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.

Posts about Vikings

Wild exhibition lineup Tuesday in Edmonton

Posted by: Michael Russo Updated: September 18, 2011 - 2:51 PM

Afternoon from high above an empty X, where I'm all alone in a dark press box, too.

Spooky.

Wild coach Mike Yeo announced the roster today for the Wild's first exhibition game in Edmonton. Remember, the Wild didn't win a preseason game last season, other than the game at Ilves Tampere. The Wild won that one 5-1, I believe, with Cal Clutterbuck getting a hat trick. I think Chuck Kobasew and Marek Zidlicky also scored in that game.

I scare myself with the meaningless info I remember.

I also remember accidentally racking up like a $2,000 aircard bill on the bus ride back to Helsinki trying to upload the Clutterbuck video.

The roster Tuesday:

Fowards:

Guillaume Latendresse-Matt Cullen-Pierre-Marc Bouchard

Darroll Powe-Kyle Brodziak-Cal Clutterbuck

Brett Bulmer-Warren Peters-Jed Ortmeyer

Matt Kassian-David McIntyre-Jarod Palmer

Defensemen

Jordan Hendry-Mike Lundin

Clayton Stoner-Jared Spurgeon

Justin Falk-Nate Prosser

Extra, it appears: Tyler Cuma

Goalies:

Josh Harding, making his first start since his exhibition debut a year ago, and Matt Hackett will split the cage.

In today's scrimmage, the green team beat the white team 1-zip, with Dany Heatley scoring the lone goal on a penalty shot.

So yes, in two scrimmages, the Wild didn't score a goal when actual hockey was played. Of course, it's easier to get goals than teach defense, so maybe that's why Mike Yeo seems so confident right now with this team. If the scrimmages were 7-5 each day, that'd be a big sign of work needing to be done.

Again today, the Wild put forth bigtime effort, although there were a boatload of turnovers late in the scrimmage.

The best line clearly was that Cullen line with Bouchard and Latendresse. The line buzzed and buzzed and spent most every one of their shifts in the offensive zone. Their last shift of the game, they absolutely used and abused the Koivu line, pinning the line in the defensive zone for a minute.

Other notables today: Jeff Taffe was very physical. Jordan Hendry was good again, and the tryout earned himself a spot in Edmonton. He previously wasn't slated to play, but Yeo said he warranted it, so Nick Schultz gets to stay home.

As I mentioned, Bouchard was obviously healthy today after missing yesterday with a hammy. Niklas Backstrom practiced today but was held out of his second scrimmage in a row for maintenance.

Monday is Hump Day -- the third day in training camp, which on most teams I've covered is pretty lousy. Usually the players' legs are mush, which makes for sloppy practices and frustrated coaches.

The Wild won't scrimmage Monday. Instead, Yeo will run two longer practices with each practice split by a flooding to resurface the ice. Yeo will work 5-on-5 throughout, everything from the defensive-zone coverage and neutral zone (installed today), forecheck and breakout.

On Tuesday, special teams will be worked on by the group of 21 players in Edmonton with Yeo, Darryl Sydor and Rick Wilson and by the rest of the team back in Minnesota by Darby Hendrickson and John Torchetti.

I'll give you a quick blog Monday before my flight to Edmonton. Just an fyi: the Wild-Oilers game is supposed to be streamed on edmontonoilers.com.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday Vikings fans

Wild announces TV schedule

Posted by: Michael Russo Updated: August 26, 2011 - 2:33 PM

Every regular-season game will be televised for the second straight year.

SAINT PAUL/MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – The National Hockey League’s (NHL) Minnesota Wild, in conjunction with FOX Sports North today announced the club’s cable broadcast schedule for the 2011-12 season. For the second consecutive season all 82 regular season contests will be televised in high definition. FOX Sports North will televise a total of 72 games and the Wild will make 10 national television appearances. Minnesota will make nine appearances on VERSUS and will host the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins on NBC on Feb. 19, 2012 at 2:00 p.m.

FOX Sports North’s telecast schedule features 25 different opponents and begins with the Wild’s home opener against Columbus on Oct. 8. FOX Sports North will broadcast 22 games against Northwest Division opponents, four contests each against Dallas, Detroit and St. Louis and three matches each against Chicago, Los Angeles and San Jose. The sixth annual “Hockey Day Minnesota” will feature the Wild’s game against the Dallas Stars at Xcel Energy Center on Jan. 21 at 8 p.m. on FOX Sports North. FOX Sports North will also telecast games against the following Eastern Conference opponents: Buffalo, Carolina, Florida, Montreal, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Toronto and Winnipeg. FOX Sports North’s schedule includes 34 telecasts at Xcel Energy Center and 38 road contests.

Wild Live presented by Century Link on FOX Sports North will air before and after every game telecast, part of the network’s family of comprehensive and personalized pre and postgame shows.

Minnesota Wild telecasts on FOX Sports North will feature play-by-play announcer Dan Terhaar and color analyst Mike Greenlay. Anthony LaPanta will host Wild Live presented by Century Link before and after every game featuring analysis from Tom Chorske and Kevin Gorg.

FOX Sports North reaches more than 2 million homes throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and North and South Dakota and telecasts nearly 2,600 hours of locally produced programming per year. The Emmy Award-winning regional sports network provides comprehensive coverage of the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves, MLB’s Minnesota Twins, the NHL’s Minnesota Wild, the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings, the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx as well as the University of Minnesota athletic events. For more information: www.foxsportsnorth.com

Single-game tickets are on sale now for all Wild home games. Visit www.wild.com or www.Ticketmaster.com for more information.

-- WILD --

Follow the Minnesota Wild on Twitter and Facebook.
MINNESOTA WILD 2011-12 TELEVISION SCHEDULE

DAY DATE OPPONENT TIME (CT) TV
SEPTEMBER – PRESEASON
Tue. 20 @ Edmonton 8:00 P.M.
Thur. 22 @ St. Louis 7:00 P.M.
FRI. 23 COLUMBUS 7:00 P.M.
Sat. 24 @ Pittsburgh 2:00 P.M.
TUE. 27 ST. LOUIS 7:00 P.M.
Thur. 29 @ Columbus 6:00 P.M.
FRI. 30 EDMONTON 7:00 P.M.

OCTOBER – REGULAR SEASON
SAT. 8 COLUMBUS 7:00 P.M. FSN
Mon. 10 @ N.Y. Islanders 12:00 P.M. FSN
Tue. 11 @ Ottawa 6:30 P.M. FSN
THUR. 13 EDMONTON 7:00 P.M. FSN
SAT. 15 DETROIT 7:00 P.M. FSN
TUE. 18 PITTSBURGH 6:30 P.M. VERSUS
Thur. 20 @ Edmonton 8:30 P.M. FSN
Sat. 22 @ Vancouver 3:00 P.M. FSN
THUR. 27 ANAHEIM 7:00 P.M. FSN
SAT. 29 DETROIT 7:00 P.M. FSN

NOVEMBER
Tue. 1 @ Detroit 6:30 P.M. FSN
THUR. 3 VANCOUVER 7:00 P.M. FSN
SAT. 5 ST. LOUIS 7:00 P.M. FSN
Tue. 8 @ Calgary 8:30 P.M. FSN
Thur. 10 @ San Jose 9:30 P.M. FSN
Sat. 12 @ Los Angeles 9:30 P.M. FSN
Sun. 13 @ Anaheim 7:00 P.M. FSN
Tue. 15 @ Columbus 6:00 P.M. FSN
THUR. 17 COLORADO 7:00 P.M. FSN
SAT. 19 ST. LOUIS 7:00 P.M. FSN
WED. 23 NASHVILLE 7:00 P.M. FSN
FRI. 25 EDMONTON 3:00 P.M. FSN
SUN. 27 CALGARY 5:00 P.M. FSN
MON. 28 TAMPA BAY 6:30 P.M. VERSUS
Wed. 30 @ Edmonton 8:30 P.M. FSN

DECEMBER
FRI. 2 NEW JERSEY 7:00 P.M. FSN
Sun. 4 @ Anaheim 7:00 P.M. FSN
Tue. 6 @ San Jose 9:30 P.M. FSN
Thur. 8 @ Los Angeles 9:30 P.M. FSN
Sat. 10 @ Phoenix 7:00 P.M. FSN
Tue. 13 @ Winnipeg 7:30 P.M. FSN
WED. 14 CHICAGO 6:30 P.M. VERSUS
SAT. 17 N.Y. ISLANDERS 7:00 P.M. FSN
Mon. 19 @ Vancouver 9:00 P.M. FSN
Tue. 20 @ Calgary 8:00 P.M. FSN
Thur. 22 @ Edmonton 8:30 P.M. FSN
MON. 26 COLORADO 5:00 P.M. FSN
Wed. 28 @ Nashville 7:00 P.M. FSN
THUR. 29 EDMONTON 7:00 P.M. FSN
SAT. 31 PHOENIX 5:00 P.M. FSN

DAY DATE OPPONENT TIME (CT) TV
JANUARY
Wed. 4 @ Vancouver 9:00 P.M. FSN
Sat. 7 @ Calgary 9:00 P.M. FSN
TUE. 10 SAN JOSE 6:30 P.M. VERSUS
Thur. 12 @ Chicago 7:30 P.M. FSN
Sat. 14 @ St. Louis 7:00 P.M. FSN
Tue. 17 @ Philadelphia 6:00 P.M. FSN
Thur. 19 @ Toronto 6:00 P.M. FSN
SAT. 21 DALLAS 8:00 P.M. FSN
Tue. 24 @ Colorado 8:00 P.M. VERSUS
Sun. 29 NHL All-Star Game (Ottawa) 3:00 P.M. VERSUS
TUE. 31 NASHVILLE 7:00 P.M. FSN

FEBRUARY
Thur. 2 @ Colorado 8:00 P.M. FSN
Sat. 4 @ Dallas 7:00 P.M. FSN
Tue. 7 @ Columbus 6:00 P.M. FSN
THUR. 9 VANCOUVER 7:00 P.M. FSN
SAT. 11 COLUMBUS 7:00 P.M. FSN
TUE. 14 ANAHEIM 6:30 P.M. VERSUS
THUR. 16 WINNIPEG 7:00 P.M. FSN
Sat. 18 @ St. Louis 1:00 P.M. FSN
SUN. 19 BOSTON 2:00 P.M. NBC
Thur. 23 @ Florida 6:30 P.M. FSN
Fri. 24 @ Dallas 7:30 P.M. FSN
SUN. 26 SAN JOSE 5:00 P.M. FSN
TUE. 28 LOS ANGELES 6:30 P.M. VERSUS

MARCH
Thur. 1 @ Montreal 6:00 P.M. FSN
Fri. 2 @ Detroit 6:30 P.M. FSN
SUN. 4 COLORADO 6:00 P.M. FSN
Tue. 6 @ Colorado 8:00 P.M. VERSUS
Thur. 8 @ Phoenix 8:00 P.M. FSN
SUN. 11 CALGARY 5:00 P.M. FSN
TUE. 13 DALLAS 7:00 P.M. FSN
SAT. 17 CAROLINA 1:00 P.M. FSN
MON. 19 VANCOUVER 7:00 P.M. FSN
THUR. 22 CALGARY 7:00 P.M. FSN
Sat. 24 @ Buffalo 6:00 P.M. FSN
Sun. 25 @ Washington 4:00 P.M. VERSUS
TUE. 27 N.Y. RANGERS 7:00 P.M. FSN
THUR. 29 FLORIDA 7:00 P.M. FSN
SAT. 31 LOS ANGELES 7:00 P.M. FSN

APRIL
Sun. 1 @ Chicago 6:00 P.M. FSN
Tue. 3 @ Nashville 7:00 P.M. FSN
THUR. 5 CHICAGO 7:00 P.M. FSN
SAT. 7 PHOENIX 7:00 P.M. FSN

BOLD INDICATES HOME GAME
DATES AND TIMES SUBJECT TO CHANGE

 

Heatley, Setoguchi don Wild jerseys for first time

Posted by: Michael Russo Updated: July 11, 2011 - 7:26 PM

(HERE'S THE LINK FOR VIDEO JUDD AND I DID)

 (UPDATED WITH HEATLEY AND SETOGUCHI VIDEO LINK, FLETCHER TRANSCRIPT)

 

 

 

Afternoon. With the prospects down the hall being worked into a lather as they underwent physicals and fitness testing for the start of development camp, the Wild introduced Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi to the media today.

Both donned Wild sweaters for the first time and seemed genuinely excited to be here. They spent the last couple days looking for places to live, and it sounds like that'll be in Minneapolis.

Below are transcripts from their Q&A's with the media today, as well as GM Chuck Fletcher. Also, Vikings beat writer, hockey lover and Star Tribune All-Star Judd Zulgad came down to the rink to film a couple videos with yours truly.

The first video on Heatley and Setoguchi should be on startribune.com/wild later today. The other video, which looks ahead to next season and the new-look Wild, should be on in the next few days. So check those out.

Here is Star Tribune video of Heatley's presser.

Here is the Star Tribune video of Setoguchi's presser

 

Here's a link to my Charlie Coyle story in today's paper

And here's information on development camp. On-ice practices begin Tuesday. Roman Augustoviz will be down at the X for most of development camp as I begin taking time off. I'm out of town this weekend for my brother's bachelor party, so I will not be at the scrimmages. But definitely march down to the X and take advantage of your first glimpse at much of the Wild's future.

Also, lots of Wild prospects and invitees are on Twitter, so be sure to follow @kylemedvec, @mlucia1993, @zackphillips7 and  @djaans6 (UMD's Derik Johnson).

Lastly, if you missed Episode 1 of "Becoming Wild" on FSNorth, here's a link to the episode on wild.tv

Here's Heatley, Setoguchi and Fletcher:
 
 
HEATLEY
 
(Excited)
 
It’s been an exciting week. Obviously coming down here, I’ve been here for a couple days, being here and meeting coaches and managers and everyone involved with the team, it’s been a good day today and a big week.
 
(Reaction to people you met)
 
It’s been great. I’ve been here a little bit over the years, obviously playing here, going to Wisconsin and playing against the Gophs, I developed a lot of friendships and a lot of people I went to school with, so I’ve been here in the area a lot, I know it’s a great hockey town. I love playing in this rink. It’s always been one of my favorite places to play, so from that point I’m real excited.
 
(meet Yeo)
 
I did a little bit today. Had a good talk with Mike and Chuck today, so it’s great.
 
(expectations for each other)
I think we’re on the same page with personal and team expectations. I think as a team we’re going to get back in the playoffs. I think we want to get better every day, and those are some of the messages from both of them.
 
(part of you rejuvenated)
 
Yeah. Definitely. Just talking to Seto, this is Seto’s first time, obviously I’ve been traded a few times, it’s kind of a sense of a fresh start. You get a little excitement, and I know Seto’s excited and so am I.
 
(this trade different than others)
 
I think you approach it the same. I think you’re still on a new team. The way the trades have gone down, I think I go back to the first one where I didn’t know it was coming, so that was different, but from the point of just a new team and new excitement, it’s very similar.
 
(what can you add to the Wild)
 
I think I can score goals. I’ve always been a goal scorer, put up numbers, and I think that’s what I’m expected to do here. I think me and Seto both bring that to the table for this team.
 
(who you meet so far)
 
A lot of guys have called me. I talked to Schultzy, talked to Josh Harding, a few of the guys, I know about five or six of the guys, having played with them on Team Canada or things like that. So pretty comfortable coming into the room.
 
(Koivu)
He called me. We’ve kind of missed each other, but I hope to talk to him this week.
 
(what you think of his game)
I think he’s one of the best centermen in the league. I think being an outsider and seeing him from afar, I think he’s an underrated guy, but playing against him over the years I think he’s a real good player and I’m excited to be on his team.
 
(how much last few days been about finding place to live)
It’s been all it is. We’ve been looking around, and I think we’re both getting settled and that’s a good thing for us. Now we can just worry about getting ready for camp.
 
(what you got left in the tank)
That’s funny. We were just joking about that with Mike. He was saying, ‘You’re 30 years. It’s not like you’re 38.’ So I feel real good. I feel like I can have a real good year this year, and I’m going to do that.
 
(how long you play)
 
As long as I can.
 
(til you’re 38?)
We’ll see.
 
(go to Gophers game)
If the Badgers are in town.
 
(like to settle down)
 
Yeah, for sure. That’s the nature of the game, though. I think you can expect to move around over the course of a career. I do like it here already. Like I said, I know a lot of people here, I know the area very well and I know this is a great place to play, so I’d love to stay here for a long time.
 
(motivated to prove people wrong)
No question. I’ve always used that as motivation in my career. I always want to prove people wrong, and I’d like to do it again.
 
(playoffs or bust)
 
No question. It’s been three years since we’ve been there now, and that’s our goal, to get better every day and get back in the playoffs. I think the Western Conference is a very very tough conference. It’s going to be tough games all year long, but I believe we can get in the playoffs and once we do, anything can happen once you get there.
 
(talent wise where do Wild rank)
I think if you look at our group right now, I think we’re a real young group, but we’ve got a lot of talent like you said. I’m excited to get in there and see what the combos are going to be. As an offensive guy we’ve got a lot of guys that like to play offense.
 
(pressure on you)
 
I think so. If you score goals you’re always expected to score goals, and that’s never going to change. I love being in that spot. If you don’t like being in that spot, I think you’re in the wrong place.
 
(goal for number of goals)
 
No. I always like to just go with it. People like to throw numbers out, but for me my goal is to get to the point where I feel my game is at my best, and if it’s at my best then I’m going to score a lot of goals.
 
(why you traded)
I don’t know. I don’t really speculate on that. Obviously they felt they wanted to make a change, and that’s the nature of the business, but I’m happy that Chuck made a trade and he wants me here and I’m happy to be here.
 
(your standards, last year was down)
I think throughout a career, you have good years and bad years. Last year was a little bit of a down year for me, and I’ve got to work this summer and try to bring that back up.
 
Setoguchi
 
On wearing jersey: It feels good. After being here for a couple days now and getting acquainted with the city and meeting everybody, I can speak for myself and say that it’s a big hockey town, it’s a big hockey city, and we’re excited to be here and be a part of it.
 
Any idea of trade: No, not at all. I was just more excited that I signed the new contract. And then the next day you get shipped off. But that’s the way it is. That’s sports. You can never get too comfortable and things happen for a reason. They wanted me here and I want to be here. I want to be a big part to this team and help out. I’m excited to be here and get a fresh start.
 
On his game: You’re going to find that I’m just going to shoot the puck. That’s all what I try to do. I get the puck, I shoot it. I don’t hold onto it, I don’t make nice, really sweet plays with it. I just shoot it. I’m going to skate and shoot and hit, and that’s my plan.
 
Expectations from Chuck and Mike: Nowadays in the game, you’ve got to shoot the puck. The game’s quicker. Goalies are better. Teams are better. In order to be a successful team, you’ve got to shoot the puck, you’ve got to get shots. I think I can shoot the puck more, and I know that’s what they want us to do, and that’s what I’m going to do.
 
Experience: I think it’s good that I get a chance to come here with Dany. I heard him just say before he had a little bit of a down year last year. I never heard of someone scoring 26 goals having a down year. That’s kind of hard to do. In his standards, he wants to score 50 every year. So it’s going to make the transition a lot easier coming here with him.
 
His demeanor now compared to last week: Obviously, he was going to be a little upset. He’s in San Jose and he was only there for a couple years, but we were talking about it the last couple days how exciting it is to be here and be a part of such a big hockey state. It feels like I’m back in Canada almost playing junior hockey. It’s like the 14th province of Canada -- Minnesota. This is good. It’s going to be a fun experience. I’m in a point in my career where hopefully I can take on a little bit more and prove myself as a player as well.
 
More of a role here: Yeah, taking on some more minutes. I may only be 24, but I’ve played four years. I’ve been in the playoffs every year and played overtime games in the playoffs every year. I’m at a crossroads where I need to pick up my game one more step, be a professional and turn into that man you’ve got to be in order to play in this league. I’m ready to take the jump and make the step and help out the team as much as I can.
 
Where’s Wild ceiling?: Yeah, exactly. It’s unproven. I’ve looked over the roster. A lot of guys are my age. I played under-18 with Cal Clutterbuck and Latendresse. The younger you are, I think, the quicker you are – in some cases. We’re going to be a fast team, and I know that’s the way Mike wants to play. He wants to be fast, north-south, and that’s the way I like to play. And that’s when the fans like to watch is when it’s nice and fast.
 
You and Dany going to live near each other: I think like three blocks away. I’ve got that pretty much taken care of. I’m going to look at a couple more places this afternoon, but I think Minneapolis is going to be the place I call home now.
 
Describe your game: It’s pretty simple what you’re going to get from me. I like to play north-south. I like to use my speed, get in on the forecheck, really be tenacious and puck hungry. And I like to shoot. So you’re going to get some speed, you’re going to get a little bit of physicality and just a player that likes to play a hard game and score some goals every once in awhile.
 
Sharks runs in playoffs and not getting over hump: It is tough to win. It’s weird, when you’re in the playoffs, and you get to the conference final, there’s only four teams left. All you have to do is win 16 games to win the Stanley Cup. And we only won nine. So, to get over the hump, it is hard to win. But I think just being there and having the experience of being there definitely helps out. The mentality of being in situations that a lot of people probably from here haven’t been in is going to help. The experiences are something that I’m going to have to maybe help out a little bit in areas that I’m not really too keen on being a leader. That’s another part of my game I need to work on and now I’m in a position where I might get that chance.
 
Impressions of Wild: I always liked to play the Wild for some reason. I seemed to always be able to score (laughing). No, you knew exactly what you were going to get from them every night we were playing them. They were a young team when we were playing them. We knew we had to get at least 40 shots in order to score on Backstrom every night. Now if you look at the make of the team, it’s kind of a different makeup. We’re going to try and push to be an offensive team this year and put some goals in the net.
 
Talk to Clutterbuck night of trade: I wanted to just kind of figure out, coming from San Jose, the organization is top-notch from head to toe. Now after meeting everyone here, it’s the same thing here. So that was kind of what I wanted to know. I already knew that it was a hockey state and everyone loves hockey here. So I wasn’t worried about that. I wanted to know what the fans were like and you know they were good. Now I just need to meet the rest of my teammates and I’m sure we’ll be fine.
 
Pressure here: There’s always pressure everywhere you’re going to go. I expect to score every night I’m on the ice. There might be a little added pressure, yeah. If it’s not going on, I hope the fans are patient enough with me. They’re going to go in sooner or later. I’m just excited to be here.
 
 FLETCHER

(nice to see new guys)
First time I had a chance to speak to both of them live and in person, and it’s exciting. They’re excited, and they’re here to check out the Twin Cities, find a place to live, and they both had a chance to sit down with Mike Yeo, which was great, and to start to get to know him a little bit. I know we’re a couple months away, but with prospects camp and those two guys in town, it certainly makes it pretty exciting.

(how can they help)
Score goals, and be good teammates. So I think Mike’s a pretty straightforward coach. He’s going to talk to them about what the foundation of their game is, and we want the guys to bring what they bring every night, and again chip in in the roles that they’ll be given and be good teammates. We’re looking forward to having a really good team this year in terms of chemistry in the room and cohesiveness on the ice and they’re going to be a good part of that.

(Seto says he likes to shoot)

Yeah, and we also want him to backcheck and get the puck out on the wall and do some things, too, but he shoots the puck and he’s done that his whole career and certainly we want him to continue to develop. He’s just 24 years old, so to me he hasn’t even come close to hitting the prime of his career and I’m excited to see what he’ll do in a priority role.

(when did you realize you needed this shooters)

I think everybody saw that last year, the last two years, and whether you were a fan or a coach or up in the press box eating popcorn I think clearly we didn’t score enough goals and we didn’t shoot the puck enough. There’s a direct correlation between shots on goal and goals scored, so we’re a team that’s going to put an emphasis on putting the pucks in the net, playing in the offensive zone and playing in traffic, getting to the net. Certainly both of those guys do things well in the offensive zone, and that’s why they’re here.

(better team)
Certainly, you look at it, we’ve blown a pretty big hole on defense by losing Brent Burns. Brent was a very good hockey player for us, an All-Star defenseman, so certainly we paid a price to acquire some high-quality assets. I like the mix of our forwards much better. I think our defense is a lot younger, a little bit more unproven. I really believe training camp, training camp is important every year, but this year will be really important. I believe our team will get better every month, and we’ll be a better team at the end of the year than what we are at the beginning. I think some of the kids that are here this week in terms of our prospect camp, some of them coming into our program in Houston, our future is just going to get brighter, so we really do feel we’re at a point now where we’re just going to continue and build and get better, and how quickly we get better, remains to be seen. Training camp is going to be huge, and how quickly Mike can assimilate the new players into the program and introduce his system and get players to buy in, we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us but I think we’re all excited about it.

(chemistry)

They’re very good guys. Even Mike Lundin and Darroll Powe, I think all the additions we made this year, all the players are quality people. They are people that are regarded by their teammates as being good teammates, regarded by their teammates as being good teammates, regarded by the support staff as being good people to work around and work with, and we’re excited. You never know. We’re not asking everybody to be best friends. That doesn’t happen. But when they come to the rink, we want them to be pulling the rope in the same direction. It’s a corny saying, it’s a cliché, but when everybody is here believing if they play their role, they trust that their teammates will be playing their role, and everybody is playing the system and working hard every day, it’s amazing what you can do. I think people saw that the first few years of this franchise, the teams weren’t the most talented teams on paper, but they achieved and they played hard every night and good things happened. We want to get back to being a team that’s regarded as being a hard team to play against and a team that, again, every night you know what you’re getting, and that’s what we’re hoping to achieve.

 

 

The Wild's injury list keeps growing; KFAN-Wild to begin 3-year partnership

Posted by: Michael Russo Updated: April 5, 2011 - 4:47 PM

Updated by Russo on bottom with KFAN-Wild release

Youngblood here. The biggest topic today, of course, is the growing list of injured players. The Wild was without several players today. Most were no surprise: Guillaume Latendresse, Nick Schultz, Cam Barker, Marek Zidlicky, Marco Scandella and Martin Havlat, for example. Latendresse (lower body), Barker (back), Schultz (post-concussion syndrome) and Scandella (broken finger) have previously been ruled out for the remainder of the regular season. Havlat, who took a big hit from Tampa Bay's Mattias Ohlund Saturday, has an upper body injury that will likely keep him out for the rest of the season as well.

The rest of them? Zidlicky (hamstring) didn't practice and might not make the upcoming road trip. Also missing practice Tuesday were goaltender Jose Theodore (leg), center John Madden (lower body) and winger Cal Clutterbuck (upper body).

Wild coach Todd Richards said that, with both Madden and Clutterbuck, their status for Thursday's game in Vancouver would become clear Wednesday. "Madden didn't play in Detroit," Richards said. "Clutterbuck, it's a little upper-body (injury). We'll have to re-assess them (Wednesday), see where they're at. For John, it was another day off, and for Clutter, this is really his first day off from practice."

My feeling was that one of the two would likely be available for the road trip. But even so, the Wild would have to make yet another call to Houston for a forward. The team would need to call two up should neither Madden nor Clutterbuck be available.

Richards described Theodore's injury as not particularly serious. "His leg was bothering him a little bit," he said. "Again, we'll re-assess him (Wednesday)."

Josh Harding was the second goaltender in practice today. Richards said that the large number of injuries that has beset the Wild over the past two seasons have prompted him to reconsider how the team approaches the training of its players. While it's true that many of the injuries that have cost the Wild -- including those to Harding and James Sheppard, for example -- are out of the team's control. Still...

"You think one year it's a little abnormal," Richards said. "You think, 'OK, we got bitten by the injury bug.' ''

But two consecutive seasons? "For me, moving forward, you have to take a serious look at, is this something we're doing? For me as a coach, and as an organization, meaning are we doing enough in the summertime staying on top of these guys so that when they come into training camp they're ready? And are we doing enough throughout the season. Again, certain injuries I don't think you can do a lot about. But I will sit and go back over it and see if there is something I can do."

That's about it for now. Have a good afternoon.

Lastly, here's the KFAN-Wild release

The Minnesota Wild of the National Hockey League (NHL) today announced a new, three-year partnership with Clear Channel Communications to broadcast all preseason, regular season and Stanley Cup Playoff games on KFAN-AM 1130, beginning with the 2011-12 NHL season.

The new Clear Channel partnership will feature several Wild-related shows on KFAN, plus exposure on “Beyond the Pond”, as well as full promotional and marketing support on all the other Twin Cities Clear Channel stations including: Cities 97.1, KDWB, K102, KOOL 108 and KTLK. There will also be a pre-game show and post-game show, as well as a Wild Fan Line program after select games. Any preempted games will be heard on KOOL 108.

“It is an exciting day as the Wild joins forces with the Clear Channel Communications team and we look forward to an expanded radio partnership with KFAN,” Wild Chief Operating Officer Matt Majka said. “With Clear Channel’s many growing media platforms, this partnership will provide Wild fans dependable, up-to-date news on the team and the best play-by-play coverage of Minnesota Wild hockey. The Wild would also like to thank WCCO Radio for their support over the organization’s first 11 years and wish them well moving forward.”

“Adding a strong franchise like the Minnesota Wild is the perfect complement to our existing relationships with the Minnesota Vikings and University of Minnesota. We are so excited to add Wild games along with their broadcasters to The Fan,” said Michael Crusham, President/Market Manager Clear Channel Radio in Minneapolis.

The Wild radio team of Bob Kurtz, Tom Reid and Kevin Falness will remain the same.

Clear Channel Minneapolis reaches more than 2.2 million listeners every week over the air, via the internet and through iheartradio.com.
 

Schultz may be concussed; Barker scratched in lieu of 3 rookies; Laptop nightmare memory

Posted by: Michael Russo Updated: December 20, 2010 - 12:19 PM

Afternoon from the X, where I'm writing on my new laptop and watching the Calgary Flames skate below me. My thanks to our incredible technology department, especially Ed Schopf, who got me all up and running in an incredibly expeditious manner.

I played it cool the other night in Calgary, probably because that's not my worst laptop experience in that building. In January 1998, after Kirk Muller tied a game for the Panthers in the third period, Palm Beach Post's Brian Biggane jumped up to look at the replay and wrapped his foot around the phone line that was attached to my dial-up modem.

The plastic piece where the phone line was plugged in ripped off my computer and over the press box at about 1 a.m. ET.

I had to dictate my story to the Sun-Sentinel over the phone, basically winging the dictation because with the Muller goal, the entire game story changed.

OH, and in overtime, a streaker ran onto the ice!!! Poor Biggane. I never let him live this down.

Speaking of the Panthers, a secret Santa gave me a hilarious gift this morning in the locker room. It's a travel coffee mug with the Panthers' logo, pictures of Pavel and Valeri Bure, Counting Crows' Adam Duritz, an evil-smiling Kevin Falness and a few other shall-remain nameless photos. Very funny stuff, so thanks to whoever did that.

The Flames are in town to complete the home-and-home with the Wild, which may see its smallest crowd ever I'd suspect.

With the Vikings having a Monday night outdoor game and the forecast calling for a lot of snow and tough road conditions, it could make for a lot of no-shows.

All things are pointing toward a Nick Schultz concussion. He got elbowed in the head apparently by Calgary's Tom Kostopoulos the other night. I didn't see it because I had my head buried in my (Aaron Sickman's, actually) laptop, but Wild folks thought it was dirty and warranted a suspension. He wasn't suspended and like I said, I never saw it.

I did see Kostopoulos elbow Marek Zidlicky in the game for what I thought should have been a penalty and I did see Kostopoulos intentionally break Cal Clutterbuck's stick on a faceoff that undoubtedly should have been a penalty. Neither was called.

Hopefully Schultz isn't long-term or even a concussion. But they have to be careful. He missed the final three games of the 2008-09 season with a concussion. 

The Wild will go with the same 12 forwards tonight and Nik Backstrom in goal.

With Schultz out, the Wild recalled rookie Marco Scandella from Houston. He was lucky. He got on a non-stop from Winnipeg to Minnesota yesterday and actually beat the Wild home.

It could have been a crazy travel day for Scandella if the Wild didn't get him on that non-stop because the Aeros flew from Winnipeg to Calgary to get back to Houston. And even though just by chance the Aeros and Wild bumped into each other at the Calgary airport, Scandella, due to immigration rules, would not have been allowed to get on the Wild's charter for Minnesota.

He would have had to fly back to Houston, then come back to Minnesota.

Aeros GM Jim Mill said Scandella's been outstanding down there. Scandella will stay with the Wild at least through the holidays, but unless there's a huge hit of injuries, Scandella will likely eventually wind up back in Houston. The Wild wants him to keep playing down there for development reasons; he's getting 20 minutes a night in all situations.

Coach Todd Richards was awesome talking about Jared Spurgeon today. Just great stuff, and that'll be in tomorrow's notebook.

Richards was also very happy with Clayton Stoner's game in Calgary, so tonight, the three rookies will dress with Brent Burns, Marek Zidlicky and Greg Zanon.

The one guy scratched: Cam Barker. He's back with the team after a quick return home for a personal reason, but the Wild is not happy with his play, Richards said.

He continues to be incredibly erratic. Perfect example: I thought he was real good in Phoenix and LA. I asked Richards about it before the Anaheim game, and he praised Barker's improvement very, very cautiously. I decided to play it safe, too, and not write about Barker in my game notebook in case his game hit the skids in Anaheim.

It did -- in dramatic fashion.

What else? Mill was great today giving a blue-line update on some of the guys down in Houston, like Nate Prosser and Tyler Cuma. So I'll write about that in tomorrow's notebook.

I don't know if I mentioned yet, but a censored version of HBO's 24/7 (three episodes left) is on NHL.com. Remember, the auction to benefit Jukka Nieminen's daughters is running on NHL.com til Dec. 30.

Also, "Russo Radio" this week is Wednesday night at 6, not tomorrow. Also, I'll be guest hosting for Joe Anderson from 6-8 p.m. on Dec. 28 and 30, so we'll talk a lot of hockey on 1500 ESPN this month.

I think that's it for now. Talk to you tonight. Stay warm and stay out of ditches.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT