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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NHL schedules hopefully announced Thursday; Langenbrunner wants to play for Wild

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild off-season news Updated: July 18, 2013 - 9:53 AM

UPDATE: The Wild re-signed former Minnesota-Duluth national champ Justin Fontaine to a one-year, two-way contract. The Houston Aeros' leading scorer from a year ago (56 points in 64 games) would have to pass through waivers to get to AHL Iowa if he doesn't make the Wild in September. The Wild is also close to re-signing Carson McMillan.


After much anticipation for the NHL schedules to be announced Wednesday, further patience is required. While all teams have drafts of their 2013-14 schedules, they cannot be released until an agreement is officially reached to have NHL players participate in the Winter Olympics in February.

It's basically a done deal. The Wild has a 19-day break in February already mapped out, but the final lawyerese is still being drafted apparently between the IOC, NHLPA and NHL. Hopefully, an agreement will be finalized Thursday, and the league can announce its schedules and division names.

You know that the league would have given anything for that announcement to come today. With Major League Baseball wrapping up All-Star break, the sports pages would have belonged to the NHL -- well, in theory.

The Wild opens at home vs. Los Angeles on Oct. 3.

I'll be on XM Home Ice at 8:25 a.m. CT Thursday, KFAN at 12:30 and CHED in Edmonton at 1:30. I'm also filling in for Paul Allen on KFAN from 9-noon Monday.

The Wild will likely have an Iowa coach in place by early next week.

Lastly, as I reported July 5, former USA/Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner, 37, a buddy and former linemate of Zach Parise, is not ready for retirement after season-ending hip surgery with St. Louis and would love to play for Minnesota.

The Duluth News Tribune quoted Langenbrunner saying as such in today's newspaper. The story can be read here.

Langenbrunner's agent has indeed reached out to Wild GM Chuck Fletcher to see if there's interest. But remember, Langenbrunner, a former Cloquet High standout and Duluth native, wanted to play for the Wild last summer, too, and there was never any traction after the Wild signed Torrey Mitchell and Zenon Konopka hours into free agency.

My gut? The Wild may eventually be interested in bringing Langenbrunner in on perhaps a pro tryout. But as of now, it seems unwilling to extend an actual contract offer.

Cap space is tight, but this is less a cap space issue and more a roster spot issue. The Wild can only keep 13 forwards, maybe 14. But if you consider there's a 23-man roster, that's probably actually going to break down as 13 forwards, eight defensemen and two goalies.

So if the Wild signs Langenbrunner (or another depth player with younger, faster legs than him; remember, there's several free agents out there who too would probably want to play for Minnesota or any team at this juncture), and then suddenly a Granlund or Niederreiter or Haula or Fontaine show in camp that they deserve a roster spot, they could be completely blocked from the spot because of the signing. 

There's no doubt Langenbrunner would bring a character presence and a bunch of intangibles to the Wild, or for that matter, any team. And according to the Duluth story, he feels great right now on the ice.

But as cool as it would be to have Langenbrunner in Wild colors, it may be very difficult unless there's another trade this summer to move a forward. But, like I said, it wouldn't surprise me at all if the Wild ultimately brings a couple players, maybe including Langenbrunner, into camp on tryouts rather than actual contracts from the outset.

Then, if those players on tryouts deserve a spot, or the Wild sustains injuries in camp, the Wild could then find a way to make something happen.

As of now, here is Minnesota's depth chart up front:


Left wing                         Center                          Right wing
Zach Parise ($7.5+M)       Mikko Koivu (6.75M)   **Jason Pominville (4.505M)
*Jason Zucker ($833,333) *Charlie Coyle (975K)   Dany Heatley (7.5M)
Matt Cooke (2.5M) Kyle Brodziak (2.83+M) *Nino Niederreiter (2.795M)  
Mike Rupp (1.5M)           Zenon Konopka (925K) Torrey Mitchell (1.9M)
Extra: Jake Dowell (700K)

Some vying for spots: *Mikael Granlund, * Erik Haula, Justin Fontaine (close to re-signing), Stephane Veilleux, *Brett Bulmer, *Zack Phillips.

* Entry-level deals that don't require waivers to be sent to the minors.

Note: The depth chart is my opinion. Maybe a guy like Haula performs so well in camp, he gets the No. 2 center job. Maybe Granlund outperforms Niederreiter. Or, maybe Fontaine is so good, he makes the team and a guy like Mitchell moves up and plays third-line RW.

That's what camp will be all about.


Los Angeles - LP: B. Wilson 7 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Grimm 8
Detroit - WP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 2
Philadelphia - WP: J. Williams 3 FINAL
Oakland - LP: D. Otero 0
Toronto - WP: M. Stroman 6 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: C. Capuano 3
Arizona - LP: T. Cahill 1 FINAL
Colorado - WP: E. Butler 5
Boston - LP: R. De La Rosa 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: C. Tillman 7
Milwaukee - WP: Z. Duke 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: M. Melancon 0
Washington - WP: J. Zimmermann 3 FINAL
Miami - LP: J. Cosart 2
NY Mets - WP: J. Niese 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: M. Minor 2
Chicago WSox - LP: H. Noesi 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: C. Archer 3
Cleveland - WP: T. House 7 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: T. May 3
Seattle - LP: C. Young 1 FINAL
Houston - WP: D. Keuchel 10
Cincinnati - LP: M. Leake 4 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: J. Motte 8
San Francisco - LP: Y. Petit 2 FINAL
San Diego - WP: A. Cashner 3
Texas - LP: C. Lewis 5 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: J. Weaver 8
San Diego 12:00 PM
Dallas 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 12:00 PM
Houston 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 12:00 PM
Baltimore 12:00 PM
Green Bay 12:00 PM
Indianapolis 12:00 PM
Oakland 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 3:05 PM
Denver 3:25 PM
Kansas City 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh 7:30 PM
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(13) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(11) 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
East Carolina 70
Army 21 FINAL
Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(21) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
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
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
(18) 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
Miss State 34 FINAL
(8) 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
(14) So Carolina 48 FINAL
Vanderbilt 34
(4) Oklahoma 45 FINAL
West Virginia 33
Ga Southern 28 FINAL
South Alabama 6
Houston 47
Miami-Florida 31 FINAL
(24) Nebraska 41
New Mexico 38 FINAL
New Mexico St 35
(22) 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
(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
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(20) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
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
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(23) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
(18) Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(14) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(8) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
(9) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
(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
(24) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(17) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Vancouver FC 0 FINAL
Portland 3
Houston 0 FINAL
Philadelphia 0
New England 0 FINAL
Columbus 1
San Jose 0 FINAL
Montreal 2
Seattle 1 FINAL
Red Bull New York 4
Chicago 3
FC Dallas 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 12:00 PM
Ottawa 3:00 PM
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