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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Breaking down the Wild's 2014-15 schedule; Russo's Roadie Tips

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild news, Wild off-season news Updated: June 22, 2014 - 3:04 PM

The NHL announced the 82-game regular-season schedules (41 home, 41 road) for all 30 teams this afternoon.

The Wild will be challenged early, playing five of its first eight games in a nine-game October on the road. Most bizarrely, after a home-and-home series Oct. 9 and Oct. 11 vs. Colorado to open the season, the Wild will probably will return home to practice (selfishly, I think Mike Yeo should do the right thing and take the team to Vegas ... or Hawaii) and won't play next until six days later Oct. 17 at Anaheim and Oct. 19 at reigning Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles.

After a training camp that will last from Sept. 18-Oct. 8, those will be six long days. What left will there be for me to write about? (Joking).

Some nuggets:

-- The Wild will play 29 games vs. its Central Division rivals (this is what happens when there's 7 teams in each division in the West), with Colorado and Winnipeg coming to Minnesota three times and the Wild going to Chicago, Dallas (gulp; one win there since March 21, 2003, sad that I know that by heart?) and Nashville three times. The Wild plays St. Louis four times.

-- The Wild plays three games each vs. the Pacific for a total of 21 games with Anaheim, ARIZONA (no longer Phoenix), L.A. and San Jose coming to Minnesota twice and the Wild, like old times (long live the Northwest Division!), going to Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver twice.

-- The Wild plays the 16 teams in the East one time each, home and away for a total of 32 games.

-- Sid the Kid and Evgeni Malkin and the Pens come to Minnesota Nov. 4, Stanley Cup champs come to Minnesota the first time Nov. 26 in the day before Thanksgiving game, for a change, the Wild will be on the road New Year's Eve at Columbus, the All-Star Game will be held in Columbus on Jan. 25 and the Wild closes the season at Chicago, at Nashville and at St. Louis.

-- After the All-Star Game, the Wild will play 18 home games and 18 road games during the stretch drive. Of those 36 games, 14 will be against the Central Division and 25 vs. the West.

-- The Wild has 13 sets of back-to-back, including a rare home back-to-back March 27-28 vs. Calgary and Los Angeles.

-- The Wild's longest homestand is five games March 27-April 6 vs. Calgary, L.A., the Rangers, Detroit and Winnipeg.

-- The Wild has seven three-game road trips and one four-game road trip, although that's a fake four-game road trip because the All-Star Game separates at Detroit with a Western Canadian swing to all three teams there.

-- Besides the first two games vs. and at Colorado, the only other home and home series is vs. Winnipeg on Dec. 27 and at Winnipeg on Dec. 29.

-- Judging by the time of the Jan. 17 game against Arizona, I assume that's Hockey Day Minnesota. The host city hasn't been announced.

-- As I mentioned last week, no stadium series game hosted by the Wild this season. For part of the reason why, see the previous blog.

-- Lastly, to answer my annual flurry of emails this time of year, my favorite road cities for various reasons: 1. Chicago; 2. Vancouver; 3. New York City; 4. Phoenix; 5. San Jose/Anaheim/L.A. circuit; 6. Washington; 7. Denver; 8. Montreal; 9. Boston; 10. Nashville; 11. Las Vegas (one day, I promise!).

There are so many other cities that are cool (some crummy ones, too), so don't be offended if I failed to mention yours.

Couple awesome Wild trips if you're looking for a few ideas: at Anaheim/LA in October; at Rangers/Boston in October because it's two incredible cities and a simple train ride or LaGuardia to Logan Delta shuttle; at Ottawa/MTL in November because it's a 90-minute drive between the two cities, the Canadian capital is one of my favorite places even though I failed to mention it above and you get an off-night in MTL; at TB/FLA in November because it's a short, relatively cheap Southwest flight between Tampa and Ft. Lauderdale or a 3-hour drive; at San Jose (squeeze in Napa if you can)/Glendale in December (weather!) and at Winnipeg in February because you really, really, really should experience what I'm going to have to experience (actually, more than likely, my backup). smiley

On schedule-release day, I always realize how lucky I am to have this job. I mean, get paid to cover hockey AND travel for what's about to be my 20th year (10th covering the Wild)!!!

Who came up with this idea?

This morning I got an email from a Mankato student who's a hockey/journalism fanatic. He happened to mention he has never been out of the state of Minnesota besides North Dakota once and Wisconsin.

I couldn't get it out of my head for a few hours.

It was a great reminder how lucky I am to see the continent annually on the Star Tribune's dime (actually, the paper invests a lot more than a dime to our sports coverage) and then build the miles/hotel points to see the world during the offseasons fairly cheaply.

Of course, remind me of everything I just said when I undoubtedly whine to you on Twitter during travel delays and complain from Winnipeg this upcoming February (Brrrr).

-- If you missed, here's a Chuck Fletcher feature from today's paper mostly from the eyes of Craig Leipold.

2013-14 Minnesota Wild schedule

SEPTEMBER (PRESEASON)

Mon.     22                           at Winnipeg        7:00 p.m.            

Thur.     25                           at Pittsburgh      6:00 p.m.

SAT.       27                           WINNIPEG          7:00 P.M.

MON.    29                           PITTSBURGH      7:00 P.M.

Thur.     2                              at St. Louis          7:00 p.m.

SAT.       4                              ST. LOUIS             7:00 P.M.            

OCTOBER (REGULAR SEASON)

THUR.   9                              COLORADO         7:30 P.M.            

Sat.        11                           at Colorado         8:00 p.m.

Fri.          17                           at Anaheim         9:00 p.m.

Sun.       19                           at Los Angeles   3:00 p.m.

THUR.   23                           ARIZONA             7:00 P.M.

SAT.       25                           TAMPA BAY       7:00 P.M.            

Mon.     27                           at N.Y. Rangers 6:00 p.m.

Tue.       28                           at Boston             6:00 p.m.

THUR.   30                           SAN JOSE             7:00 P.M.

NOVEMBER

SAT.       1                              DALLAS 7:00 P.M.

TUE.       4                              PITTSBURGH      7:00 P.M.

Thur.     6                              at Ottawa            6:30 p.m.

Sat.        8                              at Montreal        6:00 p.m.

Tue.       11                           at New Jersey   6:00 p.m.

THUR.   13                           BUFFALO             7:00 P.M.

Sat.        15                           at Dallas               1:00 p.m.

SUN.      16                           WINNIPEG          4:00 P.M.

Thur.     20                           at Philadelphia  6:00 p.m.

Sat.        22                           at Tampa Bay     6:00 p.m.

Mon.     24                           at Florida             6:30 p.m.

WED.     26                           LOS ANGELES     7:00 P.M.

Fri.          28                           at Dallas               7:30 p.m.

SAT.       29                           ST. LOUIS             7:00 P.M.

DECEMBER

WED.     3                              MONTREAL         6:00 P.M.            

FRI.        5                              ANAHEIM           7:00 P.M.

TUE.       9                              N.Y. ISLANDERS                7:00 P.M.

Thur.     11                           at San Jose          9:30 p.m.

Sat.        13                           at Arizona            7:00 p.m.

Tue.       16                           at Chicago           7:30 p.m.

WED.     17                           BOSTON               7:00 P.M.

SAT.       20                           NASHVILLE         7:00 P.M.

TUE.       23                           PHILADELPHIA  6:00 P.M.

SAT.       27                           WINNIPEG          6:00 P.M.

Mon.     29                           at Winnipeg        7:00 p.m.

Wed.     31                           at Columbus       6:00 p.m.         

JANUARY

FRI.        2                              TORONTO           7:00 P.M.            

Sat.        3                              at Dallas               7:00 p.m.            

TUE.       6                              SAN JOSE             7:00 P.M.

THUR.   8                              CHICAGO            7:00 P.M.

SAT.       10                           NASHVILLE         1:00 P.M.

Sun.       11                           at Chicago           7:00 p.m.

Tue.       13                           at Pittsburgh      6:00 p.m.

Thur.     15                           at Buffalo            6:00 p.m.

SAT.       17                           ARIZONA             8:00 P.M.            

MON.    19                           COLUMBUS        7:00 P.M.

Tue.       20                           at Detroit             6:30 p.m.

Sun.       25                           NHL ALL-STAR GAME (Columbus, Ohio)

Tue.       27                           at Edmonton      8:30 p.m.

Thur.     29                           at Calgary            8:00 p.m.

FEBRUARY

Sun.       1              at Vancouver     2:30 p.m.

TUE.       3              CHICAGO            7:00 P.M.

SAT.       7              COLORADO         7:00 P.M.

MON.    9              VANCOUVER     7:00 P.M.

Tue.       10           at Winnipeg        7:00 p.m.

THUR.   12           FLORIDA              7:00 P.M.

SAT.       14           CAROLINA           7:00 P.M.

Mon.     16           at Vancouver     9:00 p.m.

Wed.     18           at Calgary            8:30 p.m.

Fri.          20           at Edmonton      8:00 p.m.

SUN.      22           DALLAS 7:00 P.M.

TUE.       24           EDMONTON       7:00 P.M.

Thur.     26           at Nashville         7:00 p.m.

Sat.        28           at Colorado         9:00 p.m.

MARCH

TUE.       3              OTTAWA             7:00 P.M.

Thur.     5              at Washington   6:00 p.m.

Fri.          6              at Carolina           6:00 p.m.

SUN.      8              COLORADO         5:00 P.M.

TUE.       10           NEW JERSEY       7:00 P.M.

FRI.        13           ANAHEIM           7:00 P.M.

Sat.        14           at St. Louis          7:00 p.m.            

Tue.       17           at Nashville         7:00 p.m.

THUR.   19           WASHINGTON  7:00 P.M.

SAT.       21           ST. LOUIS             1:00 P.M.

Mon.     23           at Toronto           6:30 p.m.            

Tue.       24           at N.Y. Islanders               6:00 p.m.

FRI.        27           CALGARY             7:00 P.M.                                                            

SAT.       28           LOS ANGELES     7:00 P.M.

APRIL

THUR.   2              N.Y. RANGERS   7:00 P.M.            

SAT.       4              DETROIT               6:00 P.M.            

MON.    6              WINNIPEG          7:00 P.M.

Tue.       7              at Chicago           7:30 p.m.

Thur.     9              at Nashville         7:00 p.m.            

Sat.        11           at St. Louis          6:30 p.m.

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