2 pm on 1500-AM

  • Gophers women's hockey at MSU Mankato

    2:07 pm

  • Winnipeg at Wild

    3 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Gophers women's basketball vs. Stetson

    3:45 pm on 88.5-FM

  • St. Cloud State at Gophers men's hockey

    6 pm on FSN, 1500-AM

  • Timberwolves at Sacramento

    9 pm on FSN, 830-AM

  • Gophers women's hockey at MSU Mankato

    2:07 pm

  • Wisconsin at Gophers football

    2:30 pm on BTN, 100.3-FM

  • Gophers women's basketball vs. Auburn

    6 pm on 1500-AM

  • Dallas at Wild

    7 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Vikings at Atlanta

    12 pm on Ch. 9, 100.3/1130

  • Timberwolves at L.A. Clippers

    2:30 pm on FSN, 830-AM

  • St. Cloud State at Gophers men's hockey

    6:35 pm on FSN, 1500-AM

  • Clemson at Gophers men's basketball

    8 pm on ESPN2, 1500-AM

  • Wild at Chicago

    7 pm on NBCSN, 100.3-FM

  • Orlando at Timberwolves

    7 pm on FSN, 830-AM

Today's Scoreboard

No games for NFL

  • Ottawa



    - F



  • Calgary



    - 2nd, 10:10



  • Indiana



    - F



  • Boston



    - F



  • Dallas



    - F



  • LA Clippers



    - 4th, 3:58



  • Chicago



    - 3rd, 9:38



  • LA Lakers

    Golden State


    - 2nd, 7:02



No games for MLS