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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Faceoffs, faceoffs, faceoffs

Posted by: Chris Miller under Wild practice Updated: January 27, 2014 - 1:36 PM

The Wild is back at practice this afternoon in Anaheim after a day off in Southern California.

It plays the Ducks tomorrow night after opening a four-game road trip with a 3-2 overtime loss in San Jose. The game preview noted Joe Thornton had "only" six goals, and naturally he scored twice, including the game-winner.

Michael Russo is away from the team until Thursday, but provided some interesting faceoff stats:

1. Wild lost 41 of 59 (69%) of its draws Saturday.  Kyle Brodziak and Charlie Coyle were the culprits. Brodziak lost 15 of 17. Coyle lost 13 of 18.

2.  At the time of his injury, Mikko Koivu ranked third among NHL forwards in ice time (21:34), 16th in faceoff percentage (.557) and seventh in faceoffs taken (888). Koivu has been out 10 games after ankle surgery, and isn't likely to return this week.

3. Koivu’s broken ankle also came one day after the Wild lost Zenon Konopka, who has the highest faceoff percentage in the NHL since 2005-06. Konopka was claimed off waivers by the Buffalo Sabres.

4. The Wild was top-five in faceoff percentage at time of Koivu's injury. It has slipped to 10th at .513

5. Brodziak's faceoff stats have plummeted with Koivu out of the lineup. He has won 75 of 171 (.438) and his overall percentage has dropped from .502 to .490. In the past 13 games, Brodziak is at 89 of 213 (.417).

6.  Mikael Granlund has been a bright spot. His percentage last year was .471, and this year he is at .516. That looks better when you consider he was at .479 on Nov. 15.  With Koivu out, Granlund has won 83 of 159 (.522).

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