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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Winnipeg Jets visit the X tonight; My famous Rochester story

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild pregame skate, Wild training camp Updated: September 21, 2013 - 12:55 PM

Tonight at 7 at the X, the Wild and Winnipeg Jets -- two of the four new teams in the realigned Central Division (Colorado and Dallas joining Chicago, Nashville and St. Louis) -- face off at the X.


Can be visualized though on the @russostrib Twitter network and heard on KFAN (100.3-FM).

No real happenings at the morning skate. I spent most my time working ahead on upcoming stories, including a little feature on Grand Rapids' own Kurt Kleinendorst, the Wild's new American Hockey League coach in Des Moines, for tomorrow's Star Tribune.

A lot of power-play work in today's skate. The No. 1 unit tonight will likely be the No. 1 unit to start the season: Zach Parise-Mikko Koivu-Dany Heatley-Jason Pominville-Ryan Suter and the No. 2 unit is intriguing: Nino Niederreiter-Charlie Coyle-Mikael Granlund-Jared Spurgeon-Jonas Brodin.

The rosters are on my Twitter account, but it's the Wild lineup I provided yesterday (the Haulas, Fontaines, etc), and it looks like guys like Zenon Konopka, Jake Dowell, Keith Ballard, Clayton Stoner and Carson McMillan, whom coach Mike Yeo has been very happy with, are in.

Niklas Backstrom in the blue paint.

The Jets' lineup includes goalie Ondrej Pavelec and Jacon Trouba (Rochester, Michigan, not New York or Minnesota), Bryan Little, Blake Wheeler ("one of us), Tobias (Toby these days) Enstrom, Mark Scheifele, Big Buff ("one of us") and Rochester's own Mark Stuart ("one of us")

I ever tell you my Rochester story? This is my ninth season covering the Wild. My first was in 2005 after just moving here from God's country, uh, Florida.

The last exhibition game that preseason was against the Buffalo Sabres in Rochester. It was a whirlwind month for me, having accepted the job and moving my life here in like 5 days, starting to write immediately, getting used to covering a new team after years of covering America's team, uh, the Florida Panthers.

The road exhibition games that month were covered by Kent Youngblood so I could get some logistics down with the move. But I'd cover the last game in Rochester because that would essentially be the team that makes it.

So, anyway, we're a few weeks into camp and I finally feel I start to get accustomed to things and able to take a deep breath. I get on this Northwest regional jet aimed for Rochester, NY.

The guy next to me after we take off asks why I'm flying to Rochester. I say, "to cover the Wild play a preseason game." He goes, "Oh, that's weird." I go, "why?" He goes, "you'd think they'd be playing in Rochester, Minnesota."

I immediately get horrified. I had never even known there was a Rochester, Minnesota. I had never heard of Rochester, Minnesota. My bag is under the plane. I have no way of checking to make sure the Wild are actually playing in Rochester, NY, not Rochester, Minnesota.

For the next two hours, I am sick to my stomach, sweating profusely, thinking that my first-ever road trip on the Star Tribune's dime after they hired this alleged experienced hockey writer was to the wrong Rochester!!! I spent $600 on a flight that really should have been an hour's drive? How the heck do I explain that to sports editor Glen Crevier?

We land in Rochester. I sprint off the plane and now have to wait on the tarmac for my bag to come out of the cargo hold. Finally, it comes, I rip it open, and alas, I'm in the right city.


All went well in Rochester from there, well, except for Mikko Koivu spraining his MCL against the Sabres and seeing his NHL debut put on hold, and except for the fact that my story for that next day's paper was MIKKO KOIVU ABOUT TO MAKE HIS NHL DEBUT FINALLY!

Anyway, now I indeed know there is a Rochester, Minnesota. I've now indeed have heard of the Mayo Clinic. I indeed know that Mark Stuart's dad is one of the biggest sports medicine experts around, Dr. Michael Stuart.

I've learned a lot in my many years as a hockey writer -- like how to fill up a blog when there's absolutely no news to provide.

Talk to you after the game.


Tennessee 7:25 PM
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Atlanta 127 FINAL
Cleveland 98
Phoenix 111 FINAL
Charlotte 106
Dallas 117 FINAL
Detroit 106
Utah 105 FINAL
Miami 87
Orlando 92 FINAL
Boston 109
Brooklyn 89 FINAL
Toronto 105
Memphis 117 FINAL
San Antonio 116
Milwaukee 97 FINAL
Portland 104
Houston 115 FINAL
Denver 111
Indiana 100 FINAL
LA Clippers 102
Ottawa 2 FINAL
New Jersey 0
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 2
Dallas 2 FINAL
Vancouver 0
Langston 65 FINAL
North Texas 78
Delaware State 72 FINAL
St Francis-NY 64
James Madison 72 FINAL
Ball State 52
SIU Edwardsville 65 FINAL
Campbell 70
St Francis-PA 67 FINAL
Duquesne 52
North Florida 77 FINAL
Florida State 93
Catawba 69 FINAL
George Mason 99
Ferrum 48 FINAL
High Point 106
Hampton 55 FINAL
Illinois 73
Gardner-Webb 65 FINAL
Jacksonville 68
Longwood 60 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 71
Arkansas State 69 FINAL
Miss State 55
Tennessee 72 FINAL
NC State 83
Ohio State 97
Manhattan 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 65
Robert Morris 57 FINAL
Toledo 83
Char Southern 58 FINAL
Wofford 64
Kennesaw St 90 FINAL
Youngstown St 84
Barber-Scotia 52 FINAL
NC Central 108
Detroit 70 FINAL
UCF 75
Liberty 70 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 73
Denver 83
Ark-Pine Bluff 61 FINAL
Houston 56
UT Martin 54 FINAL
Illinois State 64
Milligan 76 FINAL
Louisiana 115
Abilene Christian 44 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 83
USC Upstate 73 FINAL
Memphis 83
Alcorn State 56 FINAL
Murray State 94
Central Mich 80 FINAL
Northwestern 67
Georgia State 54 FINAL
Old Dominion 58
TX-Pan American 69 FINAL
Saint Louis 75
Ill-Chicago 46 FINAL
SMU 67
Texas State 60 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 66
SC State 39 FINAL
Texas Tech 101
Missouri State 70 FINAL
Tulsa 74
Chicago State 60 FINAL
Western Ky 75
Morehead State 50 FINAL
Green Bay 66
Northern Colorado 82 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 92
Winthrop 62 FINAL
Auburn 80
New Mexico St 55 FINAL
Baylor 66
San Diego St 62 FINAL
Cincinnati 71
Eastern Mich 46 FINAL
Michigan State 66
Loyola Marymount 58 FINAL
Stanford 67
Incarnate Word 82 FINAL
Grand Canyon 80
Northeastern 58 FINAL
Cal Poly 60
Central Arkansas 55 FINAL
New Mexico 76
Howard 45 FINAL
Pepperdine 53
Portland 73 FINAL
CS-Northridge 56 FINAL
Oregon 79
Grambling St 38 FINAL
Washington 86
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Western Carolina 79 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 66
(21) Miss State 66 FINAL
Louisiana 51
(25) DePaul 109 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 84
Liberty 64 FINAL
NC State 67
Elon 77 FINAL
Campbell 51
Akron 73 FINAL
UCF 64
Richmond 77 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 67
Montana 70 FINAL
Seattle 64
(7) Stanford 46 FINAL
Chattanooga 54
Florida A&M 69 FINAL
Southern U 80
Oklahoma 72 FINAL
(13) Duke 92
Savannah State 56 FINAL
Auburn 62
Northern Colorado 43 FINAL
South Florida 84
Youngstown St 73 FINAL
Robert Morris 65
Siena 75 FINAL
Sacred Heart 65
Vermont 63 FINAL
St Francis-NY 61
(1) South Carolina 69 FINAL
Hampton 49
Fla Gulf Coast 91 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 46
Texas Southern 92 FINAL
Houston Baptist 80
Northwestern 88 FINAL
Appalachian St 72
NC Central 52 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 67
Drexel 50 FINAL
Quinnipiac 74
Cincinnati 52 FINAL
Northern Ky 66
Alabama State 53 FINAL
Georgia Tech 77
Morehead St 69 FINAL
USC Upstate 75
Arkansas State 59 FINAL
Kent State 44
American Univ 60 FINAL
Manhattan 52
UNC Greensboro 60 FINAL
St Bonaventure 78
Arkansas-Monticello 56 FINAL
Northwestern St 61
Prairie View 70 FINAL
Sam Houston St 51
McNeese State 59 FINAL
(3) Texas 76
Yale 90 FINAL
Wagner 65
Oakland 61 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 54
Eastern Kentucky 62 FINAL
Alabama A&M 56
SIU-Edwardsville 47 FINAL
Northern Ill 69
McMurry 25 FINAL
TX-Arlington 82
Portland 65 FINAL
Eastern Washington 72
North Texas 42 FINAL
San Francisco 60
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