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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Pominville to debut tonight in Los Angeles; Possible Wild lineup

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild pregame skate Updated: April 4, 2013 - 4:26 PM
 
Jason Pominville, wearing No. 29, will make his Wild debut tonight alongside Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu here at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. He hopes that just like Ryane Clowe in New York last night, adrenaline will trump fatigue after this morning’s cross-country jaunt to the City of Angels.
 
His good buddy and former linemate, Thomas Vanek, drove him to the airport in the wee hours of the morning in Buffalo.
 
“It was a shock, even though I kind of had a little bit of feeling that it might happen,” said Pominville, who supplied a list of eight teams he would not go to last week to Sabres GM Darcy Regier. “It’s still a shock. Obviously, really excited to come to this team, this organization, this city, where they’re doing whatever it takes to win, and they’re heading in the right direction. They’ve had a lot of success so far and hopefully I can just fit in and add to the puzzle.”
 
Asked why he didn’t include the Wild on that list, “It’s obviously a great city to play hockey in, all the guys I talked to from here, they have nothing but good to say about the city and organization. With the steps they took this summer to add some big players to their roster, I think they’re willing to do whatever it takes to win and I think that excites you as a player. It’s a place you want to come to. Anytime you have a chance to win, those teams are going to be on top of most guys’ lists.”
 
Pominville has a wife and two kids. This is the first time in his career he has been traded, and he didn’t realize what an upheaval it causes until it happens. I think we all forget that. Same thing with Johan Larsson and Matt Hackett.
 
“There’s a lot of things that come with it,” Pominville said. “You don’t realize it until it happens. Obviously the wife and kids and your house and all your stuff. Your clothes, what do you bring? What do you do with your house? what do you do with everything in the house? The bottom line is I’m here to play hockey and I’ve got to focus on what I have to do and let my wife take care of the rest,” he said, laughing.
 
On playing with Parise and Koivu, Pominville said he didn’t know the lines yet, but “They have a lot of talent. I think Mikko’s probably one of the most underrated players in the league. Tremendous playmaking ability, good speed, he can play any situation. Zach, we all know what he can bring. On the puck, he can score goals, he can play in any situation, tough guy to play against.”
 
He said he just wants to fit in on the ice and in the locker room. Ask any reporter who covered him or any player who has played with him, that won’t be a problem.
 
By the way, got some questions why a Canadian was able to play with Parise on a line for the U.S. in the 2008 world, he said his mom is from … Green Bay!!! … and he has dual citizenship.
 
Don’t hold this little fact against him!
 
Lineup news, not for sure, but the Wild help an optional and we will get Mike Yeo at 5:30 p.m. PT. But since I had a five-minute conversation with a very loose Darcy Kuemper, I’ll guess Niklas Backstrom gets the start in the second of back-to-back.
 
It looked to me like Justin Falk will be scratched as well as Nate Prosser, meaning struggling Clayton Stoner will play. Like I said on the previous blog, he has struggled mightily since his plus-5 a few Mondays ago in Dallas, so I’m not sure why he’s being treated like Teflon. I know the respect level for him and the need for physicality, but his game has been troubling.
 
Brett Clark would play.
 
Lines, my guess now is a little different from this morning:
 
Pierre-Marc Bouchard-Kyle Brodziak-Devin Setoguchi
Cal Clutterbuck-Mikael Granlund-Charlie Coyle
Mike Rupp-Zenon Konopka-Torrey Mitchell
 
As I reported on the previous blog, Marc-Edouard Vlasic had a hearing and was indeed fined $8378.38 for the slash on injured Dany Heatley.

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