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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Word to the Wise: Alex Chiasson is from Quebec and Lindy Ruff, Ray Whitney are good chaps

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild pregame skate Updated: October 12, 2013 - 2:15 PM

The Wild and Dallas South Stars tonight at the X. Getting an up close look at the Stars' new unis this morning, I'm starting to like them.

The whites looked real good on TV last night in Winnipeg and their green practice sweaters are sharp. So I apologize if by chance I may have publicly called them ugly or something.

And to answer your questions and tweets preemptively tonight, "NO!!!!" Now that the Stars have new unis, the Wild is not going to change its name to the North Stars and not going to adopt the North Stars logo again.

Geez. Move on people.

Same Wild lineup tonight. Josh Harding gets the start. Darcy Kuemper riding shotgun. Dan Ellis starting for the South Stars.

Let's Play Hockey? My buddy Paul Fletcher, the afternoon guy to spins records for Cities 97. I haven't been this excited since Candace Cameron Bure said to me after a Panthers game at 9:57 p.m. on Nov. 24, 2003, "Looking good Russo."

Yes, I wrote it down in an MS Word file. Candace is married to Valeri Bure, whose wine I happened to drink last night. If you haven't checked out his wine, I highly recommend going to www.burefamilywines.com.

I wasn't paid for that endorsement. I swear.

Coach Mike Yeo said he talked to the Wild today about refocusing, not feeling too good about one win over Winnipeg and to "prepare for a tougher game" against a real good opponent tonight in Dallas. The Wild heads on the road for four at Buffalo, Toronto, Tampa Bay and Florida next week, so he wants to head into that trip on a good note.

Incidentally, I did a little calculation this morning and the West is 18-5-2 against the East this season. That has been the trend the last few years I believe (well, last year there was no West vs. East). Two years ago, the Wild was 5-9-4 against the East though, so the Wild will have to repair that this season if it wants to make the playoffs. Maybe having some East experienced dudes in the room will help, like Zach Parise, Jason Pominville and Matt Cooke.

Back to Dallas, the Stars have good young talent. Tyler Seguin, run out of Boston but the No. 2 pick in the draft a few years back, had a four-point game in a 4-1 win over the Jets last night. I'm no math major, but that's playing a part in every goal. He looked awesome.

Another kid to watch? Alex Chiasson. He has nine goals in 10 games in his NHL career, only the seventh player to have 9+ in 10 games in the modern era. Others include Teemu Selanne and Pat LaLaLaLaFontaine.

Something embarrassing happened this morning, but I go up to Chiasson to interview him about Charlie Coyle because I knew they were linemates at Boston University. Embarrassingly, I really had no clue where Chiasson was from, and since he went to BU and since Coyle talks like a mix of my Boston-raised sports editor Glen Crevier and New Englander John Torchetti, I'm expecting Chiasson to have a similar Good Will Hunting-like accent for some unGodly, stupid reason.

Nope, first words that came out of Chiasson's mouth were accompanied by a French Canadian accent. Threw me for a loop! But I held a good poker face and asked super good questions of the kid.

I'll probably do something more on Chiasson in next Sunday's Insider. The column actually may have more to do with one of the players who is mentoring him, Ray Whitney. I covered Whitney in yesteryear and what a remarkable career he has had. This is his 22nd season, and he credits Chuck Fletcher for saving his career.

He says without Fletcher and Bryan Murray pulling him off waivers in 1997, his career doesn't get to 300 games, let alone 1,300.

I talked to Stars coach Lindy Ruff about Pominville, who was his captain when he coached the Buffalo Sabres. Ruff called Pominville their "best all-around player" when he was there. Remember, Pominville makes his first return to Buffalo on Monday.

Ruff's a good chap, by the way. Great coach, even better person. I covered him in Florida once upon a time when he was the Panthers' assistant coach. Amazingly, it was the summer of 1997 when I was in the Florida Marlins' press box writing about him getting hired as the Buffalo Sabres coach. In a league where coaches are hired to be fired and bounce around almost like players, this is the first year since that Ruff is coaching a different team.

Ruff, by the way, knows this area a little bit. He's former Wild assistant coach and Gophers defenseman Mike Ramsey's best friend, so he's come here to visit before. They're not getting together today though because Mike's up in Penticton watching his son Jack play during parent's weekend.

Niklas Backstrom took part in the skate today. He still doesn't look like he's pushing a lot off that right knee. Still too early to say if he's coming on the trip tomorrow. Maybe the Wild bring three goalies just in case.

Again, I'd think Harding starts in Buffalo and the Wild would go with Backstrom, or Kuemper, in Toronto.

Iowa opens tonight, so keep one eye on the Baby Wild. Talk tonight.

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