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.


Kansas City - J. Guthrie 7:07 PM
San Francisco - T. Hudson
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
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Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
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Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Dallas 6:00 PM
New York 6:30 PM
San Antonio 7:00 PM
Miami 7:00 PM
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Phoenix 8:00 PM
Sacramento 9:00 PM
LA Lakers
Denver 9:30 PM
Golden State
Portland 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Dallas 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Tampa Bay 7:00 PM
Vancouver 8:00 PM
Carolina 8:30 PM
Columbus 9:00 PM
Connecticut 21 FINAL
(18) East Carolina 31
Miami-Florida 30 FINAL
Virginia Tech 6
So Florida 6:00 PM
Troy 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 9:00 PM
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Houston 7:00 PM
Montreal 5:30 PM
Saskatchewan 8:30 PM
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
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