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.

Email Michael to talk about hockey.

Zucker scores first NHL goal, Kuemper wins first NHL game as Wild rallies to beat Detroit

Posted by: Michael Russo under On the road, Wild game coverage Updated: February 17, 2013 - 10:03 PM
Wild fans needed this one.
 
Not just the 3-2 win over Detroit. That’s obvious. But the reminder that as aggravating as this inconsistent start for the Wild has been considering the raised expectations, the future really is bright.
 
We all live in the now. So it’s easy to forget how many kids the Wild has coming. And not just the kids you saw tonight and the kids down on the farm like Coyle and Bulmer and Hackett and Fontaine, etc., but all the guys that aren’t even pro yet – Haula and Lucia, Dumba and Bussieres, Graovac and Gilmour, Gustafsson and Gunnarsson, and so on and so on.
 
Jason Zucker reminded with energy, electrifying speed and a highlight reel goal. Honestly, how about this for a first NHL goal?
 
 
Johan Larsson was great tonight. Gritty, physical, works his butt off. Was on in the last two minutes, which shows coach Mike Yeo’s confidence. Reminds me of Sami Pahlsson when he was a rock for Anaheim in the early-2000s.
 
Darcy Kuemper brushed off two goals and made 29 saves for his first NHL win. He found out with five minutes left in warmups that he was starting because Niklas Backstrom caught the flu that is trickling through this team. In recent days, Ryan Suter has had it, Zach Parise, then Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Justin Falk. Yeo indicated a number of guys weren’t feeling the greatest tonight.
 
Mikael Granlund another assist on Torrey Mitchell’s winning goal to extend his point streak to three games.
 
And Jonas Brodin is just an absolute stud on the back end. He did seem to hurt his arm late in the game, but the Wild says he is OK. The Wild broke up the Ryan Suter-Brodin pair in the first period. That lasted until five minutes left when Suter and Jared Spurgeon had the rockiest shift ever without a goal being scored. Two icings and a 2-on-0 that Kuemper saved their bacon with a breakaway save on Cory Emmerton.
 
Yeo felt the Wild respected the Red Wings too much in the first after Damien Brunner scored. He said they basically spent the period watching.
 
Then, after Pavel Datsyuk scored 20 seconds into the second, Yeo said the Wild got “ticked,” began to be more engaged physically and began shooting. A huge shift by the Zach Parise-Mikko Koivu-Dany Heatley turned the game around and Heatley tied the score with his first goal since Jan. 27 to snap a career-worst, nine-game goal drought.
 
Then Zucker and Mitchell scored 32 seconds apart.

Read Jim Souhan’s column on Zucker in Monday’s paper. It’s a good one, and the best part about the confident kid, he loves to shoot. That should fit in well on this pass-happy team.
 
I asked him how tough it has been not getting the call despite tearing up the AHL. He said, “I think it’s all part of [development]. It’s the first time I had to battle this adversity. I didn’t know what it took to get called up or what it takes to get sent down. I have no idea. It’s my first year, so I’m trying to learn the ropes.”
 
He said the coaches and Houston GM Jim Mill were great with communication, especially when Charlie Coyle got the call over him.
 
Kuemper was a great story tonight. He had no clue he was starting until late in warmups and Backstrom couldn’t go. You can read that anecdote in the game story.
 
“We throw Kuemps into a pretty difficult situation and the way he responded was terrific,” Yeo said. “I thought he got better as the game went on. I thought he was huge in the fourth minute PK [on a Devin Setoguchi] high stick.”
 
Big win for the Wild to rally from 2-0 down. The Wild plays six of the next eight on the road starting in Edmonton on Thursday, so they needed a confidence boost, maybe a season-momentum turner.
 
“I’m not going to sit here and say that this makes our season,” Yeo said. “We’ve still got a lot of work to do, but this is huge.”
 
He said we saw both the Wild’s games tonight. “The first part we weren’t quite sure of ourselves. And I can’t say that we necessarily have full confidence in ourselves. … The toughest part is fighting through that. But we’re not far away. I know that. … We’re very close to where our game needs to be, but we’re not there yet.”
 
The Wild will not practice Monday, especially when so many guys are sick. Barring news, I’ll be back with you Tuesday. I will be in-studio Tuesday with Paul Allen at 9 a.m., so please tune in then.

ADVERTISEMENT

Toronto - LP: D. Hutchison 2 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Tanaka 5
Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 2 FINAL
Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi 1
NY Mets - WP: J. deGrom 10 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: E. Santana 2
Boston - WP: J. Kelly 3 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: M. Gonzalez 2
Milwaukee - LP: W. Peralta 0 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 1
Chicago WSox - WP: J. Danks 10 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: N. Karns 5
Cleveland - WP: C. Kluber 7 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: A. Swarzak 2
Detroit - LP: R. Porcello 2 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Guthrie 5
Seattle - LP: H. Iwakuma 3 FINAL
Houston - WP: C. McHugh 8
Los Angeles - WP: C. Perez 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Turner 5
Texas - WP: S. Tolleson 2 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: H. Street 1
Philadelphia - LP: M. Gonzalez 6 FINAL
Oakland - WP: S. Doolittle 8
San Francisco - LP: R. Vogelsong 2 FINAL
San Diego - WP: I. Kennedy 8
Arizona - LP: W. Miley 3 FINAL
Colorado - WP: C. Bergman 8
Cincinnati - WP: A. Simon 7 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: L. Lynn 2
San Diego 22 FINAL
Buffalo 10
Dallas 34 FINAL
St. Louis 31
Washington 34 FINAL
Philadelphia 37
Houston 17 FINAL
NY Giants 30
Minnesota 9 FINAL
New Orleans 20
Tennessee 7 FINAL
Cincinnati 33
Baltimore 23 FINAL
Cleveland 21
Green Bay 7 FINAL
Detroit 19
Indianapolis 44 FINAL
Jacksonville 17
Oakland 9 FINAL
New England 16
San Francisco 14 FINAL
Arizona 23
Denver 20 FINAL
Seattle 26
Kansas City 34 FINAL
Miami 15
Pittsburgh 37 FINAL
Carolina 19
Chicago 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Columbus 4 FINAL
Carolina 3
Buffalo 0 FINAL
Washington 1
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Columbus 4
Calgary 1 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Edmonton 0 FINAL
Calgary 1
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(12) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(9) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
North Carolina 41 FINAL
(23) East Carolina 70
Army 21 FINAL
Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(20) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
SMU 6
Rutgers 31 FINAL
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 FINAL
Kansas 24
Utah 26 FINAL
Michigan 10
Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
Louisville 34 FINAL
FIU 3
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
Missouri 27
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Minnesota 24
Texas State 35 FINAL
Illinois 42
Massachusetts 7 FINAL
Penn State 48
Georgia State 14 FINAL
Washington 45
Appalachian St 20 FINAL
Southern Miss 21
(14) Miss State 34 FINAL
(17) LSU 29
Northern Ill 14 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Middle Tennessee 17 FINAL
Memphis 36
Utah State 14 FINAL
Arkansas State 21
Miami-Ohio 24 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Idaho 24 FINAL
Ohio U 36
Ball State 23 FINAL
Toledo 34
(13) So Carolina 48 FINAL
Vanderbilt 34
(4) Oklahoma 45 FINAL
West Virginia 33
Ga Southern 28 FINAL
South Alabama 6
UNLV 14 FINAL
Houston 47
Miami-Florida 31 FINAL
(21) Nebraska 41
New Mexico 38 FINAL
New Mexico St 35
Clemson 17 FINAL
(1) Florida State 23
California 45 FINAL
Arizona 49
San Diego St 7 FINAL
Oregon State 28
(2) Oregon 38 FINAL
Washington St 31
Louisiana 9 FINAL
Boise State 34
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Chivas USA 0 FINAL
Toronto FC 3
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 15 FINAL
Montreal 31
Ottawa 32 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT