Patrick Reusse: From start, Lemaire set tone for Wild

The actions of the Minnesota Wild's hockey operation have been less than impressive in recent years. President/GM Doug Risebrough and his lackeys have made conspicuous blunders in the draft, they have missed as often as they have hit in signing veterans, and they have been hapless in adding assistance for stretch drives. Fortunately, the front office always has had coach Jacques Lemaire to bail it out, to prevent the Wild from attaining the ineptitude it might have deserved.

Wild faces 'long, long summer' after 'if-only' season

It won't be easy to replace Gaborik. First, other than Hossa, who's not coming here without No. 10, there's nobody of Gaborik's ilk in free agency. Chicago's Martin Havlat will be a free agent, but he's injury prone. Montreal's Alex Kovalev will be free, but he's 36. Vancouver's Sedin Twins will be free, but they're a package deal. Mike Cammalleri scored 39 goals and 82 points for Calgary, so that'll create a bidding war that could make him overpriced. Other interesting names include Montreal's Saku Koivu and Alex Tanguay, Carolina's Erik Cole, the Rangers' Nik Antropov and New Jersey's Brian Gionta. Nice players. Not Gaboriks. The Wild's salary cap hit already is $42.5 million for only 15 players next season. That might seem like a lot of room if the $56.7 million salary cap stays stagnant. But like all teams, the Wild will have to be leery of handing out exorbitant long-term deals when it's so uncertain how dramatically the salary cap could drop after next season. The Wild still must find a finisher or two, no matter how many ways Wild General Manager Doug Risebrough says it's unnecessary. Risebrough said last week that if he can't re-sign Gaborik, it doesn't take a lot more goals to get the Wild into the playoffs.

Wild GM: Coach's choice was surprise

"I did not know Jacques was going to quit; he did not say anything to me," Risebrough said. "I had a feeling that he had made up his mind, as he said [Saturday] with the media. "... We had had no discussions about this. We didn't talk about it, because Jacques is all about the team ... and doing the right thing, and it wouldn't be the right thing to talk about this stuff before. But the fact that he said he had made up his mind started me to think that he knows the right time. "I've always said this, Jacques is not only the brightest hockey mind I've ever worked with, he's maybe one of the smartest individuals. And I knew he would know when the right time was going to be. And, I've just got to say, I am so appreciative of Jacques staying as long as he did. I think it was the right thing." Risebrough said he hadn't been looking ahead to who would replace Lemaire. "But I can tell you, I've got a great, great perspective on what coaching is, [and who] the next coach should be, because of Jacques Lemaire."

Lemaire done, So Sayth Russo

Jacques Lemaire has called it quits as the bench boss of the Minnesota Wild. He waited until after the FSN cameras had shut down for the night, leaving Russo to get us the news. More to follow from Russo tomorrow in the StarTrib, so watch for that. Congrats on a great career, Jacques, and thank you so very much for nine years of excellent coaching. Your presence will most definitely be missed. (More news to follow here on The Wilderness as well. Stay tuned.)

Franzen Signs 11 year Deal with the Red Wings

For everyone who wanted Doug Risebrough to go after Johan Franzen in the off-season, your hopes have been crushed.

Minnesota Wild's Jacques Lemaire: 'If the game's tied, pull the goalie'

What?! If the game tonight is tied then coach Jacques Lemaire will pull his goalie. The Wild can still make the playoffs with an overtime win, but they would need either Anaheim to lose its last two games in regulation or St. Louis to earn no more than one point combined in its last two games.

Fates of Wild, Gaborik hanging in balance

Every time Marian Gaborik hops the boards during tonight's home finale against the Nashville Predators, make sure you take it in. Appreciate the burst of speed, the explosive wrist shot, the nose for the back of the net and the great memories provided by the most exciting player in Wild history. That's because if the Wild misses the playoffs, there's a very real chance Gaborik will be wearing another uniform the next time he skates inside Xcel Energy Center. Asked if it had dawned on him that this could be his final home game, Gaborik said: "You never know. We'll see what's going to happen. Of course, it's a possibility, yes, but you never know. It's been a great run since 2000, but we'll see what happens. Nothing's going on right now in terms of negotiations, so you never know." But the Wild's all-time leader in virtually every offensive category said he's not thinking that far ahead. "The season's still in progress," said Gaborik, who will establish a personal milestone if he scores a goal for a sixth consecutive game tonight. "We're still hoping [to make the playoffs]. We have a huge game again. It's not over yet. So I'm not closing the page or closing the book on the season or the Wild. Hopefully the season won't be over after these [two] games."

Russo Breaks Down the Facts

"The Wild makes the playoffs if: Minnesota wins Friday against Nashville AND Saturday at Columbus -AND- St. Louis loses Friday against Columbus AND Sunday at Colorado (must be 0-2 or 0-1-1). -OR- Anaheim loses Friday vs. Dallas AND Saturday at Phoenix, both in regulation. ———————————————————– The Wild misses the playoffs if: Minnesota loses Friday against Nashville OR Saturday at Columbus -OR- St. Louis wins Friday against Columbus OR Sunday at Colorado, or goes 0-0-2. -OR- St. Louis wins one of its last two games (or goes 0-0-2) AND Anaheim gets one point in its final two games. * If Nashville goes 0-0-2, the Wild goes 1-0-1 and St. Louis goes 0-2, there would be a three-way tie with 88 points; the Wild and Predators would miss the playoffs based on tiebreakers." Ugh. Anyone going to Vegas, because I don't like the odds at all.

Russo - Concussion keeps frustrated Burns off the ice

Brent Burns is not off searching for the Dalai Lama. He hasn't been institutionalized or put into detox or stung by a lionfish. All the crazy, stupid rumors flying around the Internet are just that -- crazy and stupid. "I don't have the bird flu and I didn't get bit by one of my snakes," Burns said, smiling. He just feels that way. Burns, 24, has been sidelined the past 17 games because of a severe concussion, one he was playing with for "a while" until it finally became unmanageable. "I have good days and bad days. Today's been a rough day," Burns said Tuesday after an afternoon of nothing but sleep because of bad headaches.

Linus Omark Sick Shootout Goal

Linus Omark Sick Shootout Goal

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