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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If there's a lockout: "Becoming Wild," other player promotion will cease; Likely refund options

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild off-season news Updated: September 10, 2012 - 4:01 PM

This summer, the Wild invested oodles of money into traveling around the world to produce a second season of "Becoming Wild," the HBO 24/7-like, Edmonton Oilers' Oil Change-like, Wlld documentary show that began airing last Thursday on Fox Sports North with a feature on Cal Clutterbuck.

This Thursday will be behind-the-scenes with Kyle Brodziak. The webisodes have been hits on the Wild's web site.

Take advantage of the viewings while you can.

If the NHL locks out the players at 11:59 p.m. (10:59 p.m. CT) Saturday because it's unable to agree to a new collective bargaining agreement with the Players' Association, teams will have to cease all player promotion during the labor stoppage.

That means "Becoming Wild," which the Wild is using to show off the personalities of its players in part because of its desire to be awarded a Winter Classic, will have to cease being televised on Fox Sports North. The remaining shows are supposed to be behind-the-scenes with Tom Gilbert, Niklas Backstrom, Dany Heatley and Mikko Koivu.

If there's a lockout, player likenesses won't be permitted to be used by teams for marketing and advertising. That means the Wild's Twitter account and web site can no longer run player contests and promote players for the purpose of marketing the franchise.

Also, I'm told team personnel will not be permitted to have contact with its locked out players. By Saturday, there wouldl be scores of NHL transactions as teams reassign players to their minor-league teams.

For the Wild, that should at least include entry-level prospects Mikael Granlund, Marco Scandella, Jonas Brodin, Charlie Coyle, Johan Larsson, Brett Bulmer, Jason Zucker, Zack Phillips, Tyler Cuma, Matt Hackett, Darcy Kuemper, etc.

The Wild and other teams are waiting for clarification as to whether they can send down two-way players that require waivers (the Jake Dowells, Stephane Veilleuxs of the world). That was the case last time. Even though Jared Spurgeon is on his entry-level deal, he does require waivers and the Wild has already decided he will not play in Houston if there is a lockout. Scandella will, though.

If there's a lockout, the Wild will announce Monday morning instructions for season-ticket holders.

The Wild has been hush regarding the procedure as of now, but during the 2004-05 lockout, the team offered season-ticket holders a few options: 1) full refund of tickets soon after games are canceled. 2) keep your money in your team account in return for a certain specific of interest. The Orange County Register reported last week that the Ducks will pay 5 percent interest on money left with the team, 1 percent interest for full refunds calculated from the point when a particular game is canceled to the last day of the month for which the refund is owed.

You can bet this will be close if not identical to what the Wild does.

The Wild has sold close to 4,000 full-season ticket equivalents since the July 4 signings of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. The Wild doesn't release its season-ticket total.

There are no negotiating sessions scheduled thus far this week and things continue to look destined for a lockout.

More than 280 players are expected to be in New York Wednesday and Thursday for two days of meetings with NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr. The NHL will hold a Board of Governors meeting Thursday in New York.

 

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