Russo's Rants Logo


Russo's Rants

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

Tyler Graovac out at least 2 weeks for Wild

Expected bad news on the Tyler Graovac front.

Coach Mike Yeo announced today that Graovac will miss at least a couple weeks with a strained groin.

That means right wing Justin Fontaine, sidelined the first two games with an oblique injury, is expected to make his season debut at Arizona on Thursday when the Wild begins a three-game trip.

Fontaine had a hat trick in Glendale on two Januarys ago.

“It’s a tough break [for Graovac]. It’s a tough break for us, too,” Yeo said. “He was playing well and we liked the way the lines were working.”

Charlie Coyle, who scored two goals playing center on the third line Saturday, will remain at center and Fontaine will slide into the spot held by Jordan Schroeder on Saturday. All other lines remain unchanged.

Yeo said he had not yet talked to GM Chuck Fletcher about whether the Wild will recall a forward to bring along for the ride as an extra on the road trip.

The Wild, tight to the cap, could just carry 12 forwards. It wouldn’t be too hard to adjust and get somebody to L.A. on Friday if there were to be an injury at Arizona.

If the Wild suffers another injury at center, things would get thin though because I hear Zac Dalpe got hurt with Iowa. Sounds like a groin.

As for Graovac, it really depends on the Wild’s health situation and how long he’s out as to whether Graovac would return right to Minnesota’s lineup or need some games with Iowa.

“There’s going to be a period of time where we’re going to have to get him back in shape and have get him game ready,” Yeo said. “We’ll see when he starts skating.”

Fontaine is excited to get going and said the last week of not playing was definitely a help.

“We’re hoping he takes a step,” Yeo said of Fontaine recently. “He took a step last year. He found himself on the scoresheet more, he found himself in more important roles, whether it was moving up in the lineup and playing with more skilled players like Thomas Vanek or whether it was the role he took on in a penalty killing role for us.

“He’s a smart player and we know he has the ability to continue to grow. It’s a big year for him. I’d like to see him push and show that he’s a lot more than just a third-slash-fourth-line guy. I’d like to see him demand more.”

Yeo also wants more from the Chris Porter-Erik Haula-Ryan carter line. He said the line has spent too much time in its own end. He wants more forechecking and spending time in the offensive zone.

“They have to be that kind of line for us,” said Yeo, adding that they should have a “work ethic and battle level that shouldn’t be matched.”

Jason Zucker, who took Sunday off as a maintenance day, was back at practice today.

The Wild will practice Wednesday, then fly to Arizona. I’ll do a story for Thursday’s paper on Devan Dubnyk’s first return to Arizona since his trade to the Wild last season.

-- Also, back by popular demand, the Star Tribune Fans Night Out. On four different occasions this season, I will be holding a Chalk Talk prior to a Wild game. Three will be with Wes Walz, one with Mark Parrish. The dates are Dec. 3 before the Toronto game, Dec. 22 before the Montreal game, Jan. 25 before the Arizona game and March 6 before the St. Louis game.

The package includes a lower-level ticket to the game, the pregame Chalk Talk, a limited edition Wild pint glass, all-you-can-at hot dogs, popcorn, nachos and soda at the game and $5 12 oz. draft beer.

For more information and/or to buy tickets, go to

-- Lastly, there are a lot of Wild bloggers out there who do a great work, but I wanted to point you to one you must check out: 11-year-old Levi’s blog at

Young Levi wrote me an email the other day telling me how much he loves writing and loves the Wild, so he started his own blog. He wanted to know how to get people to read it because only “friends and family know about it. So about 20.”

So I clicked the link and was blown away. Besides the fact that the blog looks sharp, the writing is outstanding and dead-on accurate, like how Levi noted that Thomas Vanek has to step up this season because he makes a lot of “dough” and the only thing that can get in Jason Zucker’s way from scoring 30 goals this season is health.

So if you have kids that are huge Wild fans, definitely introduce them to Levi’s blog.

I remember being an 11-year-old Newsday paperboy in Old Bethpage reading the Islanders and Mets articles as I did my route. But I never would have thought to start my own blog to write about the teams (Of course, I never would have guessed there’d one day be something known as a blog).

But I do remember always pretending to be a play-by-play guy during games or a radio DJ. I think it’s awesome that Levi has such a passion, so definitely give Levi’s blog a look and prepare to be impressed.

Wild assistant Darryl Sydor pleads guilty to DWI

Wild assistant coach Darryl Sydor pleaded guilty to second degree driving while impaired Monday.

Carl Newquist, the prosecuting attorney for the City of Fridley, said Sydor was sentenced to 365 days in jail, 60 of which were executed. The remaining 305 days were stayed for four years, the term of Sydor’s probation.

As part of the judge's decision, Sydor received a mandatory 15-day jail sentence. But including time served, Sydor will actually serve two long weekends at the Anoka County workhouse beginning Friday, Sydor's attorney Ryan Pacyga said Monday afternoon.

The balance of the 60 days will be staggered in 15-day intervals the next three Octobers. However, if Sydor can establish that he has maintained sobriety each year that he reports, the judge can waive the next 15-day executed jail term.

If Sydor violates the terms of his probation, he can be put in jail for those remaining 305 days with credit for time served.

"I apologize to my family, friends, the Minnesota Wild and the fans," Sydor said in a statement. "I am deeply saddened and humbled by my actions. Recovery is giving me the opportunity to redeem myself to all I have hurt. The support I have received has been overwhelming and I couldn’t be more thankful. The entire Minnesota Wild organization has stood by me and supported my family through this very difficult time. I can’t thank them enough for that. I am putting recovery first for myself and my family, and with that, everything else will fall into place."

As part of his probation, Sydor must provide proof of satisfactory completion of treatment, cannot drink alcohol, use drugs unless prescribed by a doctor, can have no alcohol or drug-related offenses, must attend a MADD Impact panel and submit to random testing on demand by his probation officer at his expense.

Sydor was also fined $900 and will pay $113 in court costs.

Sydor, who attended an in-patient treatment facility in California in late August and much of September, was arrested in August for drunken driving. His 12-year-old son was in the car at the time. Sydor, 43, played 1,291 NHL regular-season games and won two Stanley Cups.

"I'm happy that Darryl received a sentence that reflects the good work that he's done because while he's responsible for his conduct in this case, he's got a long history of good service to the community and being a good father," Pacyga said. "This should not define who he is. He's being given a chance at recovery, and he's making the most of it. He's really put a lot of work into it."

In a statement, the Wild said, "The Minnesota Wild is aware of the plea agreement reached today by Assistant Coach Darryl Sydor and respects the decision made by the Anoka County District Court. The team will continue to support Darryl, and his family, as he continues with his recovery. His return to the organization will be addressed at a later date."

TV Listings

Local Schedule

  • Timberwolves vs. Toronto (preseason)

    6pm on 830-AM

  • Indiana at Lynx

    7pm on ESPN2, 106.1-FM

  • Wild at Phoenix

    9pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Gophers women's hockey at Ohio State


  • Minnesota Duluth at Gophers men's hockey

    7pm on FSN, 1500-AM

  • Wild at Los Angeles

    9:30pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Gophers women's hockey at Ohio State


  • Nebraska at Gophers football

    2:30pm on ESPN2, 100.3-FM

  • Minnesota United FC at Indy


  • Gophers men's hockey at Minnesota Duluth

    7pm on FSN, 1500-AM

  • Kansas City at Vikings

    12pm on Ch. 4, 100.3/1130

  • Timberwolves at Memphis (preseason)

    5pm on 830-AM

  • Wild at Anaheim

    7pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

Today's Scoreboard

  • St. Louis

    Chicago Cubs


    - Bot 4th



  • LA Dodgers

    NY Mets

    7:07 PM


No games for NFL

  • Florida


    6:00 PM

  • Nashville

    New Jersey

    6:00 PM

  • Winnipeg

    NY Rangers

    6:00 PM

  • Montreal


    6:00 PM

  • San Jose


    6:00 PM

  • Tampa Bay


    6:30 PM

    NBC Sports

  • Edmonton


    7:30 PM

  • St. Louis


    8:00 PM

  • Vancouver

    Los Angeles

    9:30 PM

No games for WNBA

No games for MLS