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.

Goalie drama before Wild's must-win Game 5 against Blackhawks

Posted by: Michael Russo under Stanley Cup, Wild pregame skate Updated: May 9, 2013 - 1:41 PM
There was some wacky and wild goalie drama at today’s pregame skate for tonight’s must-win Game 5 of the Western Conference quarters against the Chicago Blackhawks.
 
Josh Harding, who left Game 4 after the first period with a lower-body injury, had one cage. Niklas Backstrom and Darcy Kuemper shared the other.
 
That was a clear indication that Harding was starting. Next, Harding took shots from the D toward the tail end of the skate. That usually cinches who is starting.
 
But slowly but surely, it became clearer that Harding was laboring. As Harding took shots, head coach Mike Yeo and goalie Bob Mason were talking and watching Harding. Suddenly, they turned and began watching Backstrom at the other end of the United Center’s rink. He, too, looked to be having bigtime trouble pushing off.
 
Yeo and Mason turned back and watched Harding. Harding skated over, began chatting with them. Finally, Yeo skated over to Backstrom and had a long conversation with him.
 
The final decision? Harding will start tonight with Kuemper backing up.
 
Why Harding? “We don’t know how he feels, but you have to trust him, and he says that he is good to go and there was absolutely no doubt about it, so that’s what we were looking for,” Yeo said.
 
On the crazy goalie drama, Yeo said, smiling, “You don’t know what we were talking about. I think we might have been talking about what we were having for lunch today.”
 
Yeo then turned serious and said, “This is what we’ve been dealt, but we were able to figure it out and now we should push all that stuff behind us. Bottom line is we’ve got 20 guys going into the game. No excuses whatsoever on our part. You’re in the lineup, you’re there for a reason, and we’ve got a group that is more than capable of winning this hockey game tonight.”
 
Defenseman Ryan Suter has never seen anything like the Wild’s postseason goalie situation, saying, “It’s too bad you have to deal with that. There’s so many distractions already. For us, we know whoever’s in net, we have to play hard and play our best if we want to win this game tonight. That’s been our attitude all year. It’s just someone different in net. Obviously it’s not Backy, who’s been there all year. Whoever it is, we have to go out and defend well and play in the offensive zone.”
 
Zach Parise said, laughing, “Honestly I don’t know who’s playing tonight.”
 
The Blackhawks expect the Wild’s best game. Yeo said, “If we can win this game, obviously we’d still be behind, some of the pressure would shift. We have to have a good focus of how to make that happen.”
 
Yeo noted that the Wild has been in similar situations. “Game 3, we knew without a doubt we had to win that game, and we played our best game of the series. Game 48, we knew we had to win that hockey game and we were able to go out and perform. Hopefully we can draw upon that.”
 
Yeo said, “3-1 is daunting. Tonight’s game is not necessarily that daunting.”
 
The reason, he says, is because even though the Wild’s execution last game wasn’t great, the Wild easily could have won that game. The Wild outchanced the Hawks, outhit them and drew six power plays. “Bottom line we didn’t score and they did. But there are a lot of things that can be taken from the last two games.”
 
Yeo talked about how great the Hawks have been defensively and how deep they are, saying, “If you would have told us through four games that Jonathan Toews wouldn’t have a point, we probably would have signed up for that pretty quickly. But obviously we still trail 3-1.”
 
As for lines, Jason Pominville will skate with Kyle Brodziak and Pierre-Marc Bouchard – his line that was playing well prior to his getting hurt.
 
On the fourth line, Stephane Veilleux and Mike Rupp will be game-time decisions. One will play, one won’t, on a line with Torrey Mitchell and Cal Clutterbuck.
 
“They’re not going to lay over for us, by any means,” defenseman Brent Seabrook said. “Nobody wants to have their season over. We expect them to come hard and play a tough, tight game.”
 
Dave Bolland and Ray Emery are both out for the Blackhawks.
 
Just a real quick FYI, I’m going to be away from the team starting tomorrow for a little bit. I have a family emergency and need to leave town. We have plenty of capable folks to cover the Wild in my absence, and of course, I’ll do my best to keep one eye on the team. But I've got to leave unfortunately.

ADVERTISEMENT

Oakland - LP: D. Otero 8 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Frasor 9
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
NY Islanders 5 FINAL
Boston 3
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Ottawa 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Tampa Bay 5 FINAL
Dallas 1
Colorado 0 FINAL
Calgary 2
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
San Jose 1
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
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