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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Ryan Suter boooooed by teammates during morning skate

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild pregame skate Updated: October 8, 2013 - 2:16 PM

The 0-0-2 Wild and 0-2 Predators each are looking for their first wins tonight when Nashville’s rabid fans invade Bridgestone for the Preds’ home opener.

This is actually going to be at least my second time witnessing a Nashville home opener. I covered the first-ever Predators home game – a 1-0 loss to America’s team – the Florida Panthers.

Ray Whitney scored on a third-period breakaway. I still remember the lead to my game story. It was something like, “Well, if that didn’t kill hockey in Nashville, nothing will.”

Yeah, it was that dreadful of a game. A couple nights later, some dude named Andrew Brunette scored the first goal in Preds history, if I remember correctly.

I’m rambling.

Good afternoon from Nashville, where it’s a beautiful day. It usually is by my experience in this awesome city.

I’ll be on Fox Sports North tonight during the pregame show and first intermission, so WATCH.

Niklas Backstrom vs. his former Karpat Oulu backup tonight, Pekka Rinne. Wild coach Mike Yeo said he thought long and hard about starting Josh Harding tonight. But he feels Backstrom’s played well in this building, but he says he’s “anxious” to get Harding, who had a good preseason, a start.

Since Harding’s almost assured of starting either next Monday’s game in Buffalo or more likely Tuesday’s game in Toronto, my guess is Harding would get one of the two home games against Winnipeg or Dallas as a tuneup so he doesn’t get too stale.

No Roman Josi, Viktor Stalberg and Wild killer (not joking) Nick Spaling for the Predators. No Charlie Coyle and Mike Rupp for the Wild.

The Wild hopes it’s just those two. All healthy players were on the ice this morning for the Wild, but there are a few guys feeling under the weather, so Carson McMillan was recalled as insurance. He arrives in town around 3:30 p.m., but as of now, he’s not expected to play unless the bug renders somebody useless.

Zach Parise does fully expect to play after leaving practice yesterday sick.

Coyle was officially placed on injured reserve today … for all you fantasy people who keep emailing incessantly because you need it published so Yahoo or ESPN or whoever put him on IR (free add, I get it).

Shot the breeze this morning for awhile with former Wild players Matt Cullen and Eric Nystrom and local boy Matt Hendricks, who is already becoming a fan favorite in Nashville. Hendricks is a valuable player. He does a little bit of everything, hit, fight, score in shootouts. But the Minnesota native is already getting integrated in the Nashville community and working toward getting Defending the Blue Line entrenched down here.

Cullen and Nystrom are stallmates, Cullen’s got his kids into hockey already. None of his three boys have inherited a southern drawl just yet. They will. Tom Fitzgerald, who’s from Boston, used to joke that his kids gained that down here when he captained the Preds.

Clayton Stoner does get in for the Wild. Rookie Matt Dumba will be up in the press box shadowing me. Maybe he can write my game story (only would be an improvement, I know). Or, maybe I’ll have him run me some postgame quotes just as a rookie hazing thing (kidding).

Ryan Suter used to play in Nashville, in case you didn’t know. Last year he was lucky enough to visit once and was booed profusely by the Predators faithful.

Recently, coach Barry Trotz has been exasperating the situation by saying he hopes Nashville always kicks the Wild’s butt because they “stole” Suter and calling on the fans to keep booing the Norris Trophy runner-up from a year ago.

To get him ready for tonight, Suter’s Minnesota teammates humorously booed him during the morning skate the first time he touched the puck.

Suter and Trotz ran into each other before the skates today.

“He said, ‘I thought you liked me?’ I do like Ryan. I just know Section 303’s not going to let him off the hook. So I’ve just played along with it,” Trotz said. “Ryan’s a big part of our history. He’s an exceptional defenseman, and we know it. One thing you’ll find out about the Nashville fans, they are passionate.

“Ryan is like one of our family, seeing him as an 18-year-old, but he’s the enemy now. So if they want to stay tough on them, that’ll be 303’s decision, not mine. But I read all the blogs. I’m pretty sure he’s not going to be let off the hook for awhile.”

I have some other funny stuff I’ve gathered the past few weeks on this subject that you can read in tomorrow’s Star Tribune, from owner Craig Leipold to GM David Poile showing his sense of humor by having Suter and the heir apparent, Seth Jones, room together at the U.S. Olympic camp.

Suter from today on his bumping into his former coach Trotz: “I asked him why he’s telling everyone to boo me. I said, ‘I thought we were a little closer than that.’ He said it’s part of it. I think he was a little, uh, a little embarrassed by it, but it is what it is.

“A year’s gone by now, and I’ve moved on and we have a great team here. I’m just looking forward to the game. Just another game.”

You can tell – actually, I know – this stuff does bother Suter. He feels like he was a good citizen for a long time in Nashville, and he also feels that at any point in his career and especially during his last season, the Predators could have traded him. So he feels like he did nothing wrong by signing elsewhere via free agency and that communication was crystal clear as to his intentions to Preds management leading up to free agency. After all, as I’ve written for years, how many times ever does a potential free agent get up to July 1 and end up just re-signing with their teams? It almost never happens post-July 1. So it couldn’t have come as a shock to anybody that’s been involved with pro sports as management or watched pro sports as a fan that Suter was leaving. Those were the signals his entire final year in Nashville.

I always find it funny how teams and fans expect players to always be loyal to them, yet a team will up and trade a player at any point if they want to (obviously as long as they don’t have a no-trade).

You'd think if Preds fans would be mad at anyone, it'd be Shea Weber for signing an offer sheet with Philly as a restricted free agent. At least Suter waited til he was unrestricted. smiley

I’m rambling again. Talk to you tonight, but first, a cool endeavor below:


MINNESOTA WILD BETTER HALVES TO HOST PAJAMA DRIVE
AT GAME THIS SATURDAY, OCT. 12
 
    SAINT PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Wild of the National Hockey League (NHL) today announced that the Wild’s “Better Halves” group will be hosting a Pajama Drive at the game this Saturday, Oct. 12. All donated pajamas will be distributed by Wild players and their Better Halves to local pediatric cancer patients.
 
   The Pajama Drive is part of the Wild’s Hockey Fights Cancer month. Fans are asked to donate new, unused pajamas, from ages infant up to 18 years. Wild Better Halves will be accepting donations at Gates 1-4 of Xcel Energy Center from the beginning of the game through the start of the first period. Gametime is 7 p.m., and gates open at 6 p.m.
 

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Philadelphia 24 FINAL
Washington 27
San Diego 28 4th Qtr 0:32
San Francisco 35
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
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
Pittsburgh
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
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Phoenix 99 FINAL
New York 90
Portland 114 FINAL
New Orleans 88
Utah 86 FINAL
Charlotte 104
Atlanta 104 FINAL
Houston 97
San Antonio 93 FINAL
Dallas 99
Indiana 73 FINAL
Denver 76
Milwaukee 52 3rd Qtr 12:00
LA Clippers 50
Arizona 2 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Colorado 5 FINAL
Buffalo 1
Philadelphia 7 FINAL
Toronto 4
Ottawa 1 FINAL
Montreal 4
Washington 4 FINAL
New Jersey 0
Tampa Bay 1 FINAL
NY Islanders 3
Florida 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
NY Rangers 3 FINAL(SO)
Carolina 2
Chicago 2 FINAL(SO)
Columbus 3
Nashville 6 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 5
Calgary 1 3rd Prd
Vancouver 2
St. Louis 0 2nd Prd 9:13
San Jose 1
VA Commonwealth 68 FINAL
Cincinnati 47
Charlotte 78 FINAL
Georgetown 81
SMU 62 FINAL
Michigan 51
Louisville 76 FINAL
Western Ky 67
Mount St Marys 45 FINAL
American Univ 46
Abilene Christian 33 FINAL
Boise State 77
UMass Lowell 63 FINAL
Duquesne 79
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IUPUI 71
Ohio State 74 FINAL
North Carolina 82
Massachusetts 65 FINAL
Providence 85
Syracuse 77 FINAL
Villanova 82
Citadel 61 FINAL
Virginia Tech 64
Belmont 73 FINAL
Fairfield 61
St Bonaventure 69 FINAL
Binghamton 51
Montreat 64 FINAL
Campbell 90
Delaware 74 FINAL
Fair-Dickinson 76
South Florida 62 FINAL
Florida State 75
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SC State 71 FINAL
Houston 63
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Illinois 62
Truett-McConnell 55 FINAL
Jacksonville 84
Toledo 83 FINAL
McNeese State 69
Elon 71 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 64
Drexel 68 FINAL
Penn State 73
St Francis-PA 73 FINAL
Rutgers 68
Albany 64 FINAL
Yale 60
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Eastern Ill 60 FINAL
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Indiana 82 FINAL
Butler 73
Marshall 58 FINAL
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Lafayette 69 FINAL
Kansas 96
Oral Roberts 63 FINAL
Memphis 78
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Northwestern 67
Delaware State 70 FINAL
Oregon 83
Fla Atlantic 56 FINAL
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Arkansas Tech 57 FINAL
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Howard Payne 50 FINAL
Texas-Arlington 89
UMBC 66 FINAL
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St Josephs (IN) 54 FINAL
Chicago State 77
Eastern Mich 77 FINAL
Missouri State 65
UCLA 44 FINAL
Kentucky 83
UC Davis 81 FINAL
Air Force 75
Houston Baptist 67 FINAL
UC Riverside 78
Davidson 80 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 68
USC Upstate 53 FINAL
Miss State 51
NC Central 94 FINAL
Miss Valley St 60
Illinois State 77 FINAL
Murray State 89
Louisiana 85 FINAL
Northwestern St 89
Oakland 77 FINAL
Pittsburgh 81
Detroit 55 FINAL
Rhode Island 69
Presbyterian 60 FINAL
UT Martin 77
Monmouth 74 FINAL
Wagner 66
Southern U 39 FINAL
Wyoming 57
Iowa State 83 FINAL
Drake 54
Wake Forest 50 FINAL
Florida 63
High Point 80 FINAL
James Madison 71
Texas Southern 71 FINAL
Michigan State 64
New Hampshire 60 FINAL
Sacred Heart 73
Northeastern 78 FINAL
Santa Clara 72
Huston-Tillotson 56 FINAL
Texas State 90
Purdue 63 FINAL
Notre Dame 94
Prairie View 44 FINAL
Sam Houston St 61
Xavier 88 FINAL
Auburn 89
Bluffton 53 FINAL
Akron 92
NJIT 84 FINAL
Central Conn St 76
Hofstra 77 FINAL
Columbia 82
Boston Univ 62 FINAL
Dayton 78
Iona 81 FINAL
George Mason 86
Valparaiso 75 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 72
Texas A&M 64 FINAL
Kansas State 71
Morgan State 69 FINAL
Manhattan 73
Saint Josephs 75 FINAL
Marist 58
East Carolina 54 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 66
Richmond 65 FINAL
Pepperdine 63
La Salle 67 FINAL
Towson 53
Incarnate Word 110 FINAL
UMKC 104
CS-Bakersfield 59 FINAL
Idaho State 50
Iowa 44 FINAL
Northern Iowa 56
Milwaukee 56 FINAL
SIU Edwardsville 61
Long Beach State 68 FINAL
Texas 78
TX-San Antonio 57 FINAL
TCU 88
SE Missouri St 67 FINAL
Arkansas 85
Lehigh 84 FINAL
Arizona State 81
New Mexico 69 FINAL
New Mexico St 67
Oklahoma 67 FINAL
Washington 69
Utah Valley U 61 FINAL
Weber State 73
Jacksonville St 60 FINAL
Northern Colorado 69
St Edwards 55 FINAL
Grand Canyon 81
NC State 69 2nd Half 0:09
West Virginia 83
TX A&M-CC 71 2nd Half 1:07
CS-Northridge 66
Cal Poly 44 2nd Half 3:04
Gonzaga 55
Fresno State 68 FINAL
Pacific 71
Montana State 60 2nd Half 0:40
Portland 87
Ball State 43 2nd Half 8:55
San Diego St 57
South Dakota St 61 2nd Half 1:56
Utah State 56
Stanford 33 1st Half 0:39
BYU 34
Utah 0 1st Half 18:14
UNLV 0
Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 21 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 6
(23) Utah 45 FINAL
Colorado State 10
Western Mich 24 FINAL
Air Force 38
South Alabama 14 3rd Qtr 6:00
Bowling Green 20
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
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
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Livingstone 77 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 81
Loyola-Chicago 58 FINAL
Dartmouth 70
Georgia Tech 65 FINAL
St Francis-NY 59
Auburn 49 FINAL
St Johns 56
East Tenn St 56 FINAL
Jacksonville St 57
Western Mich 71 FINAL
Detroit 57
Cal-Irvine 42 FINAL
Wright State 80
Gardner-Webb 47 FINAL
Kennesaw St 50
(7) Stanford 40 FINAL
(11) Tennessee 59
Alabama A&M 47 FINAL
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Central Michigan 45 FINAL
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Nebraska Omaha 50 FINAL
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Niagara 60
Texas State 57 FINAL
Stetson 75
George Mason 65 FINAL
ULM 53
Grambling 38 FINAL
Kansas State 61
Missouri 79 FINAL
Wake Forest 64
Robert Morris 59 FINAL
Cornell 70
Air Force 44 FINAL
Abilene Christian 80
Hampton 53 FINAL
James Madison 85
American Univ 64 FINAL
MD-Eastern Shore 52
Texas Southern 63 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 68
Tenn Tech 49 FINAL
NC A&T 54
Presbyterian 45 FINAL
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Penn 58 FINAL
Drexel 67
Lipscomb 38 FINAL
Xavier 62
Vermont 40 FINAL
Green Bay 60
Charleston Southern 70 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 80
Ohio Christian 62 FINAL
Akron 97
Jacksonville 62 FINAL
Murray State 80
(17) Rutgers 66 FINAL
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Indiana 88 FINAL
Oakland 61
Indiana State 64 FINAL
SMU 55
Denver 51 FINAL
Purdue 65
TX-San Antonio 48 FINAL
Texas Tech 64
UCF 57 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 79
Campbell 66 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 55
Florida A&M 67 FINAL
SE Louisiana 69
Northwestern St 61 FINAL
Jackson State 62
Lehigh 61 FINAL
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Valparaiso 65 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 77
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Minnesota 74
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North Florida 68
Montana State 61 FINAL
Washington St 82
Marshall 56 FINAL
(22) West Virginia 69
Morgan State 40 FINAL
Chattanooga 55
Northeastern 65 FINAL
Harvard 67
Furman 51 FINAL
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(18) Michigan State 65 FINAL
(9) Baylor 84
Ohio U 52 FINAL
Massachusetts 59
Prairie View 48 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 86
Toledo 64 FINAL
Southern Ill 48
High Point 57 FINAL
(12) Nebraska 83
Winthrop 20 FINAL
Wichita State 66
William Jewell 59 FINAL
UMKC 51
Louisiana Tech 52 FINAL
Utah 67
Southern Utah 51 FINAL
Gonzaga 70
Hawaii 85 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 76
San Jose St 62 FINAL
San Francisco 77
CS-Northridge 65 FINAL
San Diego State 54
Norfolk State 36 FINAL
East Carolina 65
Saint Peters 49 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 59
Arizona 60 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 72
Northwestern 92 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 44
Oral Roberts 52 FINAL
Wisconsin 70
Florida Atlantic 44 FINAL
New Mexico St 57
La Salle 76 FINAL
Georgia State 68
(16) Oregon State 73 FINAL
Nevada 50
Sacred Heart 72 FINAL
Villanova 49
Delaware 59 FINAL
Cincinnati 67
Troy 75 FINAL
Tennessee St 71
Saint Louis 68 FINAL
Utah Valley U 66
Washington 74 FINAL
UC-Riverside 71
Pacific 43 FINAL
Long Beach St 53
Old Dominion 69 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 63
Austin Peay 62 FINAL
Montana 83
Lewis-Clark State 48 FINAL
Idaho 74
(21) Miss State 55 2nd Half 10:21
Illinois-Chicago 27
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