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

Gophers drop to 3 in polls; NHL/NHLPA deal not close; Aeros coming to town; Russo Radio Wednesday

Posted by: Michael Russo Updated: November 12, 2012 - 4:12 PM

After being in a sour mood for about two months (which not so coincidentally is the exact timeframe of the NHL lockout now), I'm actually in a jolly mood this afternoon because I'm a few hours from heading to the Bruce Springsteen concert.

If you can stomach more lockout talk (whining), I'll be filling in for Paul Allen on Wednesday from 9 to noon on KFAN (100.3-FM). I'm lining up an entertaining show, and I promise it won't be all NHL. It'll be Gophers hockey, too, with a little Wolves and Vikings and other goodies sprinkled in.

Speaking of the Gophers, the 6-2-1 squad (3-2-1 in the WCHA, 1-0-1 at Alaska Anchorage this past weekend) dropped from No. 2 to 3 in the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls. The University of Denver (7-1) hopped over them with Boston College being No. 1.

In the USCHO poll, North Dakota is 6, Colorado College is 14, St. Cloud State is 15, and Nebraska-Omaha is 18. In the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll, UND is 5, CC is 14 and St. Cloud State is 15.

Reminder also, if you want to get a pro hockey fix, the Houston Aeros, who boast a number of prospects including Charlie Coyle, Jason Zucker, Zack Phillips and Brett Bulmer, come to town Sunday to play Rockford at Xcel Energy Center at 5 p.m.

Jonas Brodin is out with a broken collarbone, and Mikael Granlund has been ruled out with a sprained ankle.

Aeros players will sign autographs after the game for 30 minutes.

The Wild will conduct the seventh annual Toyota Food Drive to benefit Second Harvest Heartland, the Upper Midwest’s largest hunger-relief organization. Fans are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items and/or monetary donations to Gates 1, 2 and 5 at 4:00 p.m. and continuing through the start of the first period.

Wild season ticketholders can contact their account representative to receive complimentary tickets to the game equal to the number of Wild seats they hold. Tickets for the Aeros game are $20 and are on sale at the Xcel Energy Center Box Office, www.wild.com, www.aeros.com and at all Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.com) locations or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000.

Wild prospect Tyler Graovac, who leads the Ontario Hockey League with 18 goals, can be seen tonight again on the NHL Network in the Subway Super Series against Russia at 8 p.m.

The Western Hockey League All-Stars face Russia on Wednesday and Thursday nights, so you can see Matt Dumba, the Wild's 2012 first-rounder who is an assistant captain.

Also on the NHL Network tonight is the Hall of Fame induction.

Joe Sakic, Pavel Bure, Mats Sundin and Adam Oates are being enshrined. I was fortunate enough to cover Bure, who scored 58 and 59 goals during consecutive years when I covered the Panthers. By far, the Russian Rocket was the most electrifying and fascinating players I have ever covered. He was a man of intrigue, that's for sure.

One day hopefully we'll get to see the NHL again. I'm not convinced it'll be any time soon though.

There's a schism between the two sides right now and it's pretty poisonous. The NHL wants to go to 50-50 and "Make Whole," and the NHLPA wants guaranteed $1.9 billion-plus next year (more than last year's share when revenue will decrease who knows because of this lockout) and an increase for the four subsequent years of the deal.

The NHL is unwilling to budge on contractual restrictions, Donald Fehr says.

Here is NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr talking today in a Canadian Press report.


Granlund on whether he plans to sign with the Wild: "Of course"

Posted by: Michael Russo Updated: January 5, 2012 - 6:39 PM

Evening from inside the Corral, which houses the press room for the world junior championships. The tournament's a stone's throw across the street at the Saddledome.

Canada won the bronze this afternoon with a 4-0 win over Finland. The Finns didn't compete for two periods and just didn't have the depth to battle the Canadians.

Mikael Granlund, the Wild's 2010 first-rounder, called it a "big disappointment," especially after holding a 2-0 lead in Tuesday's semifinal before losing in a shootout to Sweden. But, "life goes on."

Couple quick things:

1. Granlund reiterated to me again, I think for the third time in 14 months, that Wild fans shouldn't be worried and that his intention is to sign with the Wild after his season. The Wild loses his rights if he's unsigned by June 1.

Remember, though, he doesn't become a free agent. He'd have to re-enter the draft, so what would be the advantage? He can't make a cent more. And he wouldn't control where he'd end up, so you re-enter the draft, and next thing you know, you're on Long Island (OK, Islanders fans, email me).

But my point is I just don't buy that there's any funny business going on here. But hey, until he's signed, of course there's going to be concern. But again, it's a pretty simple negotiation. Give him the max rookie salary and signing bonus and work out the bonus structure.

By the way, he can't be signed now anyway. You can't sign European amateurs until March 1, but if that player is going to be called upon by his Federation to play in the world championships, you can't sign that player until after that tournament. So there likely won't be any official Granlund news until May.

Sooooooo, leave me alone on Granlund until then.

All indications are he wants to be in Minnesota. I mean, he looks up to Mikko Koivu. The Wild treats him like gold. He was more than willing to take part in the Wild's Fan Fest before his brother, Markus, was drafted in June. He returned a few weeks later to take part in the Wild's development camp. There are a lot of Scandinavians in Minnesota. The weather's great. He loves walleye. He likes ice fishing. He hates Dunkin Donuts. He thinks the "Ohhh, yah," in the Minnesota accent is sexy. He lives for the Mall of America. He's glad the Vikings hired a GM ...

And he knows he'll be on the team next year.

Speaking of Koivu: The Wild captain called Granlund yesterday to try to lift his spirits after the puck rolled off his stick in Tuesday's shootout to advance Sweden to the gold-medal game, which is in less than an hour. I'll have some neat quotes from the two of them in tomorrow's Star Tribune.

Buy it. It's good.

(more coffee).

OK, I'm going to run back to the Saddledome to watch Jonas Brodin, Johan Larsson and Johan Gustafsson. Chatted with Sweden GM Johan Garpenlov, and he raved about the Wild's Swedes.

On the Wild front, Nate Prosser was reassigned. The Wild practiced for 45 minutes in Banff today. It canceled its curling outing. And it has a team dinner.

I'll head to Banff in the morning to cover practice. Good evening.

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.


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:


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


Jordan Hendry-Mike Lundin

Clayton Stoner-Jared Spurgeon

Justin Falk-Nate Prosser

Extra, it appears: Tyler Cuma


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.

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.

Mon. 10 @ N.Y. Islanders 12:00 P.M. FSN
Tue. 11 @ Ottawa 6:30 P.M. FSN
Thur. 20 @ Edmonton 8:30 P.M. FSN
Sat. 22 @ Vancouver 3:00 P.M. FSN

Tue. 1 @ Detroit 6:30 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
SAT. 19 ST. LOUIS 7:00 P.M. FSN
Wed. 30 @ Edmonton 8:30 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
Mon. 19 @ Vancouver 9:00 P.M. FSN
Tue. 20 @ Calgary 8:00 P.M. FSN
Thur. 22 @ Edmonton 8:30 P.M. FSN
Wed. 28 @ Nashville 7:00 P.M. FSN

Wed. 4 @ Vancouver 9:00 P.M. FSN
Sat. 7 @ Calgary 9:00 P.M. FSN
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

Thur. 2 @ Colorado 8:00 P.M. FSN
Sat. 4 @ Dallas 7:00 P.M. FSN
Tue. 7 @ Columbus 6:00 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

Thur. 1 @ Montreal 6:00 P.M. FSN
Fri. 2 @ Detroit 6:30 P.M. FSN
Tue. 6 @ Colorado 8:00 P.M. VERSUS
Thur. 8 @ Phoenix 8:00 P.M. FSN
TUE. 13 DALLAS 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

Sun. 1 @ Chicago 6:00 P.M. FSN
Tue. 3 @ Nashville 7:00 P.M. FSN



Heatley, Setoguchi don Wild jerseys for first time

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






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:
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.
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.
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.

(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.


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.




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