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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Gophers men, women retain spots in USCHO polls; Aeros, Graovac piling up goals

Posted by: Michael Russo under Gophers, Wild off-season news Updated: October 29, 2012 - 3:54 PM

The University of Minnesota men's hockey team (4-1) remains No. 2 in the nation in the USCHO.com poll. The Gophers got three first-place votes. Boston College remains No. 1. Denver is 3, North Dakota is 5, UMD is 17 and St. Cloud State is 18.

The USA Today/USA Hockey poll will be out later. Gophers remain No. 2; Denver is 3, North Dakota is 6.

The Gophers' women's hockey team (8-0), the defending NCAA champs, obviously remains No. 1 in the USCHO poll. North Dakota is 8 and Minnesota State is 10.

In Houston, the Aeros, the Wild's minor-league affiliate, won both their games this weekend and are now 4-0-1 in their last five with 24 goals in that stretch.

Marco Scandella is tied for the AHL lead with nine assists. Charlie Coyle is first among AHL rookie forwards with five goals and Mikael Granlund is first among AHL rookie forwards with 10 points. Darcy Kuemper is the best rookie goalie in the AHL so far. He is 3-0 with a 1.47 goals against average and .947 save percentage.

In the Ontario Hockey League, Wild prospect Tyler Graovac of the Ottawa 67s leads the league with 14 goals. Most impressive in my opinion: Only 3 are on the power play. He has scored 10 even-strength goals, one shorthanded. Remember, Graovac stood out at the Wild's July development camp.

No lockout news. I'm told the Winter Classic cancelation announcement could be delayed because the NHL offices are closed Monday and Tuesday due to Hurricane Sandy.

NHLPA divisional rep Joe Reekie is meeting with the Minnesota-based players tonight. As I reported in Saturday's paper and on last night's blog, Executive Director Donald Fehr was trying to come to town for the meeting, but as of now, I haven't gotten confirmation he made it out of Toronto due to travel issues in the East with the hurricane. He had to cancel his appearance at last night's charity game due to the weather because he was in New York at the time.

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