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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Granlund, Heatley, Kassian score in scrimmage; Bouchard, Dumba, Aeros updates

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild news, Wild training camp Updated: January 14, 2013 - 8:52 PM

 

Mikael Granlund and Dany Heatley exchanged power-play goals and Matt Kassian scored the winning for the green team in Monday night’s scrimmage at the X.
 
Pierre-Marc Bouchard assisted on both power-play tallies (when there were power plays, if pieces of units were on opposite teams, those parts would join the other team for the power play. That’s how Bouchard got helpers for different teams. That make sense?)
 
Bouchard looked great, got some contact tonight and continues to work toward getting cleared to return opening night. Coach Mike Yeo is real encouraged.
 
Both goalies, Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding, looked good tonight.
 
Granlund, playing between Matt Cullen and Devin Setoguchi, scored off a nice wrister.
“He’s got a couple things to learn with puck management, but you have to be careful you don’t handcuff him,” Yeo said. “Sometimes he does things you don’t quite see or quite expect. He’s dangerous in a lot of ways.”
 
Yeo was real pleased with the tenacity on the ice.
 
“We wanted a hard game and we wanted to see some focus and some execution of our systems and our overall gameplan,” Yeo said. “I’m just real pleased with the work ethic the guys had.”
 
The Wild is videoing practice, and Yeo said the staff would pull some good clips from this to reinforce the system.
 
“Far from perfect by any means, but that’s to be expected,” Yeo said. “For where we’re at two days into this, quite happy so far.”
 
Remember, Wednesday night’s free scrimmage is at 7. Doors open at 6. The Wild has, for now, suspended ticket distribution due to high demand. If the season-ticket holders don’t use them up, they’ll open up some more.
 
“We’re excited to see some fans in the crowd,” Heatley said. “I think there’s a pretty good buzz here. They’ve been waiting a lot of time for this team to come out.”
 
If you can’t get in, it will be televised on Fox Sports North and broadcast on KFAN.
 
Monday’s scrimmage featured Houston Aeros players littered through both teams. It was their fourth game in four games after chartering to Minnesota on Monday.
 
Essentially, they are guinea pigs as the Wild prepares for opening night.
 
Yeo met with the Aeros before the game. Certain players like Jason Zucker, Charlie Coyle and Johan Larsson probably deserve a shot to make the team, but in a condensed training camp with every roster spot largely filled, they’re not getting a chance.
 
Yeo explained to the Aeros, “This is not a [fair] training camp. This is not a team evaluation of sorts. This is team preparation and getting ready for Game One. They’re a part of that and we need them to be part of that.”
 
Matt Dumba looked real good today, although he did get a welcome-to-the-bigs hit from Jake Dowell early in the scrimmage.
 
“He is going to be a really, really good player,” Yeo said of Dumba. “It’s a big jump. One week you’re playing junior hockey and the next week you’re coming out playing against world class players. I think he’s done a real nice job. You can see his strengths. He had that one great shift in the offensive zone. They controlled the puck down there for 45 seconds, to a minute, and a lot of it was going through him on the blue line. He has a great shot and he skates extremely well.”
 
Asked if there’s a chance he sticks past this week, Yeo said, “Just going with an open mind. All the D played very well. All of them.”
 
I did a story on the defense, particularly Justin Falk and Nate Prosser, in Tuesday’s newspaper, so please check that out. There’s also a notebook leading with Bouchard’s play tonight.
 
OK, that’s it for now. I will talk to you after Tuesday’s practice.
 
-------------------------
 
More from the Wild on Wednesday night:

To help ensure a great experience for all fans, the Wild released additional details about the special offer available at The Hockey Lodge stores this Wednesday.

-Sale is while supplies last and includes floor stock only

-Strict limit of one jersey per person – NO Exceptions. Inventory of Player Name and Number Jerseys is limited to items on the floor only

- No other discounts apply or are able to be combined with the 50% offer

- All sales are FINAL. Size exchanges only.

-The Hockey Lodge Store hours for Wednesday - Maplewood Mall Open 10AM – 9PM, Burnsville Center Open 10AM – 9PM, Main Store at Xcel Energy Center 8AM – 5PM (after 5PM Wednesday, only guests holding a ticket to the Red vs White Intra-Squad Scrimmage will be able to access the store.

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