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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Rupp not yet cleared for training camp; It's not Yonas Brodin, it's ZHonas

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild training camp Updated: September 11, 2013 - 5:07 PM

Wild training camp opened this morning with physicals and fitness testing for all the players. Players also had plenty of pictures and videos to take and interviews to conduct with rightsholders.

The X was infiltrated by the concert of Michael Buble, a fan of the stinkin' Canucks.

However, check out his Twitter account. Maybe the Wild converted him over because it showered him with gifts, including a custom-made Minnesota Wild stick, a matching one for his two-week old son, a Wild onesie and a Wild Fedora that was literally the first-ever made out of the warehouse.

Also, Wild center Zenon Konopka hopes to meet Buble tonight and plans to present the singer with a Wild jersey.

Official access begins Thursday when the Wild takes the ice for the first time at Ridder Arena.

One player who has not yet been cleared is veteran left wing Mike Rupp, who underwent offseason knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus. He skated Monday with the team and afterward with strength coach Kirk Olson.

"[Tuesday] was my first real test, and I feel good [Wednesday], which is a good sign," Rupp said. "If I were a betting man, I'd say [I'm cleared] by the end of the week."

Brett Bulmer, who was held out of the rookie tournament in Traverse City and didn't take part in development camp because of a knee injury, has also not been cleared to play.

The Wild will have two practices in the initial parts of camp. Group A and B rosters are out and could change daily, but to start Day One, Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu and Jason Pominville will be a line. Jason Zucker, Charlie Coyle and, I believe, Justin Fontaine will be a line. Group B is hard to discern right now, but Dany Heatley may be on the right side of Nino Niederreiter and Mikael Granlund.

We will have to wait til Thursday to see for sure though.

I will be tweeting away and shooting video Thursday, so pay attention to www.twitter.com/russostrib. In Thursday's paper, I look at five players to watch in camp -- Coyle, Matt Dumba, Granlund, Niederreiter and Zucker.

Plenty will be written about those players and a plethora of others throughout camp. I've had lunch with a few players in the past week, including today with Heatley, and those features will be coming up in a matter of days.

First up will be Heatley in Friday's paper. You can bet the proud Badger is super excited to step foot on the Gophers' ice in the morning.

Coyle looked spiffy in his new No. 3 sweater this morning. He joked that removing the 6 from his jersey (was 63) made him feel lighter.

Also, as players get more comfortable, they often feel comfortable enough to finally correct us on the accurate pronunciation of their name. (Bob Kurtz and Tom Reid always love when that happens).

We experienced that with Mikael Granlund. He went from Michael to Mih-KIGH-ehl last year. Jason Zucker went from Zucker to Zooker, like Booker. Marek Zidlicky went from Zidlicky to Zhidlicky to ... Zhiditzky!

Even Zach Parise was PariZAY in New Jersey and is now PariZEE in MinneSOHta.

So, this brings us to Jonas Brodin.

Brodin's first name was always thought to be pronounced like, Yonis. Turns out it's actually, Jonas, like a hard J, but not a really hard J -- kinda like a French hard J or ... Zhonas ... or like, dare we say, Zhidlitzy.

Got it? Slow news day, as you can tell, because access technically starts Thursday.

I promise, Mike Yeo is still YO, not YOW.

I did change the spelling of my last name to Russeau though.

Laterz, or shall we say, laterzhhh.


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