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 update: Harding looks good, Bryzgalov wants to return, Yeo at State Fair, Ticket info

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild off-season news Updated: August 21, 2014 - 11:59 AM

Going to the Minnesota State Fair? Toss this in your calendars: Wild coach Mike Yeo will visit the Star Tribune booth on Wednesday, Aug. 27, at 1:30 p.m.

On the back patio of our booth, I will conduct a Q and A with Yeo regarding the upcoming season. If you attend, please come on by and you can even ask a question yourself. Or, if you cannot attend, tweet me at @russostrib that morning and I’ll try to ask Yeo your question. The Q and A will be streamed live on www.startribune.com/wild.

If you have attended these in previous State Fairs with Yeo or GM Chuck Fletcher, it’s always a good, candid chat and fun time for the many who attend, so please join. You can even get free Star Tribune Chap Stick!

I will also be broadcasting with Paul Allen at the KFAN booth at 9:55-10:55 a.m. Friday, August 29, so stop on by.

--Speaking of the Wild, the team just announced that preseason single-game tickets will go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. Regular-season single-game tickets will go on sale Sept. 20 at 10 a.m. at Xcel Energy Center’s box office and noon at Ticketmaster and all other locations. Tickets start at $32. The team also announced the return of the five-game pack. Those are available at the State Fair and wild.com/5game.

--Throughout the Twin Cities, the pre-training camp skates run by Octagon (Ben Hankinson and Chris McAlpine) and Neil Sheehy have started. Those include Wild players and Minnesota-based NHLers, college players and some elite high school players. I checked out the Octagon skate a few times this week and players like Zach Parise, Josh Harding, Keith Ballard, Ryan McDonagh, Dustin Byfuglien, Derek Stepan, Ryan Malone, Matt Carle, Ryan Jones, Alex Goligoski, Clayton Stoner, Stephane Veilleux, Matt Cooke, Matt Hendricks, Drew Stafford, Kyle Okposo, Tim Jackman, John Scott, Mark Alt, Nate Condon, Davis Drewiske were there. Sorry if I missed a few. I was also impressed young Wild players like Christian Folin and Kurtis Gabriel are already in town.

“I just want to get used to everything and give myself the best possible chance [to make the team],” Folin said.

“I want to be the best I can be,” Gabriel said.

Malone looked good and with his legal issues soon behind him from Tampa, one would think somebody signs him (Rangers have talked to him) or he attends a training camp on a tryout.

--The guy who looked really good was Harding. He hasn’t played an NHL game since Dec. 31, so it was a good sign to see him back on the ice and looking like he hasn’t missed a beat. Remember, he led the NHL in goals-against average and save percentage last year. If you remember, he was practicing every day of the Chicago series, so he was close to returning last postseason. Health-wise now, he says he feels great and on the ice, he looks great.

So, that’s a good sign. Fletcher also said last week that Nik Backstrom continues to feel good and should be ready to go when camp begins Sept. 18.

--All this is interesting because durable veteran Ilya Bryzgalov, who went 7-1-3 down the stretch of the regular season to help the Wild make the playoffs (lone regulation loss was that meaningless finale vs. Nashville), wants to return to the Wild, his agent tells me.

“Ilya would very much like to return to the Wild and further the success the team had down the stretch last year,” agent Ritch Winter said. “It was one of the most satisfying experiences he has had in his career. 

“Ilya loved his teammates in Minnesota, loved the city and loved and appreciated the support he received from the coaching staff and Wild fans. He would love to be a part of helping this team to enjoy the success they had together last year.

“He has instructed me to do all I can to facilitate a return to the Twin Cities even if it requires him to compromise somewhat to accommodate the budget issues facing the team if that becomes a possibility.”

The issue is roster room. Harding assures Fletcher he is ready to go. Same with Backstrom. Right now, Darcy Kuemper remains unsigned, but the Wild is working toward re-signing him.

Fletcher has great respect for Bryzgalov, but he has said that with Harding, Backstrom and eventually Kuemper occupying three of the 23-man roster, it’s tough to simply sign Bryzgalov.

From the previous blog, Fletcher said he intentionally communicated with Backstrom and Harding to make sure they were OK and there were no issues he was unaware of in case he needed to react and address the situation by signing Bryzgalov or somebody else.

But Fletcher said, “everything’s a go with both goalies” and “this is how we’re going to start.”

“If something happens, like any player at any position, we’ll react,” Fletcher continued. “There’s always a way to react if you need to, but at this point, we’re comfortable with our situation. They’re quality goaltenders and I’m not losing any sleep over it. We have confidence in them and this is how we’re going to start. There’s no reason to doubt their ability. If they’re healthy, we’ll be fine. And God forbid if a situation happens like last year, then we’ll deal with it. We have three goalies. It’s not like we have one. We have three. We feel we have depth, quality and quantity, and there’s just no reason to doubt the players that are there.”

For Fletcher’s full quotes, see the previous blog.

So, right now, Winter will continue to talk to Fletcher, but if all the goalies remain healthy, Fletcher may be unwavering here.

-- On Sept. 6 at Fogerty Arena at 6 p.m., there will be an NHL Alumni Game to honor Wyatt Klute, a 14-year-old freshman at Blaine who has been diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma. For more information on the game, go to http://www.wyattklute.com

--Here is the Wild's Fox Sports North broadcast schedule for this upcoming season:

2014-15 Minnesota Wild – FOX Sports North Schedule

                       

Date                Day                             Opponent                   Time  

Oct. 11             Saturday                      at Colorado                  8:00pm           

Oct. 17             Friday                          at Anaheim                  9:00pm           

Oct. 19             Sunday                                    at Los Angeles                         2:00pm           

Oct. 23             Thursday                     Arizona                       7:00pm           

Oct. 25             Saturday                      Tampa Bay                 7:00pm           

Oct. 27             Monday                       at NY Rangers             6:00pm           

Oct. 30             Thursday                     San Jose                      7:00pm            +

Nov. 1             Saturday                      Dallas                          7:00pm

Nov. 4             Tuesday                       Pittsburgh                   7:00pm           

Nov. 6             Thursday                     at Ottawa                     6:30pm           

Nov. 8             Saturday                      at Montreal                  6:00pm            +

Nov. 11                       Tuesday                       at New Jersey              6:00pm           

Nov. 13                       Thursday                     Buffalo                        7:00pm           

Nov. 15                       Saturday                      at Dallas                       1:00pm           

Nov. 16                       Sunday                                    Winnipeg                     4:00pm           

Nov. 20                       Thursday                     at Philadelphia                         6:00pm           

Nov. 22                       Saturday                      at Tampa Bay              6:00pm            +

Nov. 24                       Monday                       at Florida                     6:30pm           

Nov. 26                       Wednesday                  Los Angeles                7:00pm           

Nov. 28                       Friday                          at Dallas                       7:30pm            +

Nov. 29                       Saturday                      St. Louis                      7:00pm           

Dec. 3              Wednesday                  Montreal                     6:00pm           

Dec. 5              Friday                          Anaheim                      7:00pm            +

Dec. 9              Tuesday                       NY Islanders               7:00pm           

Dec. 11                        Thursday                     at San Jose                   9:30pm           

Dec. 13                        Saturday                      at Arizona                    7:00pm           

Dec. 16                        Tuesday                       at Chicago                    7:30pm           

Dec. 20                        Saturday                      Nashville                     7:00pm           

Dec. 23                        Tuesday                       Philadelphia                6:00pm            +

Dec. 27                        Saturday                      Winnipeg                     6:00pm           

Dec. 29                        Monday                       at Winnipeg                 7:00pm

Dec. 31                        Wednesday                  at Columbus                6:00pm           

Jan. 2               Friday                          Toronto                       7:00pm           

Jan. 3               Saturday                      at Dallas                       7:00pm           

Jan. 8               Thursday                     Chicago                       7:00pm           

Jan. 10             Saturday                      Nashville                     1:00pm           

Jan. 15             Thursday                     at Buffalo                    6:00pm

Jan. 17             Saturday                      Arizona                       8:00pm

Jan. 19             Monday                       Columbus                    7:00pm           

Jan. 20             Tuesday                       at Detroit                      6:30pm

Jan. 27             Tuesday                       at Edmonton                8:30pm

Jan. 29             Thursday                     at Calgary                    8:00pm

Feb. 1              Sunday                                    at Vancouver               2:30pm

Feb. 7              Saturday                      Colorado                     7:00pm

Feb. 9              Monday                       Vancouver                  7:00pm

Feb. 10                        Tuesday                       at Winnipeg                 7:00pm

Feb. 12                        Thursday                     Florida                        7:00pm

Feb. 14                        Saturday                      Carolina                      7:00pm

Feb. 16                        Monday                       at Vancouver               9:00pm

Feb. 18                        Wednesday                  at Calgary                    8:30pm

Feb. 20                        Friday                          at Edmonton                8:00pm+

Feb. 24                        Tuesday                       Edmonton                   7:00pm

Feb. 28                        Saturday                      at Colorado                  9:00pm

Mar. 3              Tuesday                       Ottawa                                    7:00pm

Mar. 5              Thursday                     at Washington              6:00pm

Mar. 6              Friday                          at Carolina                   6:00pm           

Mar. 8              Sunday                                    Colorado                     5:00pm

Mar. 10                        Tuesday                       New Jersey                 7:00pm

Mar. 13                        Friday                          Anaheim                      7:00pm

Mar. 14                        Saturday                      at St. Louis                   7:00pm

Mar. 17                        Tuesday                       at Nashville                  7:00pm

Mar. 19                        Thursday                     Washington                 7:00pm

Mar. 21                        Saturday                      St. Louis                      1:00pm

Mar. 23                        Monday                       at Toronto                    6:30pm

Mar. 24                        Tuesday                       at NY Islanders                        6:00pm

Mar. 27                        Friday                          Calgary                       7:00pm+

Mar. 28                        Saturday                      Los Angeles                7:00pm

Apr. 2              Thursday                     NY Rangers                7:00pm

Apr. 4              Saturday                      Detroit                        6:00pm

Apr. 6              Monday                       Winnipeg                     7:00pm

Apr. 9              Thursday                     at Nashville                  7:00pm

+ airs on FOX Sports North Plus

All Times Central

Schedule Subject to Change

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Toronto - LP: D. Hutchison 2 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Tanaka 5
Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 2 FINAL
Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi 1
NY Mets - WP: J. deGrom 10 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: E. Santana 2
Boston - WP: J. Kelly 3 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: M. Gonzalez 2
Milwaukee - LP: W. Peralta 0 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 1
Chicago WSox - WP: J. Danks 10 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: N. Karns 5
Cleveland - WP: C. Kluber 7 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: A. Swarzak 2
Detroit - LP: R. Porcello 2 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Guthrie 5
Seattle - LP: H. Iwakuma 3 FINAL
Houston - WP: C. McHugh 8
Los Angeles - WP: C. Perez 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Turner 5
Texas - WP: S. Tolleson 2 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: H. Street 1
Philadelphia 6 Top 9th Inning
Oakland 6
San Francisco 2 Bottom 8th Inning
San Diego 8
Arizona - LP: W. Miley 3 FINAL
Colorado - WP: C. Bergman 8
Cincinnati - A. Simon 7:05 PM
St. Louis - L. Lynn
San Diego 22 FINAL
Buffalo 10
Dallas 34 FINAL
St. Louis 31
Washington 34 FINAL
Philadelphia 37
Houston 17 FINAL
NY Giants 30
Minnesota 9 FINAL
New Orleans 20
Tennessee 7 FINAL
Cincinnati 33
Baltimore 23 FINAL
Cleveland 21
Green Bay 7 FINAL
Detroit 19
Indianapolis 44 FINAL
Jacksonville 17
Oakland 9 FINAL
New England 16
San Francisco 14 FINAL
Arizona 23
Denver 12 4th Qtr 2:25
Seattle 17
Kansas City 27 4th Qtr 1:58
Miami 15
Pittsburgh 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Columbus 4 FINAL
Carolina 3
Buffalo 0 3rd Prd 2:17
Washington 1
St. Louis 1 2nd Prd
Columbus 1
Calgary 7:00 PM
Edmonton
Edmonton 7:00 PM
Calgary
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(12) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(9) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
North Carolina 41 FINAL
(23) East Carolina 70
Army 21 FINAL
Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(20) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
SMU 6
Rutgers 31 FINAL
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 FINAL
Kansas 24
Utah 26 FINAL
Michigan 10
Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
Louisville 34 FINAL
FIU 3
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
Missouri 27
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Minnesota 24
Texas State 35 FINAL
Illinois 42
Massachusetts 7 FINAL
Penn State 48
Georgia State 14 FINAL
Washington 45
Appalachian St 20 FINAL
Southern Miss 21
(14) Miss State 34 FINAL
(17) LSU 29
Northern Ill 14 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Middle Tennessee 17 FINAL
Memphis 36
Utah State 14 FINAL
Arkansas State 21
Miami-Ohio 24 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Idaho 24 FINAL
Ohio U 36
Ball State 23 FINAL
Toledo 34
(13) So Carolina 48 FINAL
Vanderbilt 34
(4) Oklahoma 45 FINAL
West Virginia 33
Ga Southern 28 FINAL
South Alabama 6
UNLV 14 FINAL
Houston 47
Miami-Florida 31 FINAL
(21) Nebraska 41
New Mexico 38 FINAL
New Mexico St 35
Clemson 17 FINAL
(1) Florida State 23
California 45 FINAL
Arizona 49
San Diego St 7 FINAL
Oregon State 28
(2) Oregon 38 FINAL
Washington St 31
Louisiana 9 FINAL
Boise State 34
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Chivas USA 0 FINAL
Toronto FC 3
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 15 FINAL
Montreal 31
Ottawa 32 0:00
Saskatchewan 35
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