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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Dumba invited to Wild training camp; Live chat rescheduled for Tuesday; CBA update

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild news, Wild training camp Updated: January 7, 2013 - 8:47 PM

The Wild has invited 2012 first-round pick Matt Dumba to training camp, General Manager Chuck Fletcher. While it's uncertain right now when training camp will be, Dumba will most likely leave WHL Red Deer and arrive in the Twin Cities by Friday.

The hard-hitting defenseman is fifth on the Rebels with 23 points (10 goals) in 41 games after scoring 57 points in 69 games a year ago. He had a slow start to the season, but the Rebels made an assistant coaching change and he's apparently been improved since. He was cut from Canada's world junior selection camp last month.

Dumba signed a three-year deal in July and here is the story I wrote the night he was drafted last June in Pittsburgh.

I'll talk to the team more about this Tuesday. The Wild is thin on defense right now with Marco Scandella hurt. It signed veteran Paul Mara to an AHL deal today, so we'll see if that ever turns into an NHL deal. My guess is that Dumba will be here for the experience (to give him a taste) and eventually wind up back in Red Deer, but we will see. The Wild says it's set no limits for Dumba.

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Apologies for postponing today's chat. It will now be Tuesday at 1 p.m. on startribune.com/wild. Please join.

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I have gotten a lot of questions about Jason Zucker, Charlie Coyle, etc., and the chance of them making the team right out of camp. Barring injuries or trades in camp, it's unlikely. Just take a look at the depth chart and it's very clear there's no obvious open spots if Pierre-Marc Bouchard is ready. And he hopes to be. Mikael Granlund is expected to land the one open spot at second-line center.

But, inevitably, there's always something that happens and the good news is the Wild has a ton of depth this year in the minors if it runs into performance or injury problems.

For all the scenes from today's skate at the X and notes on Bouchard, Josh Harding, Scandella, etc., please read the coverage in Tuesday's paper and www.startribune.com/wild. I wrote two stories.

Also, I did a father-son story on Gophers coach Don Lucia and Notre Dame freshman Mario Lucia, who play each other Tuesday night at Mariucci, in Tuesday's paper.

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A memorandum of understanding is expected to be complete Tuesday and the owners are expected to ratify the CBA at a Board of Governors meeting Wednesday.

The NHLPA is delaying matters though, conducting an electronic vote that may not end until Saturday. I don't really understand why that takes so long. The players basically have a simple smartphone app that would allow them to vote.
 
Regardless, this will delay the start of training camp until Saturday or Sunday, meaning a 48-game schedule rather than a 50-game schedule almost assuredly won’t begin until Jan. 19. This also delays the release of the schedule, something fans are yearning for, teams need to conduct business (distribute and sell tickets, book planes, hotels, buses, TV trucks, broadcast slots, etc.) and beat writers need to book travel.
 
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I've obtained the email owner Craig Leipold sent to season-ticket holders today.
 
As you know, the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players' Association reached agreement on the framework of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement early Sunday morning. Like you, we are looking forward to final approval and ratification of this new agreement.

On behalf of the entire Wild organization, I want to thank you for your patience and your passion for our sport. I understand your frustration over the lengthy CBA negotiations and shortened season. I know that we have some work to do to earn your faith once again. Let me assure you that we’ll work harder than ever to do just that as we welcome you back to Xcel Energy Center. You’ll be receiving information over the next several days through our Fan Relations team about some special benefits we’ll be implementing to welcome you back.

I look forward to the much-anticipated debut of the new and improved Minnesota Wild. I’ll be there in my usual seat and can’t wait to hear those three words we’ve been waiting too long for—"Let’s Play Hockey!"

Sincerely,

Craig Leipold

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