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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#mnwild considering 3rd assistant, maybe an ex-Wild fan favorite; Later deadlines mean better papers

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild news Updated: July 22, 2010 - 3:32 PM

Afternoon from my "holiday." I just went down to Stillwater for a cool day. Good news, I went into an antique store and nearly bought a Lou Nanne autographed puck for $49. But then I texted Nanne and he said he'd autograph a puck for me for 5 cents.

One text, and I saved $48.95.

Just wanted to hop on and give you an update on the Wild assistant coaching search to replace Mike Ramsey. Basically, it should be resolved by next week. I still believe Rick Wilson and Kurt Kleinendorst are two of the frontrunners for the position, but Richards and GM Chuck Fletcher have a short list that they're working through.

But I also have learned that the Wild is at least considering hiring a third assistant coach to join Dave Barr and Ramsey's ultimate replacement as Richards' assistants.

This is not a guarantee because GM Chuck Fletcher still hasn't decided whether he wants to hire a third assistant or another North American scout. It could be one or the other, or neither.

But if Fletcher ultimately decides to hire the third assistant, I hear it's likely to be a young guy and a very recent former player. Two of the candidates I'm hearing are former Wild fan favorites Darby Hendrickson and Wes Walz.

Hendrickson, 37, -- aka, Darbs -- is a native of Richfield, a former Mr. Hockey Minnesota and a former Gopher. He's currently an FSN analyst, the Northwest Division NHLPA advisor to players and, of course, he scored the first Wild goal in Xcel Energy Center history. He's also a cool dude with cool hair.

Walz, 40, -- aka, Walzie -- has moved back to the Twin Cities since spending most of the last two seasons as Tampa Bay's assistant coach. He's played the third-most games in Wild history (438), scored the fourth-most goals (82) and the most shorthanded goals (14). I also had a dream last night that after I wrote he'd be the next assistant coach, he instead made me look like a fool by coming out of retirement to play.

Yes, I had a dream about Walz, which is mortifying in itself.

So again, it's not definite the Wild will hire a third assistant, but these are two of the candidates if they do.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to let Star Tribune readers in on some recent changes at the paper.

The Star Tribune recently pushed back deadlines for many of our editions. That will help all of our metro readers, but especially ones in the south and east like St. Paul. It means a more complete newspaper, especially in sports, on your doorstep if you subscribe.

I've gotten emails in the past from readers who cancelled their subscriptions because they weren't getting the most up to date Wild stories or late scores in your home edition. But I'm told if it's a 7 p.m. home game, if you live in the south and east now, you should get the most up to date stories.

Just wanted to let you know in case you're interested in subscribing to our great newspaper.

Lastly, because there's always a lastly, just a reminder that the "Herbie's Heroes All-Star Benefit" is Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Super Rinks (sheet No. 6) in Blaine. It should be fun as celebrity and former NHL players take on active duty service members from Minnesota. This is a partnership between the Herb Brooks Foundation and Defending the Blue Line, which is a really cool charity that Brent Burns is involved with.

Special guests playing in the game include Hendrickson, Dan Hendrickson, Tom Chorske, Rob McClanahan, Steve Christoff, Dave Christian, Joe Dziedzic, Brian Bellows, Larry Olimb, Dan Brooks and more.

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