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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Midnight NHLPA disclaimer deadline comes and goes; Wild injury updates; Haula update

Posted by: Michael Russo under Gophers, Wild off-season news Updated: January 3, 2013 - 12:20 AM


A five-hour meeting between the NHL and NHLPA just broke up at 1 a.m. ET and NHLPA Executive Director Don Fehr said the sides moved closer together on a few issues but remain apart on others. Still work to be done.

There was a mediator involved in today's meetings. Commissioner Gary Bettman said the sides will meet Thursday morning at the mediator's request.

The good news is Fehr did not hand Commissioner Gary Bettman a letter informing him the union will disclaim interest -- i.e. dissolve, i.e. walk away from representing the players and becoming a "trade association."

That's good news because if the union dissolves, lawsuits could be filed, things become a whole lot more complicated and basically it's completely unknown what could happen next. The season could very well be in peril if that were to happen.

Last month, the players voted to authorize the union to disclaim interest by midnight Jan. 2 if no deal was near.

Since no disclaimer was filed, union reps are still acting on the players' behalf. If that's the case, one would believe there's enough traction to keep on trucking as an actual union.

The big issue today according to multiple reports has been pensions. Under the previous collective bargaining agreement, teams were responsible for 3/4 of the pensions.

As the New York Daily News' Pat Leonard wrote here, "Thursday’s proposal said that the pension plan would be funded from the players’ share of annual revenue, and it also specified that “$50 million of the ‘Make-Whole’ payment amount of $300 million will be allocated and set aside to fund potential underfunding liabilities of the Plan at end of CBA,” according to a document obtained by ESPN.

The NHL and NHLPA therefore are debating which side would be liable to make up the difference in payments if league revenues in any given year do not provide adequate funds to match the players’ projected pension number.

Bettman said tonight the pension issue is complicated and the league hopes to satisfy the players.

Again, Bettman has said a deal must be struck by Jan. 11 with the goal to start training camp Jan. 12 and a 48-game season Jan. 19.


In Wild injury news if training camp were to start Jan. 12, defenseman Marco Scandella is currently out of Houston's lineup with a groin injury, but he should be ready by the 12th. Jared Spurgeon left Switzerland with a groin injury, but he is back skating.

The length of training camp would determine how many players from Houston come up to Minnesota for a look. Obviously, Scandella and Mikael Granlund will be up to camp, but the Wild will have to gauge if any of its NHL guys have injury issues.

For instance, Pierre-Marc Bouchard is feeling good. But he has been out for more than a year. He hasn't been cleared to play yet and hasn't passed the final big hurdle -- real contact. So would he be able to play right away if there's only a seven-day camp with no exhibition games?

Maybe that opens the door for a Jason Zucker or a Charlie Coyle or a Johan Larsson. All three have been great in Houston. Others playing real well down there up front include Justin Fontaine, who has an upper-body injury, Nick Palmieri and David McIntyre.

If the lockout ends, the Wild will likely sign Palmieri, who is on an AHL deal, to an NHL deal. He has been that good. Nine goals, playing a big man's game, driving the net, using his size, says GM Chuck Fletcher. He's liked McIntyre, too, saying, he's been consistent, a pest, a great penalty killer. He is plus-15.

Today was the eight-week checkup for defenseman Jonas Brodin, who underwent surgery for a broken collarbone. If all went well, the hope was he good intensify his upper-body strength training. He has been skating. But obviously, he would start in Houston some time down the road and isn't a candidate to start with the Wild if there's a season.

More and more players are starting to roll into town in case the season starts. Tom Gilbert, who lives in Madison is back. Devin Setoguchi tweeted he is in town.

Mikko Koivu is back in Finland and only returning if a deal is struck.

In Gophers news, I'll be at availability Thursday, but I had Don Lucia on KFAN today and he said Erik Haula will likely miss at least the next 3 games. The hope is he is back by the North Dakota series Jan. 18-19.

Remember, the world junior championships continue in the wee hours of Thursday morning with a 3 a.m. semifinal showdown between Canada and the U.S. It's on NHL Network and NHL.com live.

Be there or be square.


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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