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

Dumba scratched vs. Leafs; Reilly talks about his second chance

The Auston Matthews tour hits Xcel Energy Center tonight at 7.

In Winnipeg last night, the No. 1 overall pick was one-upped (three-upped, actually) by the No. 2 overall pick, Patrik Laine.

Laine, who tied the score in the final minute of the third period after goalie Frederk Andersen inexplicably skated to International Falls to play a point a shot that never came, completed his first career hat trick in overtime after Matthews was stopped at the other end.

This should be quite a Calder race between these two special players.

"A lot of speed, man," coach Bruce Boudreau said of the Leafs. "They can go. Everybody's dangerous, and they'll be more dangerous when they blow a 4-0 lead in the third. I think they might be a little [ticked]."

Please give my feature in today's paper on Matthews a read. Some good stuff in there, including from Laine, Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello and Senators associate coach Marc Crawford.

"He's going to score goals," Boudreau said. "He's a big, strong kid, he doesn't mind the traffic. I've never seen him live, but the second goal he scored against Ottawa was pure skill. ... You know you're going to have to watch him anytime on the ice. ... Him, and [William] Nylander, Nydlander's a great passer and a great young player, too. You can't get outnumbered by these guys."

Yesterday's blog was indeed accurate. Matt Dumba is the lineup casualty with Christian Folin playing well and Boudreau wanting to give Mike Reilly a second chance.

"Maybe he has to do a little less," Boudreau said of Dumba. "Sometimes players try so hard and they do too much rather than just do their job and make plays. Dumba is going to be a really good player. And he's a good player right now. He's trying to do too much right now. We just want him to calm it down and play his game."

Reilly knows he has to be better than opening night in St. Louis.

“Just try to come in and play my game," Reilly said. "Obviously, wasn’t satisfied with the first effort and as a team, so just come in and try to do what I do best. It was good for me go down and play in Iowa a few nights ago, get minutes, get a lot of reps and play in every situation. Just try to come in and be confident.”

He says the Wild has not told him what has been indicated to us, that he could be up and down based on lineup decisions and the fact he's the only one of the depth D that doesn't need waivers to get to the minors.

“I think just play strong defensively, shut down plays quick, have a good stick," Reilly said. "I tried to knock the pucks off guys sticks pretty quick and pick up position. Try to get some shots, get some chances.”

He feels a skating game against Toronto fits his game: "It doesn’t hurt, the up and down game, they can skate pretty well. I know a lot of guys on this team, pretty fast, can make plays, play some good hockey, so it seems like it could be an up and down game, quick transitions, so they’re probably going to feed off turnovers, so you gotta manage the puck well with just the way they skate and make plays.”

He said he can't look at tonight like he has to prove himself

"I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself," Reilly said. "I felt I had a good preseason, just one tough game against St. Louis, not gonna let that get me down. I’m confident in what I can do each night. Just try to come in and play my game and let everything else take care of itself.”

On playing childhood friend and training partner Jake Gardiner for a second time in their careers tonight, Reilly said, "We go way back, so it’s pretty cool. I know he definitely got this one circled on his calendar, obviously with a lot of family and friends coming to the game tonight. We talked a lot about this game, he’s obviously excited every time he gets to come into town and see everybody and especially play against me too, it kind of makes it even more special that we’re so close. Definitely pretty cool, we’ll be competing hard though. But it’s Wild versus Leafs, not against me and him, definitely pretty cool to have both of us playing.”

Oh, and Jason Zucker is good to go.

Devan Dubnyk vs. Jhonas Enroth, who gave up 18 goals in three starts against the Wild two seasons ago, including seven for Buffalo in Dubnyk's debut.

I'll be on KFAN at 4:55 p.m. and Fox Sports North during the pregame show and first intermission.

And, here's the latest Russo-Souhan Show. Lots of laughter and talk about the Wild's start. Our next two podcasts at Hell's Kitchen will be Nov. 2 and 16 at 4 p.m.

Zucker banged up but hopes to play vs. Toronto

Good moods were plentiful down at Xcel Energy Center today.

Lots of jokes and laughs between players and staff inside the locker room after an energetic practice in preparation for Thursday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Leafs are building with a ton of young talent, not just Auston Matthews, whom I featured in Thursday’s Star Tribune (please give a read once it’s up on the site later today; it’s a fun one with some great stuff after phone conversations with Lou Lamoriello and Marc Crawford).

There are also blossoming kids like William Nylander and Mitchell Marner, veteran forwards like Minnesota resident James van Riemsdyk and, of course, the pride of Minnetonka (now South Minneapolis) Jake Gardiner.

Speaking of Gardiner, his childhood friend and offseason training partner, Mike Reilly, is back on the Wild roster. As I wrote in today’s paper, the assignment to Iowa was very temporary and he’s back to play the Leafs.

Reilly needs accept that 1) being the defenseman who doesn’t require waivers (unlike Christian Folin and Nate Prosser), he could be up and down I-35 based on lineup and roster decisions, and 2) being a young defenseman, he could be up and down based on his personal play.

“It’s not a bad thing,” coach Bruce Boudreau, one of the best AHL players and coaches in history, said. “The whole idea is to play. It’s a great development league. If you’re not playing here, that’s the place to be. But everybody wants to be here, so the best way to do it is play really well. There’s nobody that wants younger guys in the lineup more than me because that’s how you build your future.”

But Boudreau made clear he was not satisfied with Reilly’s game in St. Louis.

“You sit a guy out after one game, you’ve got to throw him back in,” Boudreau said. “You’ve got to give him a chance to get back in there and say, ‘You’re not sending me down or not sitting me out anymore.’ I’m a big believer in giving guys second chances.”

So who comes out for Reilly?

Sure doesn’t seem like it’ll be Christian Folin, who is plus-3 in two victories and has six hits.

“He’s a guy getting better with confidence,” Boudreau said of the big Swede. “When you don’t have a lot of big defensemen and a guy that’s fairly physical, you need that in the lineup.”

So by process of elimination, the scratch against the Leafs will be Matt Dumba. He was paired with Prosser today, and even though he scored a huge tying power-play goal against Winnipeg, he has played erratically with the puck in his three games.

“We haven’t completely made up our mind on who’s playing tomorrow,” Boudreau said.  

Asked if it’s Dumba, Boudreau said, laughing, “Don’t start that. You can go and read and put all the guys down, but don’t ask me.”

One bit of injury news today: Jason Zucker didn’t practice. Boudreau called it a maintenance day and hopes he can play against the Leafs. If not, the Wild will either need to recall a forward or dress seven defensemen, which could explain why he’s not willing to say Dumba is the scratch.

For the second consecutive practice, Boudreau lauded third-line center Erik Haula, well, except for the fact Boudreau is limping around and claims it was Haula who shot the puck at him in practice.

“I’ll get him,” the chipper coach vowed.

I re-watched the game today and Haula was as good as I’ve ever seen him. He intercepted or foiled about a half-dozen rushes in the neutral zone, one that led to Jason Pominville’s go-ahead goal with 12 seconds left in the first against the Kings.

Haula also scored off a set breakout that Pominville, Nino Niederreiter and Haula work on everyday in practice.

“He was good, and he had to be good,” Boudreau said of Haula. “That’s the balance. We didn’t have everybody else going. You need people to step up at the time maybe the Staal line or Koivu line wasn’t at its best.”

The Wild’s penalty kill, which was 27th last season a year after being first in the league, is one of three PK’s in the league that is a perfect 100 percent. The Wild has killed the most chances, going 11 for 11.

“Scotty’s doing a great job, he’s real detailed about it,” Boudreau said of assistant coach Scott Stevens. “We’ll continue to get better. We’ve used nine or 10 different penalty killers. We haven’t settled on our top 8 yet.”

The defensemen, depending on who’s in the box, have been Suter-Spurgeon and Scandella-Folin. The forwards have been Parise-Staal, Koivu-Granlund, Haula-Pominville and Zucker mixed in there, too.

Reminder, the Russo-Souhan Show will be taped live today at Hell’s Kitchen in downtown Minneapolis at 4 o’clock. Please join in for the fun. It’ll be the last one there until November because I hit the road Friday for a four-game trip.

On Thursday, I’ll be on KFAN at 4:55 p.m. and Fox Sports North during the pregame show and first intermission.

TV Listings

Local Schedule

< >
  • Los Angeles at Lynx

    7 pm on ESPN2, 106.1-FM

  • Toronto at Wild

    7 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Gophers women's hockey at Ohio State

    5 pm

  • Charlotte at Timberwolves (preseason)

    7 pm on FSN/NBATV, 830-AM

  • St. Cloud State at Gophers men's hockey

    8 pm on FSN PLUS, 1500-AM

  • Rutgers at Gophers football

    11 am on ESPNU, 100.3-FM

  • Gophers women's hockey at Ohio State

    2 pm

  • Wild at New Jersey

    6 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Minnesota United FC at Carolina

    6:30 pm on Ch. 29

  • Gophers men's hockey at St. Cloud State

    7 pm on FSN PLUS, 1500-AM

  • Vikings at Philadelphia

    12 pm on Ch. 9, 100.3/1130

  • Wild at N.Y. Islanders

    5 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Wild at Boston

    6 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Timberwolves at Memphis

    7 pm on FSN, 830-AM

  • Wild at Buffalo

    6 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • St. Cloud State at Gophers women's hockey

    7:07 pm on BTN PLUS

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Today's Scoreboard

  • Chicago Cubs

    LA Dodgers


    - Top 3rd



  • Chicago

    Green Bay


    - 2nd, 14:12



  • Miami



    - 4th, 5:44



  • New Orleans



    - 4th, 8:31



  • New York



    - 3rd, 6:07



  • Atlanta



    - 2nd, 1:02



  • New Jersey



    - End 2nd



  • Anaheim



    - End 2nd



  • San Jose



    - 3rd, 18:50



  • Washington



    - 2nd, 2:30



  • Arizona



    - 2nd, 9:10



  • Colorado

    Tampa Bay


    - 2nd, 4:20



  • Toronto



    - 2nd, 17:20



  • Los Angeles



    - 1st, 5:29



  • Carolina


    8:00 PM

  • St. Louis


    8:00 PM

  • Buffalo


    9:00 PM

No MLS games today