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Michael Russo

Reporter | Wild, NHL
Recent content from Michael Russo
Bryan Murray’s funeral is Tuesday; on Thursday, a celebration of life will be held at the Ottawa Senators’ arena.

Wild's Fletcher, Flahr owe much to late NHL executive Bryan Murray

Murray's hiring of Chuck Fletcher and Brent Flahr began a long working relationship and close-knit friendship that others in hockey were fortunate enough to share.
Matt Cullen got a hug from his father Terry after Pittsburgh won the Stanley Cup last season.

Coming home: Cullen to join Wild, play 20th NHL season

Native Minnesotan Matt Cullen called joining the Wild for the 2017-18 season a "family decision." He has won three Stanley Cups, and will turn 41 in November.
Nick Bjugstad of the Florida Panthers and Zane McIntyre (second from right) sign autographs for children after their Da Beauty League game, on Monday

Da Beauty League: A chance to watch pro hockey stars up close

In the waning minutes of every game in Da Beauty League, dozens of kids in hockey garb press against each railing at the Zamboni entrance inside Edina's Braemar Arena.
Minnesota Wild's Mikael Granlund, seen here in a game last March.

Granlund, Wild agree to three-year deal with benefits for both sides

In avoiding Friday's arbitration hearing, Mikael Granlund's agent didn't want a multiyear contract to go too long-term.
Minnesota Wild right wing Nino Niederreiter

Niederreiter ready for more ice time after new deal with Wild

After a career year in which he scored 25 goals and 57 points, Nino Niederreiter has loftier expectations after signing a five-year deal with the Wild.
Three weeks after filing for arbitration and four days before the scheduled hearing, Wild right winger Nino Niederreiter settled Sunday night by signi

Niederreiter avoids arbitration, signs five-year contract with Wild

Niederreiter's contract, which has no no-trade protection and buys three of his unrestricted free agency years, was right in line with the market for other recent deals.
Elizabeth Flores/Star Tribune
Mikael Granlund, left, and Nino Niederreiter at the Stadium Series game in 2016.

Can Wild avoid arbitration hearings with Niederreiter, Granlund?

Nino Niederreiter and Mikael Granlund are thought to be seeking long-term contracts north of $6 million annually. They have hearings scheduled for next week.
Minnesota Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau

Wild's Boudreau among owners of new Twin Cities junior hockey team

The Tier III expansion team is based in Coon Rapids and will debut its 44-game schedule at home Sept. 22. The Wild coach will attend tryouts this weekend.
Marco Scandella says he was mentally prepared to be traded by the Wild after seven seasons with them.

Scandella 'all ears' as he heads to Buffalo and coach Housley

Marco Scandella, the second-longest tenured Wild player until being traded, said he's looking forward to playing for Hall of Fame defenseman Phil Housley in Buffalo.
Mikael Granlund, right, celebrates a goal with Nino Neiderreiter last season. Their contracts will determine other moves that Wild general manager Chu

Wild turning attention to signing restricted free agents Granlund, Neiderreiter

Mikael Granlund and Nino Niederreiter, both coming off career years, have filed for salary arbitration. Their salaries will have an impact on other moves the Wild can make.
Minnesota Wild center Mikael Granlund (64) is shoved by New Jersey Devils defenseman Kyle Quincey (22) as he screens goalie Cory Schneider just as an

Wild addresses depth, signs seven on Day 1 of free agency

Veteran defenseman Kyle Quincey was the top signing Saturday, inking a one-year, $1.25 million deal. The Wild signed six others but talks with Matt Cullen haven't led to deal.
FILE - In this March 31, 2017, file photo, Pittsburgh Penguins center Matt Cullen (7) controls the puck as he skates past New York Rangers right wing

Is Matt Cullen on Wild's free agency wish list?

Stanley Cup-winning center could be biggest move team makes on first day of wheeling and dealing.
Jason Pominville (left) and Marco Scandella were traded by the Wild to Buffalo. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

Wild frees up 'valuable cap space' shipping Pominville, Scandella to Buffalo

The Wild made a big move Friday, trading Jason Pominville and Marco Scandella to Buffalo in exchange for Tyler Ennis and Marcus Foligno.
An official pulled Minnesota Wild left wing Jason Zucker (16) away from a scuffle as Zucker trash talked Winnipeg Jets center Adam Lowry (17) after th

Vegas-raised Zucker has high hopes for NHL in town where he grew up

As much as Jason Zucker tries to dodge the Vegas strip, he'll have no choice next March 16 when the Wild's scheduled to play its first-ever game against the expansion Golden Knights
If the Wild can work out a deal for defenseman Marco Scandella, it would free up money for the team to be more aggressive in its quest for free agents

As Wild turns to free agency, don't count out a significant trade

All the team's activities Monday indicate a trade could be around the corner. Some kind of deal is needed in order for the Wild to free up salary cap money for free agency.

Bob Woods announced as new Wild assistant coach

Head coach Bruce Boudreau and Woods will coach together for the fourth time.
Casey Mittelstadt, left, shakes hands with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman after being selected by the Buffalo Sabres in the first round of the NHL hock

North stars: 3 from Minn. go in NHL draft's 1st round

While it may have been an uneventful day for the Wild, it wasn't for Minnesotans Casey Mittelstadt, Ryan Poehling and Jake Oettinger. Mittelstadt, the Minnesota Mr. Hockey from Eden Prairie, was drafted eighth by the Buffalo Sabres. And then Lakeville pals Poehling and Oettinger went back-to-back late in the first round.
Minnesota Wild's Mikko Koivu poses before the NHL Awards, Wednesday, June 21, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Koivu knows contract status not a top Wild priority, yet

Wild captain Mikko Koivu knows GM Chuck Fletcher has a lot on his plate before he can even think about maybe talking to him about a contract extension.
Chuck Fletcher.

After saving defensemen from expansion, will Fletcher trade one?

It's a a good bet Wild GM Chuck Fletcher wheels and deals in Chicago during this weekend's draft. Round 1 is Friday night, Rounds 2-7 are Saturday night.
Marco Scandella (6) and Erik Haula (56) made their way to the ice for warm ups. ] CARLOS GONZALEZ ï - April 12, 2017, S

Leaving the Wild: Haula excited about 'a fresh start'

After being relegated for much of last season to the fourth line in Minnesota, Haula's excited for the new opportunity he'll receive with the expansion Vegas Golden Knights.
Erik Haula, center, is the newest member of the Vegas Golden Knights.

It's official: Vegas inks Wild's Haula, acquires Tuch

Erik Haula, who could have become a restricted free agent July 1, signed a three-year, $8.25 million contract with the expansion Vegas Golden Knights.

Wild monitoring Hossa's situation for salary cap ramifications

Many teams, including the Wild, will be eyeballing how the NHL handles the Marian Hossa situation with the Blackhawks. Hossa's career might be over because of a skin allergy.
Minnesota Wild left wing Erik Haula could be headed to Las Vegas.

Sources: Expansion Vegas team negotiating with Wild free agent Haula

If the Golden Knights sign the former two-time University of Minnesota leading scorer, Erik Haula would count as the Wild's lost player in expansion.
Mikko Koivu (9) and Mikael Granlund (64) celebrated after Koivu shot the puck past Kings goalie Jeff Zatkoff last season.

Koivu, Granlund humbled being NHL award finalists in Vegas

The Wild's Mikko Koivu is up for the Selke Trophy, and Mikael Granlund for the Lady Byng. The awards will be revealed Wednesday night.
Casey Mittelstadt starred for Eden Prairie and is expected to be a high NHL draft choice.

How high will he go? Mittelstadt rides NHL draft excitement, stress

Gophers freshman Casey Mittelstadt could become be the highest-drafted Minnesotan since Ryan McDonagh, another Mr. Hockey winner, went 12th overall to the New York Rangers in 2007.
Boston University's Jake Oettinger won gold and bronze medals with the Under-18 team at the world championships, then backstopped the U.S. to gold at

Lakeville North pals mature into potential first-round NHL draft picks

St. Cloud State center Ryan Poehling and Boston University goaltender Jake Oettinger grew up a three-minute drive from each other, and work out and skate together in the summer.
Wild defensemen Jonas Brodin, left, and Matt Dumba: Brodin was put on the Wild's protected list for the NHL expansion draft; Dumba was not.

Dumba, Staal, Scandella biggest Wild names unprotected for expansion

After a year of fretting and speculating, Wild fans know the full list of 23 players who were left exposed for the Las Vegas team to take one from in Wednesday's expansion draft.
Minnesota Wild General Manager, Chuck Fletcher, addresses the press Sunday, February 14 at Braemer Arena in Edina, the morning after firing Wild Head

Wild and NHL wait as expansion roster deadline nears

GM Chuck Fletcher, trying to keep losses to a minimum, was in trade talks in advance of a moratorium early Saturday afternoon.
Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher will hold his season-closing news conference this week. That would be a good time to start asking how he will impr

Wild makes no moves as deadline passes

With lists submitted, any Wild moves now must go through Golden Knights.
Wild defensemen Jonas Brodin, left, and Matt Dumba: Brodin was put on the Wild's protected list for the NHL expansion draft; Dumba was not.

Wild gets 'quality' trade offers for Brodin, Dumba

The team might be trying to move one of its better defensemen to avoid losing him in the expansion draft.
Chuck Fletcher.

Wild GM Fletcher talking possible trades with expansion Vegas but nothing completed

Vegas' debut roster will be announced throughout next Wednesday's NHL Awards Show. The Wild almost certainly will lose a good player in the expansion draft.
Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) celebrates with the Stanley Cup after defeating the Nashville Predators in Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cu

Crosby finds motivation to lead Penguins to third Cup

In hindsight, P.K. Subban probably should have avoided poking the bear and dragging Sidney Crosby into ListerineGate.
Penguins center Jake Guentzel gathered on the Bridgestone Arena ice with his family after Pittsburgh's 2-0 Game 6, Stanley Cup-clinching victory over

Dream comes true for Penguins rookie Guentzel

Hill-Murray graduate Jake Guentzel became the first rookie in NHL history to lead the postseason in goals (13) -- and won the Stanley Cup as well.
Matt Cullen got a hug from his father Terry after Pittsburgh won the Stanley Cup last season.

Penguins' Cullen, in 'likely' his last game, makes a big impact

The Minnesota native, 40, was solid on penalty kill and won key faceoffs.
Pittsburgh Penguins' Patric Hornqvist (72), of Sweden, hoists the Stanley Cup after defeating Nashville Predators in Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley

Penguins break tie with 95 seconds left, win back-to-back Cups

Former Predators fan favorite Patric Hornqvist returned to Music City, spoiled Nashville's party and delivered the NHL its first repeat champion since 1998.
Nashville Predators' P.K. Subban (76) tangles with Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) during the first period in Game 5 of the NHL hockey Stanley

Nashville fired up for Game 6, but can't rely on fans for energy

Nashville will have its fired-up fan base but needs to play better to survive.
FILE - In this Oct. 29, 2016, file photo, Pittsburgh Penguins' Matt Cullen skates toward the action during an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia

Matt Cullen eyes another Stanley Cup as career winds down

Cullen has treated this season as his last. His wife is homesick for Minnesota, and he craves the chance to coach his three hockey-loving boys.
Eric Staal and Nino Niederreiter (22) are two of the players the Wild needs to make decisions about protecing as the NHL expansions draft to fill the

Roster dilemmas: Wild facing tough choices as NHL expansion nears

The Wild has complicated expansion decisions to make about whom to protect on its roster, and there are rumors that management is working to make a significant trade.
Pittsburgh Penguins' Ron Hainsey, center, celebrates his goal against the Nashville Predators with Evgeni Malkin, left, and Phil Kessel, right, during

'Real hockey starts now' as Penguins move within one game of Cup

Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel combined for eight points, chasing Nashville's Pekka Rinne from the net as Pittsburgh moved within one win of lifting the Stanley Cup again.
Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Josh Archibald (45) is checked by Ottawa Senators defenseman Marc Methot (3) during the first period of Game 4 of the N

Brainerd's Archibald relishes his rare chance with Penguins

Josh Archibald didn't play in Game 5 on Thursday, but he did skate in Game 4. The rule for having one's name etched on the Stanley Cup is 41 games played or one game in the Stanley Cup Final with the winner.
Pittsburgh Penguins' Phil Kessel (81) plays against the Ottawa Senators in Game 7 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Eastern Conference, Thursday, May 25,

Former Gophers star Kessel struggling to find his scoring touch

Phil Kessel has been limited to one assist and nine shots in four games in the Stanley Cup finals, a series in which the Penguins are 1-for-16 on the power play. Game 5 is tonight.
Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne (35), of Finland, reaches to make a stop against the Pittsburgh PenguinsGame 3 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Fi

Predators goalie Rinne quickly rewards his coach's faith

Pekka Rinne's strong play has the Predators two wins from the Stanley Cup. He is 9-1 at home in the playoffs with a .949 save percentage.
Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne (35), of Finland, stops a shot by Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Chris Kunitz (14) during the second period in G

Predators impress at home, beat Penguins 4-1 to tie Stanley Cup Final

Another strong outing by goalie Pekka Rinne in front of a raucous crowd helps Nashville make the series a best-of-three.
Eden Prairie's Casey Mittelstadt.

Gophers recruit Mittelstadt gets a taste of the NHL life

After a trip to the NHL draft combine, the former Eden Prairie star has gotten a chance to hang out at the Stanley Cup, where he's trying not to act like too much of a fan.
Dino Ciccarelli, right, celebrated a goal with North Stars teammate Steve Payne in 1985. Four years earlier, Ciccarelli set the NHL rookie record for

Family aside, Guentzel's No. 1 fan is former North Stars great Ciccarelli

In 1981, Dino Ciccarelli scored a rookie record of 14 goals in the Stanley Cup. Guentzel, of Woodbury, is one behind the NHL Hall of Famer, who twice scored more than 50 goals in a season for the Stars.
Nashville Predators right wing Craig Smith (15) celebrates his goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins with Filip Forsberg (9), of Sweden, during the thi

Nashville responds with 5-1 victory over Pittsburgh in Game 3

The Predators struck three times in the second period to take control in Game 3. Pittsburgh leads the series 2-1.
Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis (4) and Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) battle for the puck during the second period in Game 3

Penguins young and old benefit from Crosby's leadership

Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said it wasn't a coincidence that the 22-year-old Jake Guentzel was placed to the left of Sidney Crosby in the Penguins' dressing room.
Nashville Predators fan Nick Olp swings a sledge hammer as he takes a turn beating up a car painted with Anaheim Ducks logos before Game 6 of the West

Smashville: Predators hockey is hot ticket in Music City

Fired-up fans ready for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final are as fluent in hockey as they are with Nashville's top-tier music.
Nashville Predators assistant coach Phil Housley and his wife, Minnesota state senator Karin Housley. (family photo)

Power couple: Housleys make sports and politics mix

Phil and Karin Housley have ambitious agendas, be it in the National Hockey League or the Minnesota state senate.
Pittsburgh Penguins' Jake Guentzel (59) celebrates his goal against the Nashville Predators with Brian Dumoulin (8) during the third period in Game 2

Hill-Murray's Guentzel is huge again as Penguins win Game 2

For the second straight game, rookie Jake Guentzel scored the game-winning goal in the Stanley Cup finals. He's closing in on a rookie record held by a former Minnesota North Star.
Pittsburgh Penguins' Brian Dumoulin (8) and Carter Rowney (37) celebrate with Nick Bonino after Bonino's goal against the Nashville Predators during t

Penguins' AHL call-ups rising to the occasion in Stanley Cup playoffs

There's no doubt a number of Pittsburgh's key players were molded well in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., site of their AHL club.
Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) greets center Evgeni Malkin (71) after Malkin scored a goal to tie the game against the Ottawa Senators during

Malkin - Pittsburgh's other superstar - stepping out of Crosby's shadow

Evgeni Malkin is often overlooked because of Sidney Crosby. But that's fine, as together they are approaching historical achievements with the Penguins.
Wild assistant coach Scott Stevens watches from behind the bench during the first period. ] ANTHONY SOUFFLE ï Gam

Boudreau weighs options after top assistant Stevens resigns

Scott Stevens, 53, informed the Wild of his decision before the team's hockey operations meetings last week. "He's going to be very difficult to replace," head coach Bruce Boudreau said.
The Penguins' Jake Guentzel, center, celebrated his goal against the Nashville Predators with Ian Cole, left, and Matt Cullen during the third period

Penguins stumble, snap back with Guentzel's winning goal in Game 1

After Pittsburgh lost an early 3-0 lead, the former Hill-Murray star came through to break a 3-3 tie late in the game.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman

NHL commissioner discussed offside review issues before Game 1 call

Almost as if he was clairvoyant, Gary Bettman got ahead of what looked like what might have ended up being the Stanley Cup Final opener's chief story line two hours before puck drop.
The Penguins' Patric Hornqvist (72) and Sidney Crosby (87) will have a challenge solving goalie Pekka Rinne, left, and the Predators' brilliant corps

Stanley Cup Final will match Penguins' world-class offense against Predators' world-class defense

Talented back end takes on high-powered offense.
FILE - In this May 18, 2016, file photo, Nashville Predators general manager David Poile answers questions during a news conference in Nashville, Tenn

Nashville's David Poile is dean of the NHL's general managers

At age 67, highly respected David Poile has a team in Stanley Cup Final for first time.
Russia's Kirill Kaprizov skates past Slovakia's Boris Sadecky during the third period of a world junior championship hockey game in Toronto on Saturda

Wild not worried about losing Russian prospect Kirill Kaprizov

Chuck Fletcher doesn't believe the rumors that the former fifth-round pick will sign a long-term deal with CSKA Moscow.
Minnesota Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau

'Bored' Boudreau still frustrated by Wild's playoff collapse

Wild coach Bruce Boudreau still believes the Wild is a legit Stanley Cup contender, all the more because he sees similarities between his team and finalist Nashville.
Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold

Wild owner Leipold laments his team's failure: 'I'm not over it'

Craig Leipold said his team "crapped out" in its playoff loss to St. Louis, and now it's up to Wild management to dissect what happened and fix things to prepare for next season and beyond.
The Wild has significant restricted free agents to re-sign for the 2017-18 season, including Mikael Granlund (right) and Nino Niederreiter, and not a

With expansion draft looming, Wild preparing for offseason player changes

There's no way around it: the Wild will lose a quality player to the Vegas Golden Knights in expansion. The Wild also has significant restricted free agents to re-sign, including Mikael Granlund and Nino Niederreiter.
Jake Guentzel

Playing with legends, Woodbury's Guentzel is Stanley Cup's top scorer

When he was younger, Hill-Murray grad Jake Guentzel was a huge Pittsburgh Penguins fan. Now he's one of them. "It's amazing. You wake up and it's still a dream you get to play with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin."
Minnesota Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher, left, and coach Bruce Boudreau met with media members to wrap up the season and to look to the future T

Sidestepping negatives, Wild GM Fletcher cites 'remarkably consistent team'

In his season-ending remarks Tuesday, Wild GM Chuck Fletcher pointed to the teams regular-season improvement, not the speedy playoff exit vs. St. Louis.
Minnesota Wild center Eric Staal spoke with media members about the disappointment of exiting the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs after being eliminated in 5

Wild's Eric Staal feels fortunate after scary crash into the boards

Center improving after concussion, but he laments early playoff exit.
When Wild coach Bruce Boudreau, General Manager Chuck Fletcher and their staff sequester themselves to analyze what went wrong for a team that two mon

Wild's puzzling collapse begs for the reasons why

Another first-round exit leaves plenty of blame to go around.
Blues end Wild's season with series-clinching overtime goal

Blues end Wild's season with series-clinching overtime goal

The Wild didn't go quietly Saturday afternoon, but few will remember the Wild's franchise-best regular season now that the team couldn't even get past Game 5 of the first round.
Minnesota Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk (40) went down to stop a shot from St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko (91) as Minnesota Wild defense

Wild, Blues are resigned to low-scoring series

Minnesota and St. Louis players are surprising even themselves with tenacity in limiting goals.
Center Mikko Koivu has been a top faceoff man during the Wild's series with St. Louis.

Cheating on the faceoff dot is delaying Wild-Blues games

Game 4 was slowed as centers, often the Wild's, drew calls.
Charlie Coyle celebrated after scoring for the Wild on Wednesday night in St. Louis. Associated Press photo by Jeff Roberson

Wild's Charlie Coyle steps up his game in playoffs

Wild's tough, talented winger ditched slump to be playoff force.
Dubnyk, Wild force Game 5 against St. Louis with 2-0 victory

Dubnyk, Wild force Game 5 against St. Louis with 2-0 victory

Charlie Coyle and Martin Hanzal scored and Devan Dubnyk stopped all 28 Blues shots he faced to send the Wild's series with St. Louis into Saturday.
Minnesota Wild's Martin Hanzal, of the Czech Republic, and St. Louis Blues' Jaden Schwartz, right, chase the loose puck during the second period in Ga

Hanzal's 'been good,' says Wild coach Boudreau

Because of the Wild's 4-10-2 March and playoff lack of success, some still feel the arrival of Martin Hanzal and Ryan White messed up the Wild's chemistry. Coach Bruce Boudreau disputes that claim.
Scott Stevens of the Blues, playing against the North Stars during the 1991 playoffs.

Fate dealt Wild assistant coach Stevens a short Blues career

The Hall of Fame defenseman was part of one of hockey's most controversial rulings.
The Minnesota Wild's Jason Zucker (16) and the St. Louis Blues' Jay Bouwmeester (19) battle for the puck in the first period of Game 1 of the Western

Blues defenseman Bouwmeester carves out memorable career

Jay Bouwmeester's effective play against the Wild has St. Louis on the verge of a four-game sweep.
Blues goalie Jake Allen, right, won 11 of his last 15 regular-season starts with 26 goals allowed in that span. He's stopped 114 of 117 shots (.974 sa

Wild's frustration can be measured in big numbers, raw emotions

Statistical advantages are no comfort in a 3-0 hole.
'It's just not working.' Wild drops another close game to St. Louis

'It's just not working.' Wild drops another close game to St. Louis

After a franchise-record 106 points, the Wild is three games into this postseason and has yet to figure out how to win a game against the St. Louis Blues or light up their stingy goalie.