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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Question for Chuck Fletcher? Come to State Fair today; More on Brunette and the power play

Posted by: Michael Russo under On the road, Wild coaching, Wild management, Wild news, Wild off-season news Updated: August 29, 2013 - 8:21 AM
 
If you’re a Wild fan and down at the State Fair today, please stop by the Star Tribune booth at 12:30 p.m. Wild GM Chuck Fletcher will be joining me for a Q and A. We will open it up to the audience, too. If you can't come, please leave questions in the comment section and I will ask a few. The Q and A will also be live-streamed on the web site and highlights will appear on the site later on.
 
In today’s newspaper, I have an article (can be read here) about former Wild left wing Andrew Brunette, the Wild’s advisor to the hockey operations department who will add power-play consultant to his repertoire this upcoming season.
 
Nobody has been on the ice for more power-play goals in Wild history, so coach Mike Yeo called “Bruno” an “invaluable resource.”
 
In concert, Brunette and Yeo will come up with the power-play units. Several will be tried in training camp, which begins Sept. 11.
 
“We can’t figure that out because we don’t know who will be here yet,” Yeo said. “We’ve got to find out if [Mikael Granlund’s] going to be here, if [Jason Zucker] is going to be here and so on. [Nino] Niederreiter, too. A [newcomer] like him, we don’t really know enough about yet.”
 
As of now, Brunette says he doesn’t plan any dramatic changes. For instance, the power play won’t be quarterbacked from, say, behind the net, which was Brunette’s specialty.
 
He plans tweaks and he plans to sit down with some of the key power-play guys on the Wild and kick around ideas with them.
 
“The power play is a finicky thing,” Brunette said. “It seems if it’s not scoring, it really gets bashed and if you are scoring and still not doing the right things, it’s let go. It’s one of those things where it’s hard to explain what makes a good and bad power play. You can talk about shots on goal, puck possession, but at the end of the day, if the puck’s in the net, it’s valued as successful.”
 
Last year, the Wild’s power play improved from 27th in the NHL in Mike Yeo’s first season to 16th. However, it went 0 for 17 in the playoffs and despite being the second-best power play on the road during the regular season, it ranked a lowly 28th at home.
 
Brunette has some ideas. So does Yeo. They’ll be looking to generate more quality shots, get more shots through without being blocked and improve on the overall net-front presence of the team.
 
“I think our whole game can be better, but especially [our net-front play] on the power play,” Brunette said. “It has to be a mentality everybody has to take. It can’t just be one guy that stands in front of the net.”
 
Brunette still has several duties for hockey ops, like scouting and heading to Des Moines to work with the prospects. So Brunette won’t take over the power play as a whole because sometimes he won’t be around.
 
But Yeo said everything about the power play will be discussed with Brunette and when he’s in town and Yeo feels it’s time to work the power play significantly on the ice, Brunette will take the ice.
 
At July’s development camp, Brunette donned a coach’s track suit with director of player development Brad Bombardir to work with the prospects. He had a blast.
 
“I really enjoyed that, and it was very fulfilling working with the kids and trying to find things to help them out and be a little bit better,” Brunette said.
 
Yeo first talked to Brunette about taking over the power play around the draft in June. They talked more about it a few weeks ago to determine how it would work.
 
Assistant coach Darryl Sydor used to run the power play, but Yeo wants to use Sydor in other areas.
 
“I really want to concentrate on individual work, skill work, getting on the ice early, video or even spending more time with the players this year,” Yeo said. “I can’t do everything. As much as I’d love to, the head coach doesn’t have as much opportunity to do the one-on-one work that quite often you wish to do.
 
“A lot of that falls on the assistants, so this is about freeing up time for Syd to spend more time with the players. It’s something that he’s really strong at.”
 
Below is a chart that wound up not squeezing into today’s newspaper. Also, see you at the Fair. Please stop by!
 
Lastly, Avery Peterson, the Wild's sixth-round pick and Grand Rapids native, has committed to Nebraska-Omaha, the Duluth News Tribune reports. He was recruited by St. Cloud State, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Ohio State. As of the draft, he planned to play at Sioux City of the USHL this upcoming season.
 
Also, Bjorn Krupp -- Uwe Krupp's son -- will clear unconditional waivers today so the Wild can officially terminate his contract. Paper move.
 
WILD POWER PLAY
 
Andrew Brunette, who has been on the ice for more power-play goals (216) in Wild history and ranks second in Wild history with 55 power-play goals, is the team’s new power-play consultant. Brunette scored 114 career power-play goals, and his 108 from 1998-99 to 2011-12 ranked 15th in the NHL during that span. Here are some facts about the Wild’s power play:
 
Power play under coach Mike Yeo:
 
2011-12: Ranked 27th overall (15.1 percent); ranked 13th at home, 30th on the road)
2012-13: Ranked 16th overall (17.9 percent); ranked 28th at home, 2nd on the road)
 
Dany Heatley: Since 2001-02, the Wild right wing leads the NHL with 139 power-play goals. (Ilya Kovalchuk 138, Teemu Selanne 133, Jarome Iginla 128 and Alex Ovechkin 127). The Wild scored five power-play goals in 17 games after he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury April 3.
 
Mikko Koivu: Scored no power-play goals last season  but 13 power-play assists. Ranks fourth in Wild history with 36 power-play goals, first with 109 power-play points and tied with Marian Gaborik for first with 145 power-play points. Has been on the ice for 191 power-play goals, fourth in Wild history.
 
Zach Parise and Jason Pominville: Combined for 101 career power-play goals.

Ryan Suter: In his first season with the Wild, he had 12 power-play assists and 15 power-play points.
 
 
 

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Akron 5:30 PM
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Connecticut 5:30 PM
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Howard
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Delaware 6:00 PM
CS-Bakersfield
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SD Christian 7:00 PM
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Manhattan 7:00 PM
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Illinois State
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Char Southern 9 FINAL
(8) Georgia 55
South Alabama 12 FINAL
So Carolina 37
Rutgers 3 FINAL
(10) Michigan State 45
(22) Minnesota 28 FINAL
Nebraska 24
Northwestern 38 FINAL
Purdue 14
(19) Marshall 23 FINAL
UAB 18
Kansas 7 FINAL
(20) Oklahoma 44
Indiana 27 FINAL
(7) Ohio State 42
Penn State 14 FINAL
Illinois 16
(16) Eastern Ky 3 FINAL
Florida 52
TX-San Antonio 7 FINAL
Western Ky 45
SMU 7 FINAL
UCF 53
Tulsa 28 FINAL
Houston 38
Virginia Tech 3 FINAL
Wake Forest 6
Washington St 31 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 52
Louisiana Tech 27 FINAL
Old Dominion 30
Western Mich 32 FINAL
Central Mich 20
New Mexico 20 FINAL
(21) Colorado State 58
Eastern Mich 30 FINAL
Ball State 45
Appalachian St 35 FINAL
Louisiana 16
(12) Arizona 42 FINAL
Utah 10
FIU 14 FINAL
North Texas 17
(18) Ole Miss 0 FINAL
Arkansas 30
(24) Louisville 31 FINAL
Notre Dame 28
Maryland 23 FINAL
Michigan 16
Texas Tech 34 FINAL
Iowa State 31
(14) Wisconsin 26 FINAL
Iowa 24
Syracuse 7 FINAL
Pittsburgh 30
Boston College 17 FINAL
(1) Florida State 20
Georgia State 0 FINAL
(23) Clemson 28
Tulane 6 FINAL
East Carolina 34
Stanford 38 FINAL
California 17
Western Carolina 14 FINAL
(2) Alabama 48
ULM 30 FINAL
New Mexico St 17
So Florida 20 FINAL
Memphis 31
Colorado 10 FINAL
(3) Oregon 44
Fla Atlantic 34 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 35
Samford 7 FINAL
(15) Auburn 31
Miami-Florida 13 FINAL
Virginia 30
Vanderbilt 0 FINAL
(4) Miss State 51
(17) Missouri 29 FINAL
Tennessee 21
Oklahoma State 28 FINAL
(5) Baylor 49
USC 20 FINAL
(9) UCLA 38
Cincinnati 41 FINAL
Connecticut 0
(25) Boise State 63 FINAL
Wyoming 14
Oregon State 13 FINAL
Washington 37
Fresno State 40 FINAL
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UNLV 35 FINAL
Hawaii 37
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Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
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Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
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(12) Arizona
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(21) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
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Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
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Temple 51
Massachusetts 42 2nd Half 0:33
Florida State 71
Creighton 57 2nd Half 0:36
(1) Connecticut 96
Bryant 70 2nd Half 3:35
Boston College 84
Robert Morris 68 2nd Half 4:16
UMBC 49
Sacred Heart 59 FINAL
Maine 58
Virginia Tech 57 2nd Half 6:00
Providence 53
Coll of Charleston 21 2nd Half
George Mason 27
Hartford 29 2nd Half
Lafayette 39
William & Mary 44 2nd Half
High Point 37
Western Ill 51 2nd Half
Florida Atlantic 45
Pittsburgh 33 2nd Half
James Madison 41
Toledo 20 2nd Half
(24) Purdue 34
Western Mich 28 2nd Half
Michigan 42
Cleveland State 42 2nd Half
FIU 28
San Diego State 16 2nd Half
(2) South Carolina 51
Mount St Marys 33 2nd Half
Davidson 23
IUPUI 19 2nd Half
(15) Michigan State 31
Illinois State 27 2nd Half
Colorado State 40
Incarnate Word 15 2nd Half
Indiana 43
Cincinnati 30 2nd Half
Iowa State 38
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Clemson 41
VA Commonwealth 43 2nd Half
Ohio State 52
Marquette 20 2nd Half
(7) Duke 42
Bethune-Cookman 12 2nd Half
East Carolina 34
Coppin State 25 2nd Half
Wake Forest 38
(24) Georgia 22 1st Half 1:18
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(12) Louisville 38
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Virginia 33
Utah 17 2nd Half
(16) Nebraska 38
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Illinois
Eastern Illinois 2:00 PM
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Alabama State 2:05 PM
South Alabama
Wisconsin 2:05 PM
Drake
Seattle 3:00 PM
Montana State
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Norfolk State
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(10) Texas 3:00 PM
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(3) Notre Dame
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(11) North Carolina 5:00 PM
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(14) California
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