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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Matt Dumba, Erik Haula, Zack Phillips and several other Wild prospects are in Traverse City, Mich., today through Monday to play in a prospects tournament with Dallas, Detroit, St. Louis, Buffalo, Carolina, Columbus and the Rangers.
The Wild plays Detroit tonight, St. Louis on Friday, Dallas on Sunday afternoon. On Monday will be the 7th- and 5th-place games, the consolation game and the championship game. As far as I know, these games can't be seen on TV, radio or the Interweb, but I'll try to keep half an eyeball on it.
It should be a good tournament for the Wild. It'll be interesting to see how players like Dumba and Haula do -- two players that have shots at cracking the Wild's 23-man roster out of training camp. The Wild hopes to see vast improvement from Bulmer and Phillips this month as both are considered still big parts of the Wild future and hopefully callup material this year. Bulmer, however, continues to rehab from a knee injury and stayed in Minnesota.
Other prospects in this tournament turning pro and Iowa bound this season include Raphael Bussieres, Johan Gustafsson and Tyler Graovac. The Wild will also decide this month whether to sign Kurtis Gabriel and have him start his pro career in Iowa or return him to Owen Sound for his overrage year.
Training camp begins Wednesday for the Wild with fitness testing and physicals. The Wild will be on the ice the first time a week from today at Ridder Arena before moving to the X. The Wild hosts Columbus on Sept. 17 in its first exhibition game of a six-game schedule. And remember, the Wild still plans a quick getaway/bonding trip after the final exhibition game Sept. 27 in St. Louis. It would likely be Sept. 29-30. Originally, the Wild was thinking Duluth or Brainerd, but it's keeping this top secret for now.
The training camp roster and schedule will be announced soon.
Most Wild players are in town and are skating today and Friday in Edina before moving to the X Monday and Tuesday. The Wild also has a team golf outing Monday.
I met Nino Niederreiter yesterday. He looked outstanding on the ice and definitely has a swagger to him. Mikael Granlund also looked very, very good. but he typically does in these informal NHL skates. We'll see how he looks in camp.
As I wrote on the blog a few days ago, Jason Pominville looks good, feels good and is in the midst of contract negotiations for an extension.
One bit of injury news: veteran left wing Mike Rupp still hasn't been cleared to play from his offseason knee surgery. He is skating alone, but he hasn't been in drills or informal skates yet, so it's still up in the air as to whether or not he'll be ready for the start of training camp.
Here is your prospect tourney Wild roster:
2013 MINNESOTA WILD TRAVERSE CITY PROSPECTS TOURNAMENT ROSTER
FORWARDS HT WT SHOOTS BORN BIRTHPLACE 2012-13 TEAM LGE GP G A PTS PIM ACQ
82 Olivier Archambault 5-11 192 Left 2/16/93 Le Gardeur, Quebec Drummondville QMJHL 64 32 34 66 56 INVITEE
54 Brett Bulmer 6-4 214 Right 4/26/92 Prince George, B.C. Houston AHL 43 4 3 7 41 EN/10
71 Raphael Bussieres 6-1 198 Left 11/5/93 Longueuil, Quebec Baie-Comeau QMJHL 60 29 39 68 43 EN/12
68 Josh Caron 6-4 216 Right 2/10/91 Campbell River, B.C. Orlando ECHL 25 1 1 2 41 FA/10
47 Rhyse Dieno 5-10 172 Right 7/3/93 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Red Deer WHL 48 27 32 59 8 INVITEE
67 Marshall Everson 6-2 220 Left 9/5/90 Edina, Minnesota Harvard ECAC 32 11 5 16 16 INVITEE
62 Kurtis Gabriel 6-4 214 Right 4/20/93 New Market, Ontario Owen Sound OHL 67 13 15 28 100 EN/13
53 Tyler Graovac 6-5 196 Left 4/27/93 Brampton, Ontario Ottawa/Belleville OHL 60 38 35 73 18 EN/11
56 Erik Haula 5-11 192 Left 3/23/91 Pori, Finland U. Minnesota WCHA 37 16 35 51 14 EN/09
81 Colton Heffley 6-3 213 Right 5/27/94 Swift Current, Saskatchewan Kelowna WHL 68 6 21 27 77 INVITEE
83 Zane Jones 6-3 219 Left 6/8/94 Olds, Alberta Calgary WHL 69 21 23 44 51 INVITEE
52 Miles Koules 5-11 190 Right 6/25/94 Los Angeles, California Medicine Hat WHL 69 19 21 40 18 INVITEE
61 Zack Phillips 6-0 196 Right 10/28/92 Fredericton, New Brunswick Houston AHL 71 8 19 27 10 EN/11
80 Carter Sandlak 6-2 205 Left 5/18/93 Vancouver, British ColumbiaBelleville OHL 60 9 14 23 98 INVITEE
75 Ben Walker 5-11 186 Right 6/21/93 Fargo, North Dakota Victoria WHL 59 19 33 52 54 INVITEE
DEFENSEMEN HT WT SHOOTS BORN BIRTHPLACE 2012-13 TEAM LGE GP G A PTS PIM ACQ
38 Corbin Baldwin 6-5 215 Left 2/5/91 Winnipeg, Manitoba Orlando ECHL 38 0 5 5 49 INVITEE
73 Alex Basso 6-1 183 Right 6/15/93 Toronto, Ontario Sarnia OHL 57 11 33 44 49 INVITEE
76 Jason Beattie 6-3 205 Right 9/13/88 Newmarket, Ontario Niagara University AHA 25 3 4 7 32 INVITEE
57 Cody Corbett 6-1 194 Left 12/14/93 Lakeland, Minnesota Edmonton WHL 71 7 35 42 48 INVITEE
43 Mathew Dumba 6-0 181 Right 7/25/94 Regina, Saskatchewan Red Deer WHL 62 16 26 42 80 EN/12
74 Colton Jobke 6-1 190 Left 4/20/92 Delta, British Columbia Regina WHL 31 3 15 18 58 FA/10
78 Dylan Labbe 6-1 190 Left 1/19/95 St. George, Quebec Shawinigan QMJHL 61 7 21 28 57 EN/13
79 Jeremy Price 6-1 190 Right 9/26/90 Milton, Ontario Colgate ECAC 36 6 14 20 12 INVITEE
GOALTENDERS HT WT CATCHES BORN BIRTHPLACE 2012-13 TEAM LGE GPI W-L-OT SO GAA SV% ACQ
50 Alexandre Belanger 6-1 184 Left 8/19/95 Sherbrooke, Quebec Rouyn-Noranda QMJHL 44 24-13-4 1 3.46 .875 EN/13
70 Johan Gustafsson 6-2 202 Left 2/28/92 Koping, Sweden Lulea HF Sweden 33 20-13-0 4 1.79 .932 EN/10
The Handke Pit in Elk River will be the site of the outdoor high school games for Hockey Day Minnesota on Jan. 18.
Fox Sports North will have the day's games on television, concluding with the Wild-Dallas game from Xcel Energy Center.
The Gophers-Ohio State men's game at Mariucci is also on the card; the teams play the previous day in an outdoor game at TCF Bank Stadium that was announced yesterday.
Here's the lineup:
Rochester Lourdes vs. Cloquet/Esko/Carlton (boys), 10:15 a.m. at Handke Pit, Elk River
Elk River vs. Stillwater (boys), 1 p.m., Handke Pit
Elk River vs. Anoka girls (*tape delay on FS North), 4 p.m., Handke Pit
Minnesota Gophers men’s hockey vs. Ohio State, Mariucci Arena, 5 p.m.
Wild vs. Dallas Stars, Xcel Energy Center, 8 p.m.
In front of a large crowd this morning at the State Fair, Wild forwards Stephane Veilleux and Nino Niederreiter unveiled the Wild's long anticipated new white road jersey.
From the news release: "The new road jersey follows the more classic design style of the red home jersey unveiled in 2003 and the green alternate jersey unveiled in 2009. The jersey keeps the primary Wild logo at the center of the sweater and features Iron Range Red numbers and collar, including Minnesota Wild text hidden on the inside of the collar. Additional features of the new jersey are Forest Green lettering, a traditional lace-up collar in classic Wild Forest Green and the Wild circle crest as a shoulder patch. The new road uniforms include Forest Green stripes on the arms and waist of the jersey, as well as on the new white socks."
The jersey can be seen above -- as modeled by Zach Parise. The jerseys are available at all Wild Hockey Lodge locations exclusively Tuesday through Saturday. It can then be purchased at stateofhockeystore.com.
The Wild will wear the jersey for the first time Sept. 19 during an exhibition game at Winnipeg.
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