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.

Also find Russo on Facebook.

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Wild ticket and merchandise sales soaring

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild news Updated: January 16, 2013 - 2:23 PM

Half a day into the first day of single-game ticket sales, and Chief Operating Officer Matt Majka says the Wild's already had the biggest "on-sale" day in franchise history.

Majka wouldn't provide a figure, but he says he is blown away.

"We honestly didn't know what to expect," said Majka, referring to the fact that the team didn't know how fans would respond after the 113-day lockout wiped out 17 home games.

"The State of Hockey has responded remarkably. It's just crazy what's going on," Majka said. "We are extremely grateful and humbled, but we know we continue to have a lot of work to do to earn everybody's trust and faith again."

Also, as all the Hockey Lodge locations hold a 50% off sale today on in-stock merchandise, it's clear items are flying off the shelves. From my eyes at the X, it's been beyond packed. And reports and pictures from Twitter demonstrate the same thing at the other locations.

I just came back from lunch and there's already a handful of fans sitting down in front of Gate 1 in order to get good seats for tonight's 7 p.m. scrimmage. Doors don't open til 6.

Remember, it'll be on Fox Sports North and KFAN.

Tonight in the scrimmage, three periods with 18 minute intermissions, an overtime and a shootout.

The shootout will be interesting this year. That extra point will be precious in a shortened season, and the Wild has some shootout studs in Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise, Matt Cullen, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and, of course, Mikael Granlund.

Mike Yeo has been watching the shootouts in practice to gather his lists for games, and he said he'll be paying attention to individual player stats vs. opposing goalies as well.

In practice this week, I've seen some nice shootout goals from Ryan Suter, Kyle Brodziak, Cal Clutterbuck and Torrey Mitchell.

Talk later. If you get NHL Network, I'll be on NHL Live today at 4 and NHL Tonight at 9 (I think that's replayed on a loop).

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