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.

Does the Wild need a No. 1 goalie? Darcy Kuemper doing his best to say no

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild game coverage Updated: March 1, 2014 - 10:13 AM

The Wild will sleep tight tonight on its four-hour charter back to Minnesota, one that’s supposed to land close to 5 a.m.

In a taxing, taxing game, its second in 24 hours, the Wild hung on for a 2-1 shootout win over the Vancouver Canucks tonight to gain a seven-point edge on a playoff spot.

Zach Parise scored the lone goal (his 20th through Dany Heatley’s screen, and 11th on the power play, which is tied for third in the NHL) in regulation – lone goal because referee Brad Meier thought he saw something that didn’t occur and wiped out a Keith Ballard equalizer earlier. And Darcy Kuemper, playing for the second time in two nights after shutting out Edmonton, made 30 saves and wasn’t beaten by one Canucks shooter in a seven-round shootout.

Justin Fontaine, in the seventh round and on his first NHL shootout attempt, beat Eddie Lack for the shootout winner.

Kuemper, who has started 14 in a row, is now 10-2-2 in his past 15 starts with a 1.94 goals-against average and .935 save percentage in that stretch. He’s showing zero signs of cracking and tonight won the Wild a game. The Wild battled hard and deserved what it got, but Kuemper was playing behind a very tired team the last half of the game and stole one, maybe two points.

So if you’re Chuck Fletcher, what do you do? If it were me, I’d ride out Kuemper but go out and get some insurance because of Josh Harding’s absence and Niklas Backstrom’s abdominal issue.

Lots of rumors out there tonight that Buffalo will try to flip Jaroslav Halak, whom it acquired from St. Louis today in a package for Ryan Miller, to Minnesota. There’s no doubt Fletcher’s good buddy Tim Murray will try. The impression I got internally though today from the organization is it has little interest in Halak.

We’ll see.

The Wild has inquired about Cam Ward and Martin Brodeur and has had Ilya Bryzgalov offered to them. There’s also Tim Thomas.

It’ll be interesting to see how Fletcher proceeds because while the Wild needs another goalie as insurance, but how do you not continue to go with Kuemper as the No. 1?

Huge PK by the Wild, which hasn’t allowed a power-play goal in six consecutive games, in overtime. Kyle Brodziak, Nate Prosser and Matt Cooke were the men on the ice. The three gents did a terrific job keeping Vancouver to the outside and staying in lanes. Cooke and Prosser blocked shots and Kuemper made one save. That also helped get the Wild the extra point.

The big controversy of the game came in the first when Meier, despite staring at the crease from 15 feet away, somehow thought Erik Haula made incidental contact with Eddie Lack. He waved off Keith Ballard’s goal. Replays showed there was zero contact, and ref supervisor Mick McGeough, in attendance, told me during the first intermission, “In my estimation, I think the goal should have counted. It was a good screen by [Haula]. He wasn’t in the blue when the puck entered the net, so it met the criteria for a good goal.”

Haula said, “I think [Meier] made a mistake and he was confident he made the right call. All the coaches said it wasn’t even close. I never touched the goalie. All that matters is we got two points though.”

Gutsy effort by the Wild to hang on tonight. Yeo loved the work ethic and the mental toughness to overcome a shortie and disallowed goal. Everybody worked their butt off.

That’s it for me. I'll be on KFAN at 10:20 a.m. Saturday.

The Wild has the day off Saturday. Barring news, talk Sunday.

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Yankees 0 Top 7th Inning
Toronto 2
Detroit 3 Top 6th Inning
Chicago WSox 6
Chicago Cubs 2 Bottom 2nd Inning
St. Louis 0
Cincinnati - A. Simon 3:05 PM
Pittsburgh - V. Worley
Minnesota - K. Gibson 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Philadelphia - J. Williams 6:10 PM
NY Mets - B. Colon
Miami - J. Cosart 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Harang
Boston - A. Webster 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi
Cleveland - T. Bauer 6:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Detroit - K. Ryan 6:10 PM
Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt
Texas - R. Ross Jr. 6:10 PM
Houston - S. Feldman
Colorado - T. Matzek 7:10 PM
Arizona - V. Nuno
Chicago Cubs - T. Wada 7:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Gonzales
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke 7:40 PM
San Diego - I. Kennedy
Milwaukee - M. Fiers 8:05 PM
San Francisco - J. Peavy
Oakland - J. Samardzija 8:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Rasmus
Washington - S. Strasburg 8:10 PM
Seattle - R. Elias
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 4th Qtr 11:15
UAB 41
(7) UCLA 28 4th Qtr 11:00
Virginia 17
Western Mich 28 3rd Qtr 0:41
Purdue 37
(5) Ohio State 20 4th Qtr 12:30
Navy 17
Appalachian St 14 4th Qtr 9:05
Michigan 49
Ga Southern 20 4th Qtr
NC State 10
Boston College 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 3:00 PM
Seattle
New England 4:00 PM
Toronto FC
Columbus 6:30 PM
Montreal
FC Dallas 7:30 PM
Chicago
Real Salt Lake 9:30 PM
San Jose
Portland 9:30 PM
Vancouver FC
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Chicago 6:00 PM
Indiana
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

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

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT