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 aiming for Rick Wilson to be assistant coach

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild off-season news Updated: August 2, 2010 - 1:24 PM

Monday afternoon update: Looks like there won't be an assistant coaching announcement today. So we wait patiently ...

By Monday, the Wild's hoping to have an assistant coach in place to replace Mike Ramsey, who stepped down in June.

It looks like it'll be Rick Wilson, the 20-year assistant coaching veteran who's stood on benches with the Islanders, Kings, North Stars, Stars and Lightning. Fourteen of those years were spent in Dallas, where he won a Stanley Cup alongside Ken Hitchcock in 1999.

It's not a cut and dry situation. Wilson's got two more years left on his hefty contract as an associate coach with the Lightning, so things must be worked out contractually with Tampa Bay for Wilson to be free to come to Minnesota.

Wilson's a former defenseman who played at the University of North Dakota. Hitchcock and Dave Tippett highly endorsed Wilson to Wild coach Todd Richards, and Wilson's strength is getting "the defensemen to play the right way," a longtime NHL coach told me.

If everything gets ironed out with his contract and he's hired next week, I'll write more about him then. Again, I'd think this should all be rectified by the end of the weekend.

If things don't work out contractually with Wilson, next in line could be Kurt Kleinendorst, the former New Jersey Devils assistant and former Under-18 USA National Team coach. I've heard he's gotten heavy recommendations by Larry Robinson, but he's also up for the Binghamton AHL job. Kleinendorst was runner-up to Mike Yeo for the Houston job.

The eventual assistant will likely be on a two-year deal because that's how many years are left on the contracts to Richards and assistant Dave Barr.

Have a good weekend everybody.

 

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