By Michael Russo
Forgot to put this up from the presser:
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Good morning from Montreal. I will be back later, but this will be an extremely quick blog because I have a prospects media luncheon at noon EDT downstairs.
First of all, I’ve joined this century and Twittered up. You can find me on there by searching Michael Russo or user name Russostrib. The link should be this one here.
I just came back from the Team Canada press conference to introduce one heck of a coaching staff for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Head coach will be Mike Babcock, and his assistants will be Jacques Lemaire, Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff and Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock. Hitch will be the eye in the sky, Lemaire and Ruff on the bench with Babcock, who has long admired Lemaire. More on that in tomorrow’s paper. Lemaire will coach the special teams.
Lemaire and I had a long private chat about the Wild, and you’ll want to read his interesting comments on the new system in tomorrow’s paper. On whether he’ll coach against next season (aka Jersey): “I don’t know. We’ll know in the future — the near future.”
Sounds as if it’s up to Lou Lamoriello.
I talked with Canada Executive Director Steve Yzerman about Brent Burns, who looked like a 2010 shoo-in after Burns dominated the World Championships 13-14 months or so ago. He was named the best defenseman in the tourney. Remember, Burns had a trying season last year with a concussion and playing forward, but Yzerman said he’s very much still in the mix. During a five-hour meeting yesterday, Lemaire gave Burns a full endorsement. The invite list for Canada’s Olympics camp will be out in 10 days or so.
“He’s certainly on our list,” Yzerman said about Burns. ”I know it was a trying year for him. I got the good fortune to watch him at the worlds two years ago and he played very well. He’s definitely a guy that we’re watching. I’ve got to finalize this list and get invites outs in the next 10 days or so and I intend to do that and he’s certainly on that list. He’s a great player, he had a difficult year and I understand that. But it certainly hasn’t hurt him. I don’t think any less of him as a player because of it. I’m hopeful he gets off to a very good start – his size, his speed and his offensive ability, his competitiveness makes him a guy that’s very intriguing for us. It’s just he’s younger, a little less experienced. I was hoping he would have a really great year, but injuries come into it. We’ll deal with that. But I still think very highly of him.”
OK, have to get downstairs. Chatted with Jordan Schroeder and Nick Leddy, and his parents for a while this morning in the lobby. Great kids. Very excited. Leddy, whom the Wild adores, met with them again today.