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.

Also find Russo on Facebook.

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Posts about Adrian Peterson

Guessing tonight's Wild lines

Posted by: Michael Russo Updated: February 17, 2013 - 10:14 AM

The Wild hosts the Detroit Red Wings late this afternoon at 5 p.m. at the X.

Jason Zucker will make his season debut, Johan Larsson his NHL debut. This puts five players 22-and-under in the Wild lineup tonight -- backup goalie Darcy Kuemper is 22, Zucker is 21, Larsson and Mikael Granlund are 20 and Jonas Brodin is 19.

I will be on Fox Sports North's Wild Live at 4:30 p.m. today and also during the first intermission around 5:40ish.

Here is today's Zucker-Larsson-Nate Prosser notebook.

Here is my Sunday column on how Kevlar socks should be made mandatory in the NHL. Only a handful of Wild players wear em, and Mike Rupp, in reaction to the awful Erik Karlsson injury in Ottawa, decided to try them against Colorado. He liked the feel and plans to continue.

Remember, at 11 a.m. on NBC, there will be a pretty moving piece on the relationship Jack Jablonski has with Vikings star Adrian Peterson.

Good morning from Chateau Russeau, where for a rarity, I didn't have to be at a morning skate. Because of the early game, the players didn't go down to the X today, so I can't give you the lines so many of you are curious about. We will talk to coach MIke Yeo at 3 p.m., so I will blog and tweet them soon after.

Niklas Backstrom vs. Petr Mrazek tonight. Mrazek is a 21-year-old Czech who tore up the AHL during the lockout and won his only start of the season vs. St. Louis.

To guess lines, one we know. After combining for two goals in the shootout loss to Colorado on Thursday, you know Zach Parise-Mikko Koivu-Dany Heatley will remain intact.

From there, it's just a guess because Pierre-Marc Bouchard was sick yesterday and likely won't play today and because Yeo will have to choose one other forward to come out.

My guess is Zucker slots right into a line with Matt Cullen and Devin Setoguchi because Torrey Mitchell filled in there yesterday.

The other line in practice was: Mikael Granlund-Kyle Brodziak-Cal Clutterbuck in practice. So if that stays the same, perhaps Yeo just slots Larsson onto the fourth line with Mike Rupp and Zenon Konopka and sits Mitchell? Or perhaps he plays Mitchell and has Larsson center the fourth line with Rupp. I'd think Rupp plays because he scored last game and was the forward Yeo pretty much chose to get more ice time once Clutterbuck left the game. Remember also, Konopka took a bad penalty against the Avs and Yeo made his displeasure known by not giving Konopka another shift.

Still, my guess is that Mitchell sits.

The only caveat to all this is if the club isn't comfortable playing a banged up Clutterbuck, who did feel better yesterday but was having issues with peripheral vision in the second period of the Colorado game. That's why he left the game.

Again, despite Brodziak's rough start to this season and tough shift after the Mikko Koivu go-ahead goal the other night, I can't see the only right-shot center being scratched. He comes in handy on defensive-zone right-circle draws.

Funny tweet, by the way, from Konopka yesterday at @zenonkonopka: "I think that Jonas Brodin should get some serious consideration for the Calder trophy (rookie of the year), side note- I may adopt the kid"

OK, that's it. I'll update blog after we talk to Yeo.

Wild quick hits; Free prospect scrimmage Thursday night at the X

Posted by: Michael Russo Updated: July 11, 2012 - 3:09 PM

The Wild prospects hit the ice for a second consecutive day -- this time down at St. Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights -- before sessions return to the X tomorrow morning.

Also, remember, tomorrow night (Thursday) at 7, the prospects will be scrimmaging at the X. It's free and open to the public. The first 1,000 fans get a Ryan Suter T-shirt. The Hockey Lodge store will be open, and, I'll go out on a limb and say, if you want to buy season-tickets, that can be accomplished, too. Gate 1 opens to get into the arena for the scrimmage at 6:30 p.m.

On Sunday at 11 a.m., there will be another scrimmage. The first 1,000 fans get a Zach Parise T-shirt.

Also, Friday from 3-6:30 p.m., I'll be filling in for Dan Barreiro on KFAN (100.3-FM). Lots of hockey talk and guests, but we'll also be talking Twins, Adrian Peterson, world peace, politics, the heat wave. (OK, not the latter three).

Please tune in, call, email.

Today, lots of skill drills, plus work with powerskating instructor Barry Karn, whom I wrote about a few weeks back in my Brady Skjei feature before the draft. Karn is the uncle of Skjei, the incoming Gopher and now-New York Rangers draft pick.

Andy Ness has also been around helping with skating and stick handling, while the Houston coaches -- John Torchetti, Mike Van Ryn and Sebastien Laplante -- and Orlando coach Drake Berehowsky have been running the practices with coach Mike Yeo, assistants Rick Wilson, Darryl Sydor and Darby Hendrickson and the brass -- Chuck Fletcher, Brent Flahr, Jim Mill, Brad Bombardir and Shep Harder -- watching from the cheap seats.

Kent Youngblood will be writing for Thursday's paper, myself for Friday's. I'll also blog after Thursday's scrimmage and Kent will blog after Sunday's.

After Thursday, however, I will be on vacation for the rest of the month, so Kent and others will have the keys to my blog.

I'll re-post the depth chart to give you a talker before I get out of dodge this weekend.

Some quick hits:

-- Jonas Brodin can skate backwards better than most people can walk forwards. The kid is smooth.

-- Granlund looks awesome.

-- I've received some questions in the past few days why Marco Scandella has to come to development camp and, say, Jared Spurgeon doesn't. I talked to Yeo about that, and the reasons are as I suspected:

1. Games played. Spurgeon has played 123 NHL games, 40 more than Scandella; 2. This is a big year for Scandella and the Wild wants him to take another step in his growth; 3. Scandella is the top dog, the leader in camp, the guy to give the kids an example of how to work on and off the ice, to keep things loose, etc.

Also, and Yeo didn't say this, but remember, Spurgeon is coming off a season-ending concussion, although the Wild has said he was cleared soon after the season.

-- Mario Lucia, a second-round pick in 2011, isn't at camp because he is currently in classes at Notre Dame. However, the Wild said there was a chance he may come in for some of the weekend activities. That'll be up to Lucia though. Because he's a college kid, the Wild can't pick up any of the costs due to college eligibility rules. That's why Erik Haula wasn't at a camp. Would have cost the kid a fortune flying in from Finland. He is at camp this year though.

-- Restricted free agents Nick Palmieri, Jarod Palmer, Carson McMillan and David McIntyre are the only players still unsigned. When they do, that'll give the Wild 49 players under contract. You can only have 50. The Wild says this isn't a problem, but I still suspect at some point there could be a trade to give a little more breathing room. Typically you'd want to have a few open spots in case you need to make a trade or grab somebody off waivers in-season.

Again though, there's no rush. There's a lot of time before camp is (scheduled) to start Sept. 21, and as long as you have one opening, it's no big deal, the Wild has said.

-- I've gotten some questions asking if Zach Parise and Ryan Suter are permanent alternate captains or if coach Mike Yeo will continue to rotate the A's. They are permanent, meaning get used to seeing letters on the chests of Mikko Koivu (C), Parise and Suter for a long, long time. Parise and Suter have 13-year deals, and Koivu has six years left on his pact. My opinion: Too much is made of letters on chests. Trust me, it's not like Matt Cullen and Dany Heatley won't be leaders on this team anymore just because they don't have A's over their hearts. Along with Tom Gilbert, Heatley and Cullen were a big part of the Wild's recruitment for Parise and Suter. I promise, they're not bothered by the disappearing A.

-- Got some questions asking if the 2,000+ season tickets sold by the Wild are full and partial combined. They are full and partial plan "equivalents" (to full season-tickets).

-- Got some questions as to the practice facility hints Craig Leipold has dropped lately. During the pitches to Parise and Suter, both agents called up and asked if the Wild had a practice facility. That's important to a lot of players. All this did was reignite Leipold's long-time pursuit to build a facility and public skating complex at Seven Corners in St. Paul. The Wild has long had renderings and cost estimates, but you may remember, in 2009, Gov. Tim Pawlenty vetoed a loan forgiveness program that would have freed $32 million for the project. Now, Leipold hopes to get this going again.

The Wild practices the majority of the time at the X, but when there's concerts, it has dress-and-drives to St. Thomas. As Leipold even said on Fox Sports North the other day, that may work in juniors, but NHLers hate it. Not so bad going. The ride back when they're in their smelly, wet equipment?

Yuck. That's a big reason why coach Todd Richards, and last year Mike Yeo, conveniently has optional practices whenever St. Thomas is on the agenda.

-- Tomorrow night in Toronto, new Wild center Zenon Konopka will be taking part in the Smashfest! Charity Ping-Pong Challenge at Steam Whistle Brewery. Others taking part? Dominic Moore, Steven Stamkos, Vincent Lecavalier, Eric Lindros, Jason Spezza, Brett Connolly, Logan Couture, Teddy Purcell, Joe Reekie, Mathieu Schneider, Ryan Shannon, Daniel Winnik, Rob Zamuner, Joel Ward, Wojtek Wolski, Steve Downie and Kevin Weekes.

Proceeds from the event will be directed to The Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center and Baycrest's Rotman Research Institute.

 

-- Remember, I'll be hosting for Barreiro on KFAN on Friday from 3-6:30 p.m., so please tune in and call in. Lining up some great guests, and I'll fill you in on them on my blog Thursday after the scrimmages.

Clutterbuck joining the team in Phoenix; Waiting for Vikes-Cards opening faceoff

Posted by: Michael Russo Updated: December 6, 2009 - 5:04 PM

Good afternoon or early evening from inside the beautiful University of Phoenix Stadium, where the roof is sadly closed and the Vikings and Cardinals are preparing to drop the puck in a little more than two hours.

Thank goodness, the good folks at the Star Tribune got me a press box seat next to Judd, Chip and Souhan. I think it was 1999, and the Florida Panthers were playing the Coyotes a night or two after the Fiesta Bowl. FSU was playing Tennessee for the national championship, so my old newspaper drafted me at the last second to do the Tennessee sidebar and notebook from the game.

But I was like the sixth reporter from the Sun-Sentinel, so I got the seat in the auxiliary press box on the roof. When the stadium cleared out, it was like 40 degrees out and I literally was writing with frozen finger tips. By the end of that long Panthers road trip, I got walking pneumonia.

Another funny story (at least now): Al Gore was at the game, so afterward, they shut down the lone elevator to the press box. Just picture a hundred out of shape sportswriters huffing and puffing up the stairs.

I remember I wrote a Peerless Price sidebar if I'm not mistaken.

In my Vikings' story tomorrow, I plan to use every hockey cliche imaginable. Brett Favre lit the lamp. Jared Allen stood on his head. Adrian Peterson and Bernard Berrian SPED through the slot.

During the lockout, I covered the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. During one game up in Toronto, I used lines like "Shaq lit the lamp" and "Dwyane Wade stood on his head."

Strangely, I never wrote another Heat game story after that one.

Quick Wild update: The players are spending the day lounging around the hotel, which has been overrun by Vikings purple. It's blinding. I bet the Coyotes are praying a few thousand of these Vikings fans stay over for Monday night's Wild-Coyotes game, you know, to double the crowd size.

Cal Clutterbuck, ill Cal Clutterbuck, wasn't allowed on the Wild team plane last night as not to infect his teammates. But he's feeling better today and was scheduled to catch a Nashville to Phoenix flight to rejoin the team. Team couldn't be infected, but general public, no sweat. No, no, I'm sure he's not contagious

Wonder if Clutterbuck flew a couple regional jets like moi?

OK, talk to you after the morning skates tomorrow, and maybe I'll tweet during tonight's Vikings game.

The Wild's coaches at the very least were going to try to make it over across the parking lot from their hotel. 

Boston Bruins 2, Wild 1 (shootout); Wild plays short one player; Latendresse arriving Thursday

Posted by: Michael Russo Updated: November 25, 2009 - 11:14 PM

The Wild, which took the gamble of having no extra healthy players on the roster, wound up in a pickle shortly before gametime when Antti Miettinen left the ice minutes into warmup with what the team's calling flu-like symptoms.

That meant the Wild had to play with 17 skaters (11 forwards), or one player short.

The Wild, playing without Havlat, Sykora, Burns, Bouchard, Miettinen and Latendresse, worked valiantly but just couldn't finish despite outshooting Boston 29-16. Tuuka Rask was outstanding, and the Wild missed a couple loose pucks with open nets in front (Andrew Brunette couldn't reach a loose puck on his backhand late in overtime was the most memorable).

In the shootout, Patrice Bergeron and Mikko Koivu exchanged Round 1 goals, and then David Krejci won it in Round 4. In between, Marek Zidlicky, Eric Belanger and Chuck Kobasew, who's 0 for 9 lifetime in shootouts, missed. The Wild, minus shootout guys Miettinen and Sykora, especially, fell to 1-3 in extra extra time.

Like I said, defensively, the Wild was outstanding tonight minus a couple first-period shifts in which Boston pinned Minnesota in its own end. The Wild's forwards did a great shot backchecking, the defensemen did a great job getting the puck out, and the Wild blocked 23 shots.

Andrew Ebbett, whose entire life is in storage in Chicago because he was claimed off waivers while the Hawks were on the road, scored in his Wild debut. He looked great, after the first 10 minutes, which is understandable considering he hadn't played since Nov. 13.

The Wild will practice Thursday, so we'll find out about Martin Havlat and Antti Miettinen's status. Guillaume Latendresse's work visa was approved, FedExed, and he's scheduled to arrive Thursday afternoon.

However, he hasn't skated with the Canadiens since Monday. I don't know where he's at, but with no practice Thursday and no morning skate before Friday's afternoon game vs. Colorado, it's unknown right now whether he'll be able to play vs. the Avalanche on Friday.

Of course, the Wild's in a bit of a jam, so the team may beg  If Havlat or Miettinen can't go, the Wild may again have to look at Houston.

Cool moment pregame, but during Joe Mauer's ceremonial puck drop, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara let local boy Blake Wheeler take the draw. Wheeler had a suite at the game, by the way, for lots of family and friends. Also, Justin Morneau did the "Let's Play Hockey" to perfection. After I tried to jinx him in the elevator before the game by telling him not to pull a Gov. Pawlenty or Adrian Peterson -- both infamous Let's Play Hockey's -- Morneau made sure to read the words straight from the Q Card.

Some tidbits:

-- Wild had $17.36 million worth of players on the shelf tonight.

-- James Sheppard had an assist for the second straight game, his first point streak on the year.

-- Shane Hnidy is expected to play his 500th game Friday.

-- Nine of the Wild's 10 home games have been decided by one goal (Wild's 6-2-1 in those instances).

-- Wild is 8-1-1 all-time vs. the Bruins.

-- Wild is 5-1-3 vs. the East.

-- Wild is 1-3 in shootouts. Mikko Koivu is 2-for-4. The rest of the team? 0-for-8!!!

-- Milan Lucic injured his knee in the third period after a collision with Marek Zidlicky.

-- Cal Clutterbuck appeared OK after being cross-checked and slashed in the face by Dennis Wideman.

-- Happy Thanksgiving. I'll update the blog some time after Thursday's practice. Enjoy your turkey.

 

Boston Bruins 2, Wild 1 (shootout); Wild plays short one player; Latendresse arriving Thursday

Posted by: Michael Russo Updated: November 25, 2009 - 11:14 PM

The Wild, which took the gamble of having no extra healthy players on the roster, wound up in a pickle shortly before gametime when Antti Miettinen left the ice minutes into warmup with what the team's calling flu-like symptoms.

That meant the Wild had to play with 17 skaters (11 forwards), or one player short.

The Wild, playing without Havlat, Sykora, Burns, Bouchard, Miettinen and Latendresse, worked valiantly but just couldn't finish despite outshooting Boston 29-16. Tuuka Rask was outstanding, and the Wild missed a couple loose pucks with open nets in front (Andrew Brunette couldn't reach a loose puck on his backhand late in overtime was the most memorable).

In the shootout, Patrice Bergeron and Mikko Koivu exchanged Round 1 goals, and then David Krejci won it in Round 4. In between, Marek Zidlicky, Eric Belanger and Chuck Kobasew, who's 0 for 9 lifetime in shootouts, missed. The Wild, minus shootout guys Miettinen and Sykora, especially, fell to 1-3 in extra extra time.

Like I said, defensively, the Wild was outstanding tonight minus a couple first-period shifts in which Boston pinned Minnesota in its own end. The Wild's forwards did a great shot backchecking, the defensemen did a great job getting the puck out, and the Wild blocked 23 shots.

Andrew Ebbett, whose entire life is in storage in Chicago because he was claimed off waivers while the Hawks were on the road, scored in his Wild debut. He looked great, after the first 10 minutes, which is understandable considering he hadn't played since Nov. 13.

The Wild will practice Thursday, so we'll find out about Martin Havlat and Antti Miettinen's status. Guillaume Latendresse's work visa was approved, FedExed, and he's scheduled to arrive Thursday afternoon.

However, he hasn't skated with the Canadiens since Monday. I don't know where he's at, but with no practice Thursday and no morning skate before Friday's afternoon game vs. Colorado, it's unknown right now whether he'll be able to play vs. the Avalanche on Friday.

Of course, the Wild's in a bit of a jam, so the team may beg  If Havlat or Miettinen can't go, the Wild may again have to look at Houston.

Cool moment pregame, but during Joe Mauer's ceremonial puck drop, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara let local boy Blake Wheeler take the draw. Wheeler had a suite at the game, by the way, for lots of family and friends. Also, Justin Morneau did the "Let's Play Hockey" to perfection. After I tried to jinx him in the elevator before the game by telling him not to pull a Gov. Pawlenty or Adrian Peterson -- both infamous Let's Play Hockey's -- Morneau made sure to read the words straight from the Q Card.

Some tidbits:

-- Wild had $17.36 million worth of players on the shelf tonight.

-- James Sheppard had an assist for the second straight game, his first point streak on the year.

-- Shane Hnidy is expected to play his 500th game Friday.

-- Nine of the Wild's 10 home games have been decided by one goal (Wild's 6-2-1 in those instances).

-- Wild is 8-1-1 all-time vs. the Bruins.

-- Wild is 5-1-3 vs. the East.

-- Wild is 1-3 in shootouts. Mikko Koivu is 2-for-4. The rest of the team? 0-for-8!!!

-- Milan Lucic injured his knee in the third period after a collision with Marek Zidlicky.

-- Cal Clutterbuck appeared OK after being cross-checked and slashed in the face by Dennis Wideman.

-- Happy Thanksgiving. I'll update the blog some time after Thursday's practice. Enjoy your turkey.

 

      

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