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.
Email Michael to talk about hockey.
(Updated Sunday morning): Poor Flyers writers. Flight cancelled. Will miss Super Bowl, it appears. In Wild news, Wade Dubielewicz has been reassigned to Houston.
-- One other thing: That Minnesotan Olympic story I mentioned is a newspaper exclusive, so buy the paper pretty please.
I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that for the first time in Star Tribune history, the words, "Magnitogorsk" and "Ust-Kamenogorsk" are on the front page of the sports section.
Any place to get some Borscht at this late hour?
One game after Anton Khudobin played the shortest amount of time in NHL history (9:33) to win a game in his NHL debut (kudos to TV director/producer/wise guy/terrible poker player Pat O'Connor for calling Elias Sports Bureau to have this figured out), Khudobin tied Josh Harding for the most saves by a Wild goalie this season (38) in his first NHL start.
Khudobin, the kid assistant GM Tommy Thompson jokingly calls, "the Mad Russian," battled all night, especially in the first and third periods when the Wild needed him most. The Wild dominated the second period and wound up snapping a 1-1 tie on Owen Nolan's 53rd career winner.
Nolan was warrior all night -- again -- helping create Cal Clutterbuck's first-period goal and then "roughing" Scott Hartnell even though the two exchanged punches during a unanimous Nolan decision.
"I’m just trying to contribute. These are desperate times right now. We need all the points we can get," Nolan said.
Great stuff from Khudobin the paper, so check out the gamer and the notebook for all the pertinent information. Antti Miettinen did take an uncalled high-stick from Braydon Coburn to the face early in the third period. He never returned and received stitches. Hopefully he'll be OK.
Check out my Sunday column on Toronto GM Brian Burke, who tragically lost his youngest son this week. I also have an Olympic feature in Sunday's paper on the male Minnesotans in the tournament -- Erik Johnson, David Backes, Zach Parise and Jamie Langenbrunner.
In Monday's paper, I'll have a Pierre-Marc Bouchard story. And then, guess what? Brian Stensaas will be on the team for the rest of the homestand as I head to Vancouver on Tuesday with Rachel Blount and Jim Souhan to cover the Olympics. Wednesday I'll have an Olympic hockey advance in our special section, before I hit the luge beat for the weekend
Don't worry, I'll do my best to work sources to find out about trade deadline stuff, but remember, there's a roster freeze from Friday-Feb. 28. Otherwise, StensAAs will have to covered, and you can find him on Twitter at @stensation.
Odds and ends:
--Wild's now 8-0-1 in its past nine home games.
--Cal Clutterbuck's 11th goal tied his career-high.
--Owen Nolan scored No. 14
--Kim Johnsson posted an assist in his third straight game, a season-high, and it was huge because Nolan said if he didn't make that pass in the neutral zone and instead dumped the puck, Nolan and Eric Belanger would have likely gone off for a change.
--Belanger had an assist, giving him 34 points -- three off his career-high. He has 11 points in his last 14 games.
--The Wild's got 19 one-goal wins, the amount it had all of last season.
-- Minnesota defeated Philly for the first time in five meetings (Feb. 12, 2003).
-- The Wild's 8-3-3 against the East.
--The Wild's four points back of a playoff spot again.
OK, no practice Sunday and Brian will be with you from Monday on.
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