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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Thursday morning thoughts

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild practice Updated: November 4, 2010 - 9:41 AM

Morning. Just figured I'd check in before I begin my Sunday package. Kent Youngblood has practice today, I've got the games tomorrow vs. Calgary and Saturday in Columbus.

Just watching NHL On the Fly, my favorite show on TV. Kevin Weekes is one of the best analysts, and it's awesome to see Bobby Holik on there. The guy was always one of the most intelligent interviews, and it's amazing how well-spoken he is when you can consider his first language is Czech.

Great night in the NHL:

-- Four guys got their first NHL goals.

-- Chris Mason made 52 saves to lift Atlanta to a win over Florida.

-- Zach Parise-less New Jersey walked into Chicago and won, despite losing Marty Brodeur to an elbow injury.

-- Ed Jovanovski became the first Phoenix Coyotes/Winnipeg Jets defenseman to ever record a hat trick (according to the Twittersphere). Great picture floating around out there of Jovo celebrating with Ray Whitney. The cool thing about that moment is they used to be ex-Florida teammates in the late 90s while the Cats still played at Miami Arena. Not a lot of ex-Florida players still roaming the ice that used to play at that, if I remember correctly, 14,703-seat barn.

I think only Radek Dvorak and Rob Niedermayer are the others.

--Tim Thomas became the first Boston Bruins goalie ever to start the season 7-0-0 (according to play-by-play guy Jack Edwards).

-- Sidney Crosby dropped the gloves with Matt Niskanen in a fight-fest in Dallas. Loui Eriksson also scored on a sick penalty shot in that game.

-- George Parros shaved his moustache.

 Couple scraps that didn't fit into the paper:

-- Here's the full Todd Richards quotes on using John Madden and Eric Nystrom on the power play versus rookie Casey Wellman:

“Casey can be a power-play guy, but his play’s got to back up getting out on the power play,” said Richards. “It comes down to trust. Does Casey have more upside as far as making a play? Probably. But if he’s struggling through the game, it’s tough to put him out on the power play.

“I’d rather have guys that I know you’re going to get an honest effort, and if it’s a one-on-one battle that they’re going to win it. With Nystrom and Madden, I know what I’m going to get pretty much every shift. The consistency has to come from Casey shift in and shifty out.”

-- Here's Richards' quote on sending down Colton Gillies:

“We don’t want our young players sitting on the bench in these limited roles,” Richards said of Gillies. “He’s going to be a part of our future and we want him playing.”

OK, Kent will be on later.

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