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.

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:

    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.


Toronto - LP: D. Hutchison 2 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Tanaka 5
Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 2 FINAL
Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi 1
NY Mets - WP: J. deGrom 10 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: E. Santana 2
Boston - WP: J. Kelly 3 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: M. Gonzalez 2
Milwaukee - LP: W. Peralta 0 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 1
Chicago WSox - WP: J. Danks 10 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: N. Karns 5
Cleveland - WP: C. Kluber 7 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: A. Swarzak 2
Detroit - LP: R. Porcello 2 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Guthrie 5
Seattle - LP: H. Iwakuma 3 FINAL
Houston - WP: C. McHugh 8
Los Angeles - WP: C. Perez 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Turner 5
Texas - WP: S. Tolleson 2 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: H. Street 1
Philadelphia - LP: M. Gonzalez 6 FINAL
Oakland - WP: S. Doolittle 8
San Francisco - LP: R. Vogelsong 2 FINAL
San Diego - WP: I. Kennedy 8
Arizona - LP: W. Miley 3 FINAL
Colorado - WP: C. Bergman 8
Cincinnati - WP: A. Simon 7 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: L. Lynn 2
San Diego 22 FINAL
Buffalo 10
Dallas 34 FINAL
St. Louis 31
Washington 34 FINAL
Philadelphia 37
Houston 17 FINAL
NY Giants 30
Minnesota 9 FINAL
New Orleans 20
Tennessee 7 FINAL
Cincinnati 33
Baltimore 23 FINAL
Cleveland 21
Green Bay 7 FINAL
Detroit 19
Indianapolis 44 FINAL
Jacksonville 17
Oakland 9 FINAL
New England 16
San Francisco 14 FINAL
Arizona 23
Denver 20 FINAL
Seattle 26
Kansas City 34 FINAL
Miami 15
Pittsburgh 37 FINAL
Carolina 19
Chicago 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Columbus 4 FINAL
Carolina 3
Buffalo 0 FINAL
Washington 1
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Columbus 4
Calgary 1 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Edmonton 0 FINAL
Calgary 1
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(12) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(9) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
North Carolina 41 FINAL
(23) East Carolina 70
Army 21 FINAL
Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(20) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
Rutgers 31 FINAL
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 FINAL
Kansas 24
Utah 26 FINAL
Michigan 10
Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
Louisville 34 FINAL
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
Missouri 27
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Minnesota 24
Texas State 35 FINAL
Illinois 42
Massachusetts 7 FINAL
Penn State 48
Georgia State 14 FINAL
Washington 45
Appalachian St 20 FINAL
Southern Miss 21
(14) Miss State 34 FINAL
(17) LSU 29
Northern Ill 14 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Middle Tennessee 17 FINAL
Memphis 36
Utah State 14 FINAL
Arkansas State 21
Miami-Ohio 24 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Idaho 24 FINAL
Ohio U 36
Ball State 23 FINAL
Toledo 34
(13) So Carolina 48 FINAL
Vanderbilt 34
(4) Oklahoma 45 FINAL
West Virginia 33
Ga Southern 28 FINAL
South Alabama 6
Houston 47
Miami-Florida 31 FINAL
(21) Nebraska 41
New Mexico 38 FINAL
New Mexico St 35
Clemson 17 FINAL
(1) Florida State 23
California 45 FINAL
Arizona 49
San Diego St 7 FINAL
Oregon State 28
(2) Oregon 38 FINAL
Washington St 31
Louisiana 9 FINAL
Boise State 34
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Chivas USA 0 FINAL
Toronto FC 3
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 15 FINAL
Montreal 31
Ottawa 32 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question