Beat La Velle campaign; Parrish-Kvasha memories

Posted on November 29th, 2007 – 3:24 PM
By Michael Russo

I’ll be on KSTP at 6:05 p.m. Friday, being interviewed by shock jock Jim Souhan. He’s going to get my expertise on the Twins’ trade and a whole lot more.  

First of all, I’m a little ticked with you all.

I know the Twins made a big trade yesterday, but my accountant just informed me that La Velle E. Neal the Trois’ blog has gotten 1,295 comments and counting inside his three entries in the 24 hours since he broke yesterday’s trade news.

I’m scared to even ask how many page views (blog lingo) he’s gotten.

I don’t want to be mean, but you people in Russoville must do better.

In order to compete, I’m breaking this story: Nolan Schaefer was reassigned to AHL Houston. We’re clearing the front of the sports section tomorrow for this, so I expect some Russo’s Rants chatter to justify the two articles, three charts and photo spread I’m putting together.

As for Thursday’s practice update, it was a busy day down at the X, well, for me because I was juggling four stories I’m working ahead on.

As you can guess from my massive Schaefer scoop (actually I think beat me to it, darnit), Josh Harding is healthy and will back up tomorrow. Derek Boogaard (back spasms) practiced but left a few minutes early and won’t play Friday vs. St. Louis, who’s won seven of eight. Jacques says Petteri Nummelin (head, nose) isn’t ready, but he practiced. Defenseman Kurtis Foster (black, purple, red and shades of yellow eye) practiced and feels he’s ready, but since the Wild is juggling lots of extra players, I’m thinking it will hold him off tomorrow.

Although, I listened to the tape again, and Jacques said, “maybe,” on Foster’s return.

Sean Hill practiced and is indeed fine after having his knee dinged by Keith Ballard. Mark Parrish (hip muscle spasm) is probable.

Just like Jacques said the other day, if you play well, 35 minutes on the ice. Play and practice poorly, one hour. Wild practice was very, very, very short today (I only drank two coffees during it), a reward for yesterday’s workmanlike performance vs. those Coyotes.

OK, this blog entry isn’t the greatest I’ve put together, but I expect you Russoites to get to work now, stuff the ballot box and help me beat La Velle.

Editors note: I curse the person that brought up the Jokinen-Luongo for Parrish-Kvasha trade because now my memory bank is going wild. That trade happened at the 2000 draft in Calgary, and I’ve got some funny stories about some of the events of that draft, in particular the Mike Milbury press conference. But I’ll save them for another day. And don’t get me started on Oleg Kvasha.

That was the day Milbury traded both his goalies, Luongo, to Florida and Kevin Weekes (who I also covered), I think, to Tampa, and drafted Rick DiPietro first overall. That was the day Milbury earned the nickname Mad Mike.

The thing I remember most about that draft was the sound of the crowd when the Panthers made that blockbuster. When Bettman announced it, it was one loud “Woahhhhhhhhh!” It was the same sound in Vancouver when Bettman announced the Pavol Demitra to Minnesota trade.

I’ll also never forget talking to Parrish on the phone that day. I’m pretty sure he was back in here in Minnesota and he was pretty sad about the move.

I covered Parrish his first two years in the league. He scored 50 goals down in Florida, and the fans were irate at the trade because the Panthers traded the beloved Mark Parrish for some guy named Roberto Luongo and Olli Jokinen. Now Jokinen’s the leader in every Panthers offensive category and Luongo, well, he’s Roberto Luongo. He set NHL records for saves and shots against two years in a row in Florida before the Panthers executed maybe the worst trade in NHL history and shipped him to Vancouver for Todd Bertuzzi, who scored one goal in Florida.

The funny thing is: The fans who grew to love Parrish down in Florida were also irate the day the Panthers traded the beloved Tom Fitzgerald to Colorado for some unknown named … Mark Parrish.

Another little tidbit: The Luongo/Jokinen pickup almost was not to be. In 1999-00, the Panthers nearly traded Ivan Novoseltsev and Oleg Kvasha to the Islanders for Kenny Jonsson and Mariusz Czerkawski (I believe).


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