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.

Also find Russo on Facebook.

Email Michael to talk about hockey.

Matt Dumba to make his NHL debut tonight against the Anaheim Ducks

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild pregame skate Updated: October 5, 2013 - 12:37 PM

The Wild expects a “grumpy, desperate” Anaheim Ducks team at the X tonight. The Ducks lost 6-1 in its opener Wednesday in Denver and as Wild coach Mike Yeo predicted, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau made clear this morning that “It’s a big night for us. We have to redeem ourselves.”

“The message was pretty simple this morning [to the Wild]. We’ve got two teams searching for their first win,” Yeo said. “There should be a high level of determination coming into this game tonight.”

Despite a strong game by Clayton Stoner in the opener, rookie Matt Dumba will make his NHL debut tonight. The 2012 first-round pick will be paired with Keith Ballard, who will move to the left side after playing the right on Thursday.

I believe Dumba is the youngest defenseman to debut in Wild history. Brent Burns debuted at age 18, but I think he played forward his rookie year (I didn't cover the team). Dumba and Jonas Brodin is/was 19, and Dumba’s got a July 25 birthday, Brodin a July 12 birthdate.

Knowing me and the way I do math, I’ll probably be back later to correct this! Like

Dumba’s folks, Treena and Charlie, will be in the house tonight to watch their oldest son debut. Dumba led the center-ice team stretch after the morning skate in a neat scene.

Teammates joked with him that they’ll be happy in Red Deer tonight.

“They’ve all been great,” Dumba said, adding teammates told him to “just go out and play my game and just have fun. I’ve been playing this game since I was little and just relax and be myself out there.”

Dumba said, “I’m just thankful that my opportunity has come along. Now I’m just going to go out there and work my hardest and do whatever it takes to stay around.”

He said he’d try not to put on “extra pressures and nerves. Just another game. Looking back afterward, hopefully it a good one.”

Yeo said, “I’m excited for him. This guy’s a big part of our future. He’s had a really strong camp, so I’m excited to get him there and see how he goes out and performs at this time of year. We’ve seen it. We saw it Game 1 for us, the pace of play, the intensity picks up right now, so you want to see how he handles that.”

Asked if assistant coach Rick Wilson, who changes the D, will manage his ice time, Yeo said, “It’s important to get him out there early and get him into the feel of the game. And then every game you manage the game. But it’s important that we show him the faith and confidence in him to get him involved in the game.”

Yeo wouldn’t say if Dumba would play the power play, but Yeo indicated yesterday that it would tough taking Brodin off after playing so well Thursday and scoring a power-play goal.

Jonas Hiller vs. Niklas Backstrom tonight.

Dustin Penner gets in for Anaheim as Teemu Selanne sits in anticipation for another return to Winnipeg tomorrow.

The Ducks’ Emerson Etem (lower body), Luca Sbisa (ankle) and Sheldon Souray (wrist) are out. For some reason, I forgot to add them to my injury report in today’s paper.

What else? Saku Koivu got to meet his niece last night. I’ve got some cool quotes from Mikko that I’ll toss into tomorrow’s paper.

Yeo also was impressed Charlie Coyle took a leap onto the knife in today’s paper regarding his mistake on the tying goal against L.A. in the opener.

“That’s the kind of accountability that we like around here,” Yeo said. “He had a solid game. He had a really solid game. He was close to a great game. What he did with the puck all night and what he did without puck the puck most of the night, he had a really strong game.”

But Coyle told Yeo yesterday that he couldn’t sleep after the game because of not defending Jeff Carter on the tying goal. Yeo said, “I said, ‘you’ve got to learn from it and you’ve got to move on from it and focus on the things you did well and just correct that stuff.’”


Team Irvin 32 FINAL
Team Carter 28
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 98 FINAL
Cleveland 108
Dallas 106 FINAL
New Orleans 109
Indiana 106 FINAL
Orlando 99
LA Clippers 120 FINAL
Phoenix 100
Minnesota 100 FINAL
Atlanta 112
Detroit 110 FINAL
Toronto 114
Milwaukee 95 FINAL
San Antonio 101
Boston 111 FINAL
Golden State 114
Washington 117 FINAL
Denver 115
Houston 99 FINAL
LA Lakers 87
Team Toews 17 FINAL
Team Foligno 12
South Florida 53 FINAL
Connecticut 66
Boston College 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Virginia 50 FINAL
Virginia Tech 47
Indiana 70 FINAL
Ohio State 82
Stony Brook 61 FINAL
Binghamton 54
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
UCF 46
Maine 70 FINAL
Hartford 61
Monmouth 64 FINAL
Manhattan 71
Fairfield 67 FINAL
Marist 73
Rowan 48 FINAL
Princeton 96
St Bonaventure 48 FINAL
Rhode Island 53
Duke 77 FINAL
St Johns 68
Saint Peters 69 FINAL
Siena 55
Drake 40 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Vermont 61 FINAL
UMass Lowell 50
Seton Hall 57 FINAL
Butler 77
South Alabama 55
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Illinois State 53
Louisville 80 FINAL
Pittsburgh 68
Albany 69
Niagara 64 FINAL
Iona 87
Notre Dame 81 FINAL
NC State 78
Belmont 63 FINAL
Tennessee St 55
Creighton 50 FINAL
Villanova 71
Northwestern 67 FINAL
Maryland 68
Washington 56 FINAL
Utah 77
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
Maine 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 55 FINAL
Alabama 52
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Lehigh 65
SMU 57
Utah 51 FINAL
Washington 63
James Madison 73 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 53
Delaware 56 FINAL
Drexel 61
Hofstra 56 FINAL
William & Mary 57
Hartford 58 FINAL
Albany 82
Binghamton 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Towson 63 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Wake Forest 80 FINAL
(17) Florida State 110
Georgia Tech 68 FINAL
Virginia 62
(22) Georgia 51 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 59
Drake 79 FINAL
Evansville 62
Iona 80 FINAL
Canisius 62
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Monmouth 59
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Penn State 76
Wisconsin 71 FINAL
Michigan State 77
Ohio State 79 FINAL
Purdue 71
Northern Iowa 57 FINAL
Indiana State 55
Butler 58 FINAL
Xavier 54
Creighton 93 FINAL
Marquette 75
Providence 42 FINAL
DePaul 90
Northeastern 77 FINAL
Elon 80
(2) Connecticut 96 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Oregon 78 FINAL
Arizona 81
Bradley 46 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 45
NC State 49 FINAL
(23) Syracuse 66
(7) Maryland 84 FINAL
Indiana 74
Illinois State 35 FINAL
Missouri State 58
Colorado 68 FINAL
Washington St 73
Tulane 45 FINAL
South Florida 64
(14) Kentucky 83 FINAL
Missouri 69
(9) Oregon State 68 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 57
Vermont 63 FINAL
UMass Lowell 72
Iowa State 58 FINAL
(8) Texas 57
Southern Ill 61 FINAL
Wichita State 80
(15) Duke 74 FINAL
(12) North Carolina 67
Miami-Florida 55 FINAL
(4) Louisville 68
(21) Minnesota 61 FINAL
(25) Rutgers 66
California 72 FINAL
(11) Stanford 71 FINAL
USC 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Does a Stadium Series outdoor Wild game get you excited?

Weekly Question