Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He 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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Wild quick hits; Free prospect scrimmage Thursday night at the X

Posted by: Michael Russo under Adrian Peterson, Vikings draft, Wild off-season news Updated: July 11, 2012 - 3:09 PM

The Wild prospects hit the ice for a second consecutive day -- this time down at St. Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights -- before sessions return to the X tomorrow morning.

Also, remember, tomorrow night (Thursday) at 7, the prospects will be scrimmaging at the X. It's free and open to the public. The first 1,000 fans get a Ryan Suter T-shirt. The Hockey Lodge store will be open, and, I'll go out on a limb and say, if you want to buy season-tickets, that can be accomplished, too. Gate 1 opens to get into the arena for the scrimmage at 6:30 p.m.

On Sunday at 11 a.m., there will be another scrimmage. The first 1,000 fans get a Zach Parise T-shirt.

Also, Friday from 3-6:30 p.m., I'll be filling in for Dan Barreiro on KFAN (100.3-FM). Lots of hockey talk and guests, but we'll also be talking Twins, Adrian Peterson, world peace, politics, the heat wave. (OK, not the latter three).

Please tune in, call, email.

Today, lots of skill drills, plus work with powerskating instructor Barry Karn, whom I wrote about a few weeks back in my Brady Skjei feature before the draft. Karn is the uncle of Skjei, the incoming Gopher and now-New York Rangers draft pick.

Andy Ness has also been around helping with skating and stick handling, while the Houston coaches -- John Torchetti, Mike Van Ryn and Sebastien Laplante -- and Orlando coach Drake Berehowsky have been running the practices with coach Mike Yeo, assistants Rick Wilson, Darryl Sydor and Darby Hendrickson and the brass -- Chuck Fletcher, Brent Flahr, Jim Mill, Brad Bombardir and Shep Harder -- watching from the cheap seats.

Kent Youngblood will be writing for Thursday's paper, myself for Friday's. I'll also blog after Thursday's scrimmage and Kent will blog after Sunday's.

After Thursday, however, I will be on vacation for the rest of the month, so Kent and others will have the keys to my blog.

I'll re-post the depth chart to give you a talker before I get out of dodge this weekend.

Some quick hits:

-- Jonas Brodin can skate backwards better than most people can walk forwards. The kid is smooth.

-- Granlund looks awesome.

-- I've received some questions in the past few days why Marco Scandella has to come to development camp and, say, Jared Spurgeon doesn't. I talked to Yeo about that, and the reasons are as I suspected:

1. Games played. Spurgeon has played 123 NHL games, 40 more than Scandella; 2. This is a big year for Scandella and the Wild wants him to take another step in his growth; 3. Scandella is the top dog, the leader in camp, the guy to give the kids an example of how to work on and off the ice, to keep things loose, etc.

Also, and Yeo didn't say this, but remember, Spurgeon is coming off a season-ending concussion, although the Wild has said he was cleared soon after the season.

-- Mario Lucia, a second-round pick in 2011, isn't at camp because he is currently in classes at Notre Dame. However, the Wild said there was a chance he may come in for some of the weekend activities. That'll be up to Lucia though. Because he's a college kid, the Wild can't pick up any of the costs due to college eligibility rules. That's why Erik Haula wasn't at a camp. Would have cost the kid a fortune flying in from Finland. He is at camp this year though.

-- Restricted free agents Nick Palmieri, Jarod Palmer, Carson McMillan and David McIntyre are the only players still unsigned. When they do, that'll give the Wild 49 players under contract. You can only have 50. The Wild says this isn't a problem, but I still suspect at some point there could be a trade to give a little more breathing room. Typically you'd want to have a few open spots in case you need to make a trade or grab somebody off waivers in-season.

Again though, there's no rush. There's a lot of time before camp is (scheduled) to start Sept. 21, and as long as you have one opening, it's no big deal, the Wild has said.

-- I've gotten some questions asking if Zach Parise and Ryan Suter are permanent alternate captains or if coach Mike Yeo will continue to rotate the A's. They are permanent, meaning get used to seeing letters on the chests of Mikko Koivu (C), Parise and Suter for a long, long time. Parise and Suter have 13-year deals, and Koivu has six years left on his pact. My opinion: Too much is made of letters on chests. Trust me, it's not like Matt Cullen and Dany Heatley won't be leaders on this team anymore just because they don't have A's over their hearts. Along with Tom Gilbert, Heatley and Cullen were a big part of the Wild's recruitment for Parise and Suter. I promise, they're not bothered by the disappearing A.

-- Got some questions asking if the 2,000+ season tickets sold by the Wild are full and partial combined. They are full and partial plan "equivalents" (to full season-tickets).

-- Got some questions as to the practice facility hints Craig Leipold has dropped lately. During the pitches to Parise and Suter, both agents called up and asked if the Wild had a practice facility. That's important to a lot of players. All this did was reignite Leipold's long-time pursuit to build a facility and public skating complex at Seven Corners in St. Paul. The Wild has long had renderings and cost estimates, but you may remember, in 2009, Gov. Tim Pawlenty vetoed a loan forgiveness program that would have freed $32 million for the project. Now, Leipold hopes to get this going again.

The Wild practices the majority of the time at the X, but when there's concerts, it has dress-and-drives to St. Thomas. As Leipold even said on Fox Sports North the other day, that may work in juniors, but NHLers hate it. Not so bad going. The ride back when they're in their smelly, wet equipment?

Yuck. That's a big reason why coach Todd Richards, and last year Mike Yeo, conveniently has optional practices whenever St. Thomas is on the agenda.

-- Tomorrow night in Toronto, new Wild center Zenon Konopka will be taking part in the Smashfest! Charity Ping-Pong Challenge at Steam Whistle Brewery. Others taking part? Dominic Moore, Steven Stamkos, Vincent Lecavalier, Eric Lindros, Jason Spezza, Brett Connolly, Logan Couture, Teddy Purcell, Joe Reekie, Mathieu Schneider, Ryan Shannon, Daniel Winnik, Rob Zamuner, Joel Ward, Wojtek Wolski, Steve Downie and Kevin Weekes.

Proceeds from the event will be directed to The Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center and Baycrest's Rotman Research Institute.


-- Remember, I'll be hosting for Barreiro on KFAN on Friday from 3-6:30 p.m., so please tune in and call in. Lining up some great guests, and I'll fill you in on them on my blog Thursday after the scrimmages.


Atlanta 6 FINAL
Detroit 4
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
Houston 6
St. Louis 4 FINAL
Miami 1
Baltimore 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
NY Yankees 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Chicago Cubs 6 FINAL
San Francisco 8
Los Angeles 6 FINAL
Chicago WSox 1
San Diego 4 FINAL
Seattle 9
Cleveland 9 FINAL
Cincinnati 3
Milwaukee 2 FINAL
LA Angels 3
Oakland 2 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 2
Texas 4 FINAL
Kansas City 5
Colorado 3 FINAL
Arizona 4
Washington 5
Boston 8 FINAL
Minnesota 9
Toronto 0 FINAL
Baltimore 5
Oklahoma City 105 FINAL
Chicago 108
Dallas 75 FINAL
Portland 94
Calgary 4 FINAL(SO)
Boston 3
St. Louis 1 FINAL
Philadelphia 3
Minnesota 2 FINAL
Washington 1
Toronto 2 FINAL
Tampa Bay 4
Dallas 4 FINAL(SO)
Florida 3
NY Islanders 4 FINAL
Nashville 3
Vancouver 2 FINAL(SO)
Arizona 3
Montreal 3 FINAL(SO)
Los Angeles 4
Morgan State 76 FINAL
MD-Eastern Shore 89
Niagara 54 FINAL
Siena 71
Holy Cross 83 FINAL
Bucknell 90
Western Ky 88 FINAL
Charlotte 84
Navy 62 FINAL
Colgate 72
Temple 70 FINAL
East Carolina 56
Fla Atlantic 62
Boston Univ 64 FINAL
Lafayette 89
American Univ 68 FINAL
Lehigh 62
Wisconsin 76 FINAL
Minnesota 63
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Saint Peters 63
Arkansas 78 FINAL
South Carolina 74
Morehead State 76 FINAL
UT Martin 65
USC Upstate 63 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 62
Lipscomb 57 FINAL
North Florida 71
Southern Ill 55 FINAL
Missouri State 48
Texas State 64 FINAL
Appalachian St 67
SC State 62 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 72
Delaware State 104 FINAL
Coppin State 92
Middle Tennessee 54 FINAL
FIU 59
Texas-Arlington 64 FINAL
Ga Southern 76
Norfolk State 80 FINAL
Hampton 69
NC Central 69
Savannah State 57 FINAL
Florida A&M 64
Southern Miss 61 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 72
Marshall 50 FINAL
Old Dominion 67
Rice 76 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 74
South Alabama 81 FINAL
Arkansas State 76
Alabama State 78 FINAL
Grambling St 46
Alabama A&M 54 FINAL
Jackson State 72
Sam Houston St 67 FINAL
Lamar 61
Georgia State 58 FINAL
ULM 50
Central Arkansas 70 FINAL
Nicholls 77
Portland State 51 FINAL
Northern Ariz 58
Southern U 77 FINAL
Prairie View 73
Alcorn State 73 FINAL
Texas Southern 94
Houston Baptist 72 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 85
Ark-Little Rock 69 FINAL
Louisiana 75
SE Louisiana 79 FINAL
New Orleans 85
California 60 FINAL
Arizona 99
Memphis 54 FINAL
Connecticut 53
VA Commonwealth 55 FINAL
Davidson 82
Ark-Pine Bluff 0 Postponed
Miss Valley St 0
Sacramento St 65 FINAL
Southern Utah 69
Northwestern St 66 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 92
North Texas 60 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 83
Colorado 64 FINAL
Washington 47
Idaho 63 FINAL
Weber State 74
Abilene Christian 52 FINAL
Incarnate Word 64
Eastern Wash 85 FINAL
Idaho State 81
Marist 80 FINAL
Quinnipiac 74
Eastern Ill 64 FINAL
Belmont 97
Bradley 52 FINAL
Drake 50
Cal State Fullerton 62 FINAL
UC Irvine 68
CS-Northridge 58 FINAL
Long Beach State 69
UC Riverside 59 FINAL
UC Davis 61
Stanford 62 FINAL
Arizona State 67
Utah 67 FINAL
Washington St 59
Monmouth 68 FINAL
Canisius 56
Wake Forest 85 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 79
Saint Louis 65 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 58
Saint Peters 62 FINAL
Rider 54
UNC-Asheville 51 FINAL
Liberty 59
UNC Greensboro 44 FINAL
(17) Chattanooga 78
Michigan State 69 FINAL
Michigan 49
Arkansas 72 FINAL
Ole Miss 61
Manhattan 51 FINAL
Niagara 57
Massachusetts 63 FINAL
Richmond 67
Virginia 52 FINAL
Miami-Florida 62
Jacksonville St 45 FINAL
Belmont 55
Morgan State 65 FINAL
MD-Eastern Shore 50
Campbell 65 FINAL
Winthrop 52
Furman 65 FINAL
Samford 54
Oregon 64 FINAL
Washington St 66
Indiana 52 FINAL
(23) Rutgers 63
Pepperdine 67 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 68
Auburn 47 FINAL
(18) Texas A&M 57
Morehead St 66 FINAL
Tennessee St 81
George Mason 43 FINAL
Saint Josephs 71
Western Carolina 53 FINAL
East Tenn St 73
Arizona 62 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 79
Texas State 55 FINAL
Appalachian St 61
TX-Arlington 66 FINAL
Georgia Southern 41
SC State 57 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 56
Delaware State 51 FINAL
Coppin State 80
Portland 58 FINAL
Santa Clara 66
Norfolk State 49 FINAL
Hampton 64
Florida Atlantic 56 FINAL
UAB 59
NC Central 46
Savannah State 72 FINAL
Florida A&M 51
Virginia Tech 51 FINAL
Pittsburgh 45
Central Arkansas 43 FINAL
Nicholls 53
Houston Baptist 48 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 73
Gardner-Webb 70 FINAL
Radford 56
Georgia 75 FINAL
Missouri 64
Old Dominion 67 FINAL
Marshall 55
Ark-Little Rock 68 FINAL
Louisiana 66
South Alabama 60 FINAL
Arkansas State 70
Georgia State 66 FINAL
ULM 61
Sam Houston St 73 FINAL
Lamar 92
SE Louisiana 75 FINAL
New Orleans 84
Northwestern St 45 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 56
Alabama A&M 58 FINAL
Jackson State 66
Alabama State 68 FINAL
Grambling 62
Southern U 78 FINAL
Prairie View 50
Alcorn State 55 FINAL
Texas Southern 73
Ark-Pine Bluff 0 Postponed
Miss Valley St 0
Wofford 54 FINAL
Mercer 75
Abilene Christian 72 FINAL
Incarnate Word 62
La Salle 60 FINAL
Rhode Island 65
Illinois 71 FINAL
Nebraska 86
TX-San Antonio 60 FINAL
Rice 49
Valparaiso 55 FINAL
Oakland 70
Missouri State 65 FINAL
Indiana State 56
Georgia Tech 64 FINAL
(15) North Carolina 84
Charlotte 72 FINAL
Western Ky 80
Texas-El Paso 69 FINAL
North Texas 61
Wichita State 77 FINAL
Evansville 63
Loyola-Chicago 64 FINAL
Northern Iowa 69
Bradley 70 FINAL
Drake 86
Presbyterian 62 FINAL
High Point 75
Vanderbilt 61 FINAL
(12) Kentucky 67
Colorado 75 FINAL
USC 63
San Francisco 74 FINAL
Pacific 64
Idaho State 58 FINAL
Eastern Washington 62
Weber State 42 FINAL
Idaho 71
Purdue 78 FINAL
Minnesota 82
Cal-Irvine 54 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 66
Long Beach St 60 FINAL
CS-Northridge 77
Hawaii 60 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 36
UC Davis 56 FINAL
UC-Riverside 61
Northern Ariz 79 FINAL
Portland State 62
Southern Utah 73 FINAL
Sacramento St 107
Utah 64 FINAL
Washington 75
St Marys-CA 64
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