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 fall to the Florida Panthers; Burns could face discipline for incident with Bernier

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild game coverage Updated: November 12, 2010 - 10:33 PM

Wild defenseman Brent Burns could be facing a possible suspension for an incident as the buzzer expired tonight. Now for the sake of honesty, I still have not seen a replay where I feel comfortable describing what I've seen with my own two eyes.

I just saw the aftermath. Steve Bernier was down on the ice bleeding after being punched by Burns. According to Panthers sources, Bernier was taken to Cleveland Clinic -- a local hospital in nearby Weston -- with a possible broken left cheekbone. He was alert but had a deep gash under the left eye.

The accusation is that Burns nailed Bernier with the butt-end (knob) of his stick. Burns apologized on the ice, said he didn't mean to do it and thought he got him with the glove.

If you know Burns, you know he's not the type of player to be butt-ending guys, so if he got him with the knob, I do believe it was an accident. Regardless, you have to be in control of your own stick at all times, and I'd think Burns will face the music with the NHL, especially because of the injury.

That will be a huge loss for the Wild, which has lost two in a row heading into Sunday's game at Tampa Bay. The Wild's already without defenseman Marek Zidlicky, who's in Minnesota. This could mean three rookie defensemen -- Marco Scandella, Clayton Stoner and Justin Falk -- will be in the lineup.

We'll hopefully find out Saturday. I'll update you as soon as I know, but I'll be in the air until 11:30 a.m. other than a layover for an hour in the morning.

As for the game, the Wild gave up two goals 53 seconds apart in the first, and it would never be able to finish the rally after Cal Clutterbuck cut it late in the period to 2-1. Clutterbuck, Matt Cullen and Casey Wellman -- a new trio tonight -- did everything they could to muster that tying goal, but it never came. 

Mikko Koivu was again a total non-factor. He looks lethargic, isn't creating and isn't scoring. He's got one goal the past 12 games. Cullen's got none the past 10. Marty Havlat, who lost the puck tonight 1-on-1 with Vokoun after stealing it, has one goal this year. Andrew Brunette has one goal in 10 games.

Coach Todd Richards said it's time for the "big dogs" to step it up.

Another second period was spent hemmed in its own end, but Theodore did his best to allow the Wild to rally. The Wild did zip offensively in the middle period.

Read the gamer and the notebook for the rest. I'm outta here. 6:30 a.m. flight tomorrow.  

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