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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Wild vs. Flyers: Veilleux recalled; Stoner out, Prosser in; World junior TV info

Posted by: Michael Russo under On the road, Wild pregame skate Updated: December 23, 2013 - 12:04 PM

Wild and Flyers tonight at Wells Fargo Center on NBC Sports Network as both teams look to head into the NHL's holiday hiatus on a high. Dave Strader upstairs, Pierre McGuire between the benches.

The Flyers will be looking for their first nine-game home winning streak since 2005. During their eight-game home winning streak, they have outscored their opponents 32-15. Guys like Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek are running hot.

The Wild has lost seven of its last eight road games (1-6-1) with eight goals in that span and have no regulation road wins since Nov. 20. They did manage to score first for the first time in 11 road games last night at the Garden, so they’ve got that going for them.

Niklas Backstrom vs. Steve Mason tonight.

The Wild reassigned Erik Haula this morning and recalled the red-headed wonder, Stephane Veilleux.

Why would the lowest-scoring team in the Western Conference do that?

“Penalty killer, energy, emotion, physical,” coach Mike Yeo said. “We always like when Steph’s in our lineup because we know what we’re going to get with him. I think it’s important to have a fourth line that’s bringing that speed, that identity.”

Haula is not a fourth-liner and shouldn’t be. Yeo talked about after New York’s second goal last night, he put his fourth line out to get a momentum shift. Instead, there was a turnover and they were pinned in their zone.

“It would be useful,” Yeo said, to have a fourth line that can get the puck deep, get the momentum back and “help us get back to our game.” Veilleux can provide that, Yeo said.

My guess is Zenon Konopka comes back into the lineup and centers Veilleux and Torrey Mitchell.

The other three lines, Yeo said, he’s keeping a surprise.

He did say there will be some changes. I didn’t get the impression Yeo will split Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu today.

Parise’s a minus-5 on the trip, Koivu a minus-4. They have no points. I think with Mikael Granlund back in the lineup, it’s worth trying. I think it’s just too easy to load up on Koivu and Parise together on the road, but Yeo said the Granlund-Jason Pominville tandem is a “pretty difficult tandem to deal with as well. We do believe ti have those guys situated like that we do have more than one line to concentrate on.”

But why doesn’t he ever split Parise and Koivu?

“Mikko is a skilled player and needs skilled players with him,” Yeo said. “He needs guys, you look around the league, we’re not the only team to do that. I don’t want to start naming off centermen, but first-line centermen generally are going to play with first-line wingers. Skilled players need to play with skilled players. That’s what it comes down to.”

Again though, if you consider Nino Niederreiter and Charlie Coyle skilled, I don’t see why Koivu in the middle can’t be experimented with. The Wild is too one and done offensively. Get the puck in, try to win the battle and leave the zone when it doesn’t. If they do with the cycle battle, it usually results in one shot and out of the zone.

I like the size of a Niederreiter-Koivu-Coyle line on the cycle and the speed and plays a Parise-Granlund-Pominville line could bring. We’ll see.

Clayton Stoner will miss tonight’s game with a lower-body injury. Nate Prosser will play for the first time in 14 games (Nov. 25).

Yeo said, “He’s such a great pro. He’s done this. It’s not an easy job, a lot of guys can’t do it,” but he just wants Prosser to come in and “be effective in his game, provide a spark,” compete hard and defend hard.”

Prosser said just that, that he plans to flip the switch at the opening faceoff and be tough to play against.

Team meeting this morning and the big topic was being mentally tougher than folding up its tents with one goal against or bad portions of game. Yeo watched last night’s game again and felt the Wild actually had a better first half of the game than it has in some time.

Talk to you tonight. The good folks at TSN report defenseman Matt Dumba won’t face a suspension for his kneeing major in yesterday’s world junior championships tune-up game.

Speaking of which:

NEW YORK (December 18, 2013) – NHL Network-U.S. and NHL.com will
offer fans in the United States the opportunity to watch live competition
from the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship
, Dec. 26-Jan. 5 from Malmo, Sweden. The IIHF World Junior Championship
features the top men's hockey players in the world under the age of 20 and
is one of the featured events on the world hockey calendar each year.

        NHL Network-U.S. will broadcast 18 live contests from the 2014 IIHF
World Junior Championship, including every game from Team USA's group –
which features games against Canada, Czech Republic, Germany and Slovakia –
as well as the quarterfinals, semifinals, and bronze- and gold-medal games.
A complete schedule is below and available on www.nhlnetwork.com.

        Steve Mears, co-host of NHL Network’s NHL Live, will provide the
play-by-play along with NCAA/junior hockey analyst Dave Starman. TV/radio
host Jill Savage will serve as the rink-side reporter.

        NHL.com will provide a live stream of all Team USA tournament games
(available only in the U.S.) as well as the latest information from the
tournament, including news, recaps and select game highlights.

      In 2013, the United States took home gold by defeating defending
champion Sweden, 3-1, in the final. That earned Team USA its third medal
from the last four IIHF World Junior Championships, to go with gold in 2010
and bronze in 2011.

       2014 IIHF World Junior Championship NHL Network-U.S. Schedule
                Dec. 26, 2013-Jan. 5, 2014 • Malmo, Sweden
|-------------+------------------+-----------------+------------|
|Date         |Matchup           |Time (Local/ET)  |Live        |
|             |                  |                 |Streaming   |
|-------------+------------------+-----------------+------------|
|Thurs., Dec. |Canada vs. Germany|1:30 p.m./7:30   |            |
|26           |USA vs. Czech     |a.m.             |NHL.com     |
|             |Republic          |5:30 p.m./11:30  |            |
|             |                  |a.m.             |            |
|-------------+------------------+-----------------+------------|
|Fri., Dec. 27|Slovakia vs.      |3:00 p.m./9:00   |            |
|             |Germany           |a.m.             |            |
|-------------+------------------+-----------------+------------|
|Sat., Dec. 28|USA vs. Slovakia  |1:30 p.m./7:30   |NHL.com     |
|             |Canada vs. Czech  |a.m.             |            |
|             |Republic          |5:30 p.m./11:30  |            |
|             |                  |a.m.             |            |
|-------------+------------------+-----------------+------------|
|Sun., Dec. 29|USA vs. Germany   |3:00 p.m./9:00   |NHL.com     |
|             |                  |a.m.             |            |
|-------------+------------------+-----------------+------------|
|Mon., Dec. 30|Germany vs. Czech |1:30 p.m./7:30   |None        |
|             |Republic          |a.m.             |            |
|             |Canada vs.        |5:30 p.m./11:30  |            |
|             |Slovakia          |a.m.             |            |
|-------------+------------------+-----------------+------------|
|Tues., Dec.  |Czech Republic vs.|1:30 p.m./7:30   |            |
|31           |Slovakia          |a.m.             |NHL.com     |
|             |USA vs. Canada    |5:30 p.m./11:30  |            |
|             |                  |a.m.             |            |
|-------------+------------------+-----------------+------------|
|Thurs., Jan. |Quarterfinal #1   |noon/6:00 a.m.   |TBA         |
|2            |Quarterfinal #2   |2:30 p.m./8:30   |            |
|             |Quarterfinal #3   |a.m.             |            |
|             |Quarterfinal #4   |5:00 p.m./11:00  |            |
|             |                  |a.m.             |            |
|             |                  |7:30 p.m./1:30   |            |
|             |                  |p.m.             |            |
|-------------+------------------+-----------------+------------|
|Fri., Jan. 3 |Semifinal #1      |3:00 p.m./9:00   |TBA         |
|             |Semifinal #2      |a.m.             |            |
|             |                  |7:00 p.m./1:00   |            |
|             |                  |p.m.             |            |
|-------------+------------------+-----------------+------------|
|Sun., Jan. 5 |Bronze Medal Game |3:00 p.m./9:00   |TBA         |
|             |Gold Medal Game   |a.m.             |            |
|             |                  |7:00 p.m./1:00   |            |
|             |                  |p.m.             |            |
|-------------+------------------+-----------------+------------|\

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Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
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San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
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Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
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Philadelphia 46
Brooklyn 35 2nd Qtr 8:49
Cleveland 33
Washington 39 2nd Qtr 8:41
Miami 36
Minnesota 39 2nd Qtr 5:29
Boston 41
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Detroit 49
Chicago 11 1st Qtr 5:13
Memphis 10
Portland 11 1st Qtr 5:51
San Antonio 18
LA Clippers 8:00 PM
Denver
Oklahoma City 9:30 PM
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New Jersey 2
Anaheim 0 2nd Prd
Ottawa 2
NY Islanders 1 2nd Prd
Detroit 1
Boston 0 1st Prd 14:01
Winnipeg 1
Dallas 8:00 PM
Calgary
Wilberforce 71 FINAL
Youngstown St 92
Jackson State 49 FINAL
Tulane 56
Siena 66 FINAL
Radford 76
Stillman 23 2nd Half 18:07
Alabama 34
Case Western Reserve 52 2nd Half 11:20
Bucknell 66
Niagara 28 2nd Half 17:23
Buffalo 43
SD Christian 40 2nd Half 6:23
UC Santa Barbara 57
Concordia (MI) 45 2nd Half 13:45
Central Mich 60
Northern Ill 29 2nd Half 12:40
Dartmouth 40
North Florida 47 2nd Half 14:13
Florida A&M 35
Hiwassee 47 2nd Half 11:43
Gardner-Webb 67
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Hampton 40
NC A&T 30 2nd Half 15:20
Kent State 42
Central Penn College 46 2nd Half 12:37
Liberty 59
Eastern Ky 35 2nd Half 15:59
Miami-Florida 27
Northern Ky 55 2nd Half 13:46
Morehead State 42
Northern Ariz 32 2nd Half 10:34
Norfolk State 52
MD-Eastern Shore 29 2nd Half 12:04
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St Johns 22
Clemson 35 2nd Half 14:46
South Carolina 39
Tenn Tech 45 2nd Half 10:25
Tennessee 39
Washington-MD 29 2nd Half 9:48
William & Mary 65
Bethune-Cookman 18 1st Half 2:51
Mercer 30
Furman 26 1st Half 3:30
Fla Gulf Coast 31
South Dakota St 28 2nd Half
CS-Bakersfield 24
Milligan 3 1st Half 14:48
Lamar 15
LSU-Alexandria 14 1st Half 11:50
ULM 10
Southern Utah 2 1st Half 14:53
Loyola-Chicago 12
Chattanooga 2 1st Half 15:50
Middle Tennessee 6
Seattle 5 1st Half 15:44
Minnesota 12
Lipscomb 12 1st Half 12:11
Princeton 13
Winthrop 8 1st Half 15:09
SE Louisiana 10
Dickinson State 7 1st Half 12:45
North Dakota 6
New Orleans 6 1st Half 15:49
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TX-Pan American 8:00 PM
Creighton
Colorado State 8:00 PM
Denver
Alabama A&M 8:00 PM
Marquette
Ark-Pine Bluff 8:00 PM
Texas Tech
Eastern Wash 9:00 PM
California
Idaho State 9:05 PM
Utah State
Arizona 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 10:59 PM
Chaminade
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
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Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
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Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
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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
Ohio Valley 33 FINAL
Youngstown St 84
East Tenn St 48 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 61
Cal-Irvine 44 FINAL
Purdue 69
Campbell 63 FINAL
Stetson 76
Jacksonville St 70 FINAL
Charleston Southern 43
Louisiana 64 FINAL
Alcorn State 57
Denver 63 FINAL
Wright State 72
Blue Mountain 30 FINAL
Central Arkansas 71
Texas State 51 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 40
Albany 62 FINAL
Pepperdine 36
TX-San Antonio 53 FINAL
Houston 56
Yale 66 FINAL
Bucknell 73
Northern Colorado 56 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 69
Belmont 86 FINAL
Mercer 83
Massachusetts 66 FINAL
Georgia State 71
George Mason 69 FINAL
Winthrop 57
Portland State 33 FINAL
Princeton 104
UCLA 71 FINAL
Samford 52
Mobile 30 FINAL
Alabama State 66
Toledo 65 FINAL
Nevada 56
UMass Lowell 48 FINAL
(13) Duke 95
Nicholls 47 2nd Half 1:22
Texas Tech 73
St Marys-CA 28 2nd Half 12:23
Virginia 39
McNeese State 26 2nd Half 17:03
Rice 24
McMurry 32 2nd Half 10:31
Houston Baptist 48
NJIT 41 2nd Half 12:23
Seton Hall 55
(6) North Carolina 29 2nd Half 15:43
Maine 22
Lafayette 44 2nd Half 12:00
Stony Brook 46
Siena 40 2nd Half 11:17
Binghamton 31
Longwood 33 2nd Half 16:00
Clemson 38
Savannah State 31 2nd Half 15:22
Florida State 57
(19) Syracuse 45 2nd Half 11:55
(9) Baylor 52
Buffalo 31 2nd Half 15:57
Manhattan 23
Canisius 24 2nd Half 14:39
Michigan 52
Davidson 42 2nd Half 13:58
NC State 56
Northern Ky 43 2nd Half 16:03
Delaware 30
Saint Louis 30 1st Half 2:04
Austin Peay 35
(25) DePaul 33 2nd Half
(2) Connecticut 53
Ohio U 32 2nd Half
La Salle 40
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
Tulane
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Memphis 12
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UAB 11
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