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.

Wild overcomes slow start by salvaging a point in overtime; Koivu's Olympics in jeopardy

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild game coverage Updated: February 2, 2014 - 12:54 AM

Only the Wild can strut into Anaheim, come away with its most impressive win in the year and wind up turning the same road trip into the feeling of such disappointment.

But that was the feeling in the locker room after tonight’s 4-3 overtime loss to Calgary. The Wild returned to Minnesota following a 1-1-2 road trip, which is better than the 1-2-1 trip it came so close to being.

Still, player after player called it a disappointment.

Evening from the Saddledome.

Here is the game story

Here is the notebook, which leads with Mikko Koivu's Olympics being in jeopardy.

Here is my Sunday column on an early look at Chuck Fletcher's thinking heading into the trade deadline.

Here is a Q&A with Ryan Suter.

The Wild battled back from a 3-1 deficit to get a point, but for the second consecutive game, it followed a horrible second period with a strong third period. Unlike Colorado on Thursday, the Wild at least forced overtime this time before Mikael Backlund’s winner 2:25 into the extra session.

In Colorado, the Wild gave up 18 shots in the second period and three goals. Tonight, another 18 shots and one, taking three penalties in an 11-minute span as Calgary took a 2-1 lead after Matt Cooke previously tied the score with his 15th career shortie.

The Wild was undisciplined, generated few scoring chances, was soft on pucks, threw pucks away and was sloppy in the first 40. Nineteen seconds into the third, the Wild drew a holding penalty with a chance to tie.

Instead, it gave up a shorthanded goal. That seemed to wake the Wild up because it was all Minnesota the rest of the period. At one point, the Wild was being outshot 26-10. The final shots were 32-23 as Dany Heatley and Keith Ballard scored 5:55 apart late in the third.

Coach Mike Yeo said, “Defensively we were OK, but offensively we very much on the perimeter and not gritty enough, not dirty enough. Took us to get down 3-1 to really start to develop that mentality.”

Yeo was happy with the way the Wild battled back, but he said the Wild has to rectify the second periods of the past two games.

“This hasn’t been a trend lately. It’s been the last two games and we have to fix it,” he said.

Early in the game, Yeo said the Wild wasn’t committed enough to playing a heavy game, getting to the middle and battling.

“We were looking for easier stuff instead of harder stuff,” Yeo said. “Every time we got the puck in the offensive zone, we threw it away, gave it to them and broke it out for them. When we’re playing well, we’re strong on that puck, we’re controlling the puck in the offensive zone, moving our feet. I didn’t see any of that early in the game.”

Calgary’s first goal, with two guys deep, Jason Zucker threw it away. Calgary’s third, the shortie, Ryan Suter tripped or was tripped (never saw a replay) and a 3-on-1 was triggered.

This was one of those games where the kids had trouble, weren’t strong on the puck. Charlie Coyle took two penalties and had one shot, although he made a great move and Karri Ramo robbed him. Nino Niederreiter didn’t get a shot off on three good lucks. Zucker worked his tail off but was bounced off the puck over and over and was minus-2.

After so much was made about putting together Zach Parise, Mikael Granlund and Jason Pominville, Parise and Pominville were minus-2 and Granlund was minus-3. Kyle Brodziak, struggling mightily in the faceoff circle lately, lost 13 of 16.

On the winning goal, there was a total breakdown between Ballard, Pominville, Granlund and Marco Scandella.

“Me and Granny (he meant Pominville) were in the corner, on the side boards with two of their guys,” Ballard said. “I think he thought I was going to go, he thought I was going to go. Neither one of us went fast enough.” Scandella then took himself out of the play by sliding, Granlund lost Sean Monahan and Pominville was defending the middle of the ice rather than Backlund.

The bad news is Phoenix beat Pittsburgh tonight and Dallas beat Anaheim. The Wild is going for one of the last two wildcard spots. There’s just no chance they’re going to catch St. Louis, Chicago or Colorado, so Phoenix, Dallas, Vancouver and maybe LA will be the teams to watch the rest of the year.

Wild’s still in 7th, two up on Vancouver and three up on Phoenix. Two home games before the break, starting Tuesday against the Lightning.

“We’ve got to take the points right now,” Heatley said. “It was a tough trip, a lot of travel, some good teams, We’ll take four points, but really would have liked six, I think.”

The Wild has Sunday off. I’d assume Stephane Veilleux at least will be Iowa bound soon. Talk to you Monday.


Team Irvin 32 FINAL
Team Carter 28
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 98 FINAL
Cleveland 108
Dallas 106 FINAL
New Orleans 109
Indiana 106 FINAL
Orlando 99
LA Clippers 120 FINAL
Phoenix 100
Minnesota 100 FINAL
Atlanta 112
Detroit 110 FINAL
Toronto 114
Milwaukee 95 FINAL
San Antonio 101
Boston 111 FINAL
Golden State 114
Washington 117 FINAL
Denver 115
Houston 99 FINAL
LA Lakers 87
Team Toews 17 FINAL
Team Foligno 12
South Florida 53 FINAL
Connecticut 66
Boston College 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Virginia 50 FINAL
Virginia Tech 47
Indiana 70 FINAL
Ohio State 82
Stony Brook 61 FINAL
Binghamton 54
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
UCF 46
Maine 70 FINAL
Hartford 61
Monmouth 64 FINAL
Manhattan 71
Fairfield 67 FINAL
Marist 73
Rowan 48 FINAL
Princeton 96
St Bonaventure 48 FINAL
Rhode Island 53
Duke 77 FINAL
St Johns 68
Saint Peters 69 FINAL
Siena 55
Drake 40 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Vermont 61 FINAL
UMass Lowell 50
Seton Hall 57 FINAL
Butler 77
South Alabama 55
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Illinois State 53
Louisville 80 FINAL
Pittsburgh 68
Albany 69
Niagara 64 FINAL
Iona 87
Notre Dame 81 FINAL
NC State 78
Belmont 63 FINAL
Tennessee St 55
Creighton 50 FINAL
Villanova 71
Northwestern 67 FINAL
Maryland 68
Washington 56 FINAL
Utah 77
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
Maine 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 55 FINAL
Alabama 52
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Lehigh 65
SMU 57
Utah 51 FINAL
Washington 63
James Madison 73 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 53
Delaware 56 FINAL
Drexel 61
Hofstra 56 FINAL
William & Mary 57
Hartford 58 FINAL
Albany 82
Binghamton 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Towson 63 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Wake Forest 80 FINAL
(17) Florida State 110
Georgia Tech 68 FINAL
Virginia 62
(22) Georgia 51 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 59
Drake 79 FINAL
Evansville 62
Iona 80 FINAL
Canisius 62
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Monmouth 59
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Penn State 76
Wisconsin 71 FINAL
Michigan State 77
Ohio State 79 FINAL
Purdue 71
Northern Iowa 57 FINAL
Indiana State 55
Butler 58 FINAL
Xavier 54
Creighton 93 FINAL
Marquette 75
Providence 42 FINAL
DePaul 90
Northeastern 77 FINAL
Elon 80
(2) Connecticut 96 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Oregon 78 FINAL
Arizona 81
Bradley 46 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 45
NC State 49 FINAL
(23) Syracuse 66
(7) Maryland 84 FINAL
Indiana 74
Illinois State 35 FINAL
Missouri State 58
Colorado 68 FINAL
Washington St 73
Tulane 45 FINAL
South Florida 64
(14) Kentucky 83 FINAL
Missouri 69
(9) Oregon State 68 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 57
Vermont 63 FINAL
UMass Lowell 72
Iowa State 58 FINAL
(8) Texas 57
Southern Ill 61 FINAL
Wichita State 80
(15) Duke 74 FINAL
(12) North Carolina 67
Miami-Florida 55 FINAL
(4) Louisville 68
(21) Minnesota 61 FINAL
(25) Rutgers 66
California 72 FINAL
(11) Stanford 71 FINAL
USC 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Does a Stadium Series outdoor Wild game get you excited?

Weekly Question