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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Bouchard, Gilbert "good to go" in Saturday's season opener vs. Colorado

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild news, Wild player moves, Wild training camp Updated: January 18, 2013 - 6:49 PM

With Hockey Day Minnesota getting off to an unofficial start this evening as the Gophers host rival North Dakota, the Wild is ready to open the 2013 season Saturday night at 8 p.m. against the Northwest Division rival Colorado Avalanche.

It'll be the nightcap to Hockey Day on Fox Sports North.

We have a lot of coverage in Saturday's paper, including my season advance on how the Wild says it's time for the organization to take the next step and end its four-year playoff drought.

Each player got undershirts that read, "TAKE THE NEXT STEP. NO EXCUSES."

Also, Chip Scoggins wrote a real good column on Mikko Koivu and how he's handling almost being overshadowed as captain and I wrote a notebook on a number of subjects and of course a preview box on the game.

The news of the day:

-- Tom Gilbert (groin) says he is "good to go," meaning Matt Dumba likely won't make his NHL debut.

-- Pierre-Marc Bouchard is excited to play his first game in more than a year.

-- Coach Mike Yeo said Matt Kassian will likely not play, but Yeo did say that if Colorado brought a tough lineup, which may include minor-league fighter Patrick Bordeleau, than Kassian may be in the lineup. My guess: If that's the case, maybe Darroll Powe won't play because Kassian could take his left-wing spot and Zenon Konopka and Torrey Mitchell are a PK pair.

The Wild is 10-0-1 in home openers AT Xcel Energy Center (I put that caveat because technically the Wild didn't win its "home opener" against Carolina in Helsinki), including 10 consecutive wins.

Niklas Backstrom (20-5-2 all-time vs. Colorado) vs. Semyon Varlamov (4-0 against the Wild) on Saturday.

I will be on KFAN at 12:55 p.m. AND 6:45 p.m. Saturday and I will now be a contributor all season periodically on Fox Sports North. I should be on Saturday at 3:45 p.m.ish depending on when the high school game ends.

Talk to you Saturday. Opening Night everybody. Finally!


Baltimore 2 FINAL
Detroit 15
NY Yankees 5 FINAL
Philadelphia 5
Northeastern 1 FINAL
Boston 2
Miami-Fla 1 FINAL
Miami 7
Pittsburgh 8 FINAL
Toronto 7
San Francisco 4 FINAL
Oakland 9
Cleveland 0 FINAL
Cincinnati 10
Boston College 0 FINAL
Boston 1
Arizona State 0 FINAL
Arizona 4
Boston 79 FINAL
Cleveland 110
LA Lakers 103 FINAL
Charlotte 104
Sacramento 124 FINAL
New York 86
Houston 96 FINAL
Atlanta 104
Utah 93 FINAL
Memphis 82
Washington 92 FINAL
Chicago 97
Milwaukee 76 4th Qtr 7:29
Denver 87
Nashville 1 FINAL
New Jersey 3
Calgary 3 FINAL(OT)
Philadelphia 2
Washington 5 FINAL
Columbus 3
Buffalo 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay 3
Toronto 3 FINAL
Florida 2
Ottawa 2 FINAL(SO)
Minnesota 3
NY Islanders 1 3rd Prd 2:42
Dallas 2
Anaheim 2 3rd Prd 17:41
Arizona 1
Los Angeles 4 2nd Prd 3:01
Edmonton 1
San Jose 3 2nd Prd
Vancouver 0
Ole Miss 82 FINAL
Alabama 74
Eastern Mich 67 FINAL
Ball State 60
Kent State 81 FINAL
Bowling Green 80
Ohio 66 FINAL
Buffalo 93
Georgetown 60 FINAL
Butler 54
Toledo 77 FINAL
Central Mich 85
Rhode Island 59 FINAL
Dayton 75
Youngstown St 67 FINAL
Detroit 77
North Carolina 81 FINAL
Georgia Tech 49
Loyola-Maryland 45 FINAL
Holy Cross 62
Iowa 77 FINAL
Indiana 63
Akron 63 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 70
Army 52 FINAL
Navy 56
Maryland 60 FINAL
Rutgers 50
Kennesaw St 54 FINAL
USC Upstate 90
Jacksonville 63 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 81
Lipscomb 76 FINAL
Northern Ky 73
Stetson 67 FINAL
North Florida 81
Wright State 57 FINAL
Ill-Chicago 60
Western Mich 63 FINAL
Northern Ill 65
Nebraska Omaha 80 FINAL
North Dakota 78
Houston Baptist 71 FINAL
Abilene Christian 83
NC State 56 2nd Half 1:28
Clemson 44
Texas A&M 52 2nd Half 0:48
Florida 60
Kentucky 62 2nd Half 3:25
Georgia 62
West Virginia 55 2nd Half 4:51
Kansas 49
Auburn 61 FINAL
Missouri 63
Michigan 59 1st OT 5:54
Northwestern 61
Villanova 60 2nd Half 7:39
Creighton 53
Longwood 55 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 63
Charleston Southern 39 FINAL
Presbyterian 47
Coastal Carolina 54 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 68
UMass Lowell 60
West Virginia 55 FINAL
Kansas State 59
Texas 79
Fresno State 61 FINAL
Air Force 41
San Jose St 76 FINAL
Boise State 91
Nevada 61 FINAL
Colorado State 68
UNLV 50 2nd Half 1:35
San Diego State 69
Wyoming 61 FINAL
Utah State 57
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