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.

Postgame thoughts after Wild's 1-0 loss to Chicago

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild game coverage Updated: April 9, 2013 - 11:21 PM
The Wild held the NHL’s best offensive and defensive team to one goal tonight here at the X but couldn’t muster up a goal of its own and fell 1-0 because of it.
 
The Wild picked off several passes at center-ice to get on the attack, but it just couldn’t sustain anything close to sustained pressure and were beaten to or outbattled on most offensive-zone loose pucks. That led to a lot of offensive-zone time for the Blackhawks.
 
Still, this game had the feel of one big mistake costing one of the teams, and Clayton Stoner committed that faux pas when Marian Hossa read and reacted perfectly to his attempted cross-ice pass to Mikko Koivu.
 
Hossa picked off the ugly pass and used a quick release to beat Niklas Backstrom five-hole for the game’s only goal with 4:46 left in the second period.
 
The crowd groaned, especially when it became clear it was Stoner, who has been so maligned lately got a string of poor games with the puck. My Twitter mentions went into overdrive.
 
Coach Mike Yeo didn’t protect him after the game because there was no hiding the blunder. He said he would talk it over with his staff if he could keep playing him. My initial guess is Stoner keeps playing. The left-shot D behind him – other than Marco Scandella in the minors – are Justin Falk and Brett Clark, and the Wild hasn’t shown the confidence to give them top-4 minutes.
 
Right-shot D Tom Gilbert can play top-4 minutes, but he has struggled bigtime lately and can he play the left side? And Yeo has indicated over and over that Stoner’s issues have been with the puck and that he brings a hard-to-play against, physical, positional element that is valuable.
 
The problem is this is hockey. He’s a defenseman. Defensemen have to play with the puck.
 
Yeo said he has no concern about his blue-line depth (the Wild’s given up one goal in two games and held Patrick Sharp, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and the Blackhawks’ horde of other scorers to goose eggs tonight.
 
So the key is to keep this in perspective. The Wild played the best team in the league, was in position to win the game but “blinked first.”
 
Offensively, the Wild didn’t win enough battles, weren’t opportunistic, especially on one second-period sequence when ice-cold Cal Clutterbuck couldn’t bury a loose puck he squeezed into the crease. He has one goal since Feb. 9.
 
The first line didn’t seem in sync tonight, the second line, especially Devin Setoguchi, misses Matt Cullen badly (Yeo said he’s getting closer, and Chuck Fletcher seemed to indicate that if Cullen had his way, he would like to play Thursday or Saturday, but the team may not feel comfortable risking his long-term health).
 
But sorry, it’s time to figure out a way to get Jason Zucker back. The Wild needs his speed, energy and clutch goal scoring.
 
While it’s easy to overreact to this loss, I still wouldn’t. One mistake cost them against arguably the best team in the league.
 
Still, the Wild has lost five of seven, is now seventh in the West and only five points up on ninth (Dallas). Two big games coming up against St. Louis and Columbus, which won big tonight. And the home game before this, the Wild laid a giant egg against the big, bad Blues.
 
Dany Heatley is indeed out for the year. What this means for his future in Minnesota now becomes cloudy. He has one year left on his deal at $7.5 million with $5 million in real money. Way too premature now to speculate. There will be time for that after the season.
 
Tough loss for a guy that almost never misses games.
 
“It's going to be a big blow,” Setoguchi said. “Not many guys in this room have played in the playoffs, so losing Heater is huge. He’s positive all the time, he plays big minutes, he's a big guy, you can't get the puck off him, he scores big goals.
 
“No one wants to miss a year, especially with his track record [of playing every game].”
 
The Wild has its team picture Wednesday morning. Talk to you after the noon practice.

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles - R. Hernandez 12:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - F. Doubront
Detroit - M. Scherzer 12:05 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Philadelphia - J. Williams 3:05 PM
Oakland - D. Pomeranz
Toronto - M. Stroman 3:05 PM
NY Yankees - C. Capuano
Arizona - T. Cahill 3:10 PM
Colorado - E. Butler
Boston - R. De La Rosa 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Milwaukee - M. Garza 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Washington - J. Zimmermann 6:10 PM
Miami - J. Cosart
NY Mets - J. Niese 6:10 PM
Atlanta - M. Minor
Chicago WSox - H. Noesi 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - C. Archer
Cleveland - T. House 6:10 PM
Minnesota - T. May
Seattle - C. Young 6:10 PM
Houston - D. Keuchel
Cincinnati - M. Leake 6:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Wacha
San Francisco - Y. Petit 7:40 PM
San Diego - A. Cashner
Texas - C. Lewis 8:05 PM
LA Angels - J. Weaver
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
(5) Auburn 20 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 14
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Old Dominion 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) 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
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Vancouver FC 4:00 PM
Portland
Houston 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
New England 6:30 PM
Columbus
San Jose 6:30 PM
Montreal
Seattle 6:30 PM
Red Bull New York
D.C. 7:30 PM
Chicago
FC Dallas 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
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