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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Mike Reilly, Brady Skjei, Mario Lucia named to U.S.A. world junior preliminary roster

Posted by: Michael Russo under Gophers players, Gophers, Wild off-season news Updated: December 4, 2012 - 9:31 AM

Gophers freshmen defensemen Mike Reilly and Brady Skjei were two of 27 players selected this morning to the U.S.A. preliminary roster for the upcoming world junior championships.

Also selected was Alaska-born but Wayzata-raised Mario Lucia, the 2011 Wild second-round pick, Notre Dame freshman and youngest child of Gophers coach Don Lucia.

The full roster can be found here.

Lucia has four goals and an assist in six games for the 11-4 Irish. Lucia is coming off a 2-goal performance in a pounding of Lake Superior State and was named the CCHA Rookie of the Week. He was second on the champion 54-5-2 BCHL Penticton Vees last year with 42 goals and 52 assists for 94 points in 56 games. He had 14 power-play goals and was winner of the Bruce Allen Trophy as the Interior Division's Rookie of the Year.

From the Gophers' press release:

A 2011 fourth round draft pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets (98th overall), Reilly leads all Minnesota freshmen with eight points this season and tallied his first career goal on Nov. 11 in a 5-1 win over Vermont. Prior to joining the Gophers, Reilly helped the Penticton Vees set a North American junior hockey record with a 42-game win streak en route to RBC Cup and Doyle Cup championships last season. The Chanhassen, Minn., native led all BCHL defensemen in goals (24), assists (59), and points (83) and won the BCHL Interior Conference Best Defenseman Award. Reilly previously skated for Shattuck-St. Mary’s and the Academy of Holy Angels.

In 14 games this season, Skjei has recorded two points for the Gophers including his first career goal on Oct. 13 against Michigan State. A 2012 first round draft selection by the New York Rangers, Skjei spent two years with the U.S. National Development Team Program in Ann Arbor after two seasons at Lakeville North. The freshman defenseman already has plenty of international playing experience, having helped the U.S. win gold at the 2012 Under-18 Men’s World Championship and bronze at the 2012 Under-18 Five Nations Cup. The Lakeville, Minn., native also competed in several international tournaments with the U.S. Under-17 team.

The U.S. coaching staff is mostly Minnesotan. Phil Housley is the head coach. Ohio State coach Mark Osiecki and Gophers assistant Grant Potulny will serve as Housley's assistants, as well as University of Denver assistant David Lassonde.

The tournament is Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Ufa, Russia. Training camp is Dec. 16-18 in Tarrytown, N.Y. and continues in Helsinki Dec. 19-23. The final roster will be announced Dec. 23.

Also, I wrote a Wild notebook for Tuesday's paper. That can be read here.

There's some good quotes from Zach Parise and Matt Cullen on the lockout and their optimism or hope of a deal getting done.

I've gotten a lot of questions as to which players are still skating here. Off the top of my head from Monday at least: Parise, Cullen, Niklas Backstrom, Josh Harding, Mikko Koivu, Kyle Brodziak, Cal Clutterbuck, Darroll Powe, Matt Kassian, Justin Falk, Nate Prosser, Stephane Veilleux, Andrew Alberts, Jack Hillen, Matt Hendricks, Ryan Carter, Ryan Jones, Erik Johnson, Keith Ballard, Kyle Okposo, Chris Porter, Jim O'Brien, Matt Carle, Tim Jackman and Stu Bickel.

There were others, but that's all I can remember. I know guys like Dustin Byfuglien and Paul Martin have been skating as well, but I at least didn't see them Monday.

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