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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Burns gets "bad" Gordie Howe Hat Trick; Staubitz to get suspended, Richards fined 10K?

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild game coverage Updated: January 19, 2011 - 1:30 AM

(Updated, here is the link of the great Bob Kurtz's call of the horrific officiating of the Peckham/Havlat incident that led to Stortini fighting Burns, then his call of Brunette's goal)

An easy game story turned into madness tonight at Rexall. The Wild beat the Oilers 4-1, but for a second straight win here, the Wild did not play well at all. The Oilers' speed is something the Wild struggles with, and as coach Todd Richards said, "our execution was horrendous."

The Wild gave Edmonton seven power plays tonight, including six straight. Last time here, the Wild gave Edmonton 10 power plays.

But Anton Khudobin made 31 saves, Brent Burns, Matt Cullen and Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored a goal and an assist each, Andrew Brunette scored his 250th career goal and 300th point with Minnesota and Eric Nystrom had two assists.

Burns got what he called a "bad" Gordie Howe hat trick tonight (one goal, one assist, one fight).

Bad, because he probably shouldn't have gotten the fighting major when Zack Stortini, the Oilers' always-brave enforcer who used to never ever fight Derek Boogaard no matter how many times Boogaard would beg, grabbed Burns after head-hunting him once earlier in the game.

Theo Peckham three times cross-checked Martin Havlat on the ice, then Havlat tripped up Peckham hard. Peckham was ticked, and with Havlat and Peckham face-to-face, Peckham pushed Havlat. Kyle Brodziak flew in and was tripped up by Tom Gilbert. Burns tried to get there, Stortini grabbed him and Burns just hung on, not dropping his gloves but absorbing three or four punches to the head.

Burns didn't talk to the media after the game because he didn't want to say something stupid and get in trouble. He was upset he got an undeserved fighting major and 10-minute misconduct along with Stortini for hanging on and praying Stortini didn't hurt him.

I got Burns via text and this is what he said to me:

“I didn’t really expect anything,” Burns said via text. “I was just trying to go down ice and grab Marty and [Stortini] just grabbed me. But there was no reason to fight at that time, so I just held on. I think that’s a bad Gordie Howe, but I’ll take one. Probably won’t happen again, so I guess it’s good to get that out of the way.”

That happened at the 12:02 mark. Peckham got the extra two, and four seconds into the power play, Brunette scored his 54th power-play goal with the Wild.

Then, with 3:46 left, Brad Staubitz was called for instigating a fight with J-F Jacques. Instigating a fight in the final five minutes is reviewed by the NHL for a possible one-game suspension and $10,000 fine for the coach.

If that's not rescinded Wednesday, Cody Almond will play for Staubitz in Calgary and Richards' wife, he joked, will have to write a check to the NHL.

Richards didn't feel it was an instigator and was upset the refs didn't show awareness and step in to break up Burns, the Wild's All-Star defenseman, being fought by a fourth-line "tough-guy."

As Staubitz said, "Instigator shouldn’t be fourth-liner vs. fourth-liner. An instigator is Stortini going after an All-Star.”

Anyway, it'll be interesting what happens Wednesday, but I bet it holds up and Staubitz is suspended and Richards is fined. Sadly, on the power play, Khudobin's crack at a second straight shutout was ruined when Magnus Paajarvi scored on the power play.

That snapped his shutout streak at 141 minutes, 29 seconds. Anyway, I'll talk to you in Calgary to let you know what the news is on Staubitz.

Anyway, still a big win. Cullen's broken out offensively. Bouchard, like I predicted, was outstanding tonight. And Burns was awesome, especially in his own end. Talk to you Wednesday.

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