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.

Wild wins, it's in: Pominville out, Rupp returns tonight vs. Edmonton

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild pregame skate Updated: April 26, 2013 - 12:18 PM
Oh, the drama.
 
The Columbus Blue Jackets won last night, meaning the Wild now controls its own destiny.
 
Two games left. One win and in.
 
The Wild can take care of business tonight against the Edmonton Oilers, who have won once in the past 10 games, scoring 13 goals in that stretch, and four of those came in the lone win at Colorado. The Wild is 19-1 in its past 20 at home vs. the Oilers. Niklas Backstrom is 17-0 at home vs. the Oilers with a 1.34 goals against average and .948 save percentage; 25-3-1 all-time vs. them.
 
“Nobody really expected us to get any help,” center Kyle Brodziak said. “The teams that are fighting for the playoffs spots, you’ve got to expect them to be winning games. … We knew we would have to do the same tonight. We set the bar of how we need to play to be successful. We beat the Stanley Cup champs [Tuesday] playing a certain way and we’ve got to expect to have to play like that to be able to beat Edmonton tonight.”
 
The Wild needs to win tonight. It’s the regular-season home finale, so you want to do it in front of the sold-out home crowd. Plus, you also want to try to win the last two to ensure that you avoid President’s Trophy-winning Chicago. You do not want to go into Colorado tomorrow having to win. That game – maybe Milan Hejduk’s last in the NHL – will be like the Final to the Avs, kind of like a few years ago when the Wild knocked off Dallas to eliminate the Stars and put the Blackhawks in.
 
A few days later, a Bud Light truck pulled up to former Wild forward Andrew Brunette’s Woodbury home with a thank-you gift from Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville.
 
Again, the simplest scenarios are this:
 
--Wild goes 2-0 and San Jose loses in regulation tomorrow at Los Angeles, and the Wild finishes sixth and plays Vancouver.
--Wild goes 2-0 and San Jose gets a point, the Wild finishes seventh and plays Anaheim
--Wild goes 1-1 (regulation, overtime or shootout win) and Detroit loses at Dallas Saturday in regulation, overtime or shootout), the Wild finishes seventh because of tiebreaker.
--Wild goes 1-1 and Detroit beats Dallas, the Wild finishes eighth.
--Wild goes 0-2 and Columbus loses in regulation to Nashville Saturday, the Wild finishes eighth.
--Wild goes 0-2 and Columbus gets a point Saturday, Wild is eliminated.
I’m not going to do the 1-0-1 scenarios right now.
First things first, win tonight, the Wild’s in and we’ll figure out the rest.
 
Either way, if the Wild wins tonight, we won’t know the Wild’s opponent until we see what the Wild does at Colorado tonight AND we see the outcomes of the San Jose-Los Angeles; Detroit-Dallas; Colorado-Nashville games.
 
“This is exciting. What more do you need to say?” coach Mike Yeo said. “We have to be ready to come and play a great game. We’ve got a chance to reach the goal of making the playoffs and to do it in front of our home crowd, it should be an exciting night.”
 
Jason Pominville will miss tonight’s game with what is obviously a head injury. The Wild’s still not saying concussion though and as I tweeted yesterday, Pominville says he’s just OK and the Wild will obviously play it safe.
 
Mike Rupp has declared himself ready to return from a knee injury tonight. That means Mike Rupp insurance Carson McMillan won’t play.
 
Torrey Mitchell will move up from the fourth line and take Pominville’s spot on the Pierre-Marc Bouchard-Brodziak line.
 
“I still have to play the same hard, structured type of game,” Brodziak said. “You lose a guy as important as [Pominville] is to our team, it’s tough to overcome. At the same time, a guy like Mitchell is an unbelievable player too. He’s a guy who hasn’t had all the greatest opportunity to show that this year, but everybody knows what he’s capable of.”
 
Brodziak called Mitchell, the former San Jose Sharks forward, a “fast, relentless forechecker, a very smart hockey player who knows where he’s got to be all over the ice.”
 
Yeo said on that line, Mitchell also knows his role is to go north with pucks and get to the net.
 
By the way, for the first time since Jacques Lemaire won the Jack Adams in 2003, the Wild has a chance to have guys go after multiple awards. The Wild is campaigning hard for Ryan Suter and Jonas Brodin to win the Norris and Calder, respectively, and honestly, Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu should get some Selke votes (Wes Walz was a finalist once) and guys like Matt Cullen and Jared Spurgeon should get tabs for the Lady Byng.
 
On Suter and Brodin, Yeo said, “To me, they’re tap-ins. It’s automatic, and I could add a couple other guys for lists for awards.”
 
Yeo then caught himself (my fault, I asked the question): “I’d prefer once the season is over to talk about this because right now the only award that anybody wants is the team one. We have an opportunity to get ourselves into the playoffs tonight and again, it’s an exciting day.”
 
Talk to you tonight. I’ll be on Dan Barreiro’s show on KFAN at 4:35 p.m. and on NHL Network live from the arena cam at 5:40 p.m.

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 9/22/14 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