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.

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Former Wild ready to return; Sykora back in; Harding day-to-day

Posted by: under Wild pregame skate Updated: October 30, 2009 - 1:32 PM

No, no. Not Marian Gaborik.

Aaron Voros

I've been waiting for a week to do that to you.

Aaron Voros is back in Minny in the arena he calls the greatest in the league. He'll play tonight, but Gaborik will not. He tested his knee this morning, but Gaborik says he still needs to do a lot of treatment and doesn't know when he'll skate next. Gaborik was funny last night. He talked to a few of us behind a podium at the St. Paul Hotel and said, "I feel like the President." He then gave us a New York weather report.

Like usual, Gaborik was very cordial and nice in his reunion with us local hacks.

By the way, it is definitely his knee. He either had a recent MRI, or he's been writing little notes to himself on the back of his knee.

Chris Higgins and Sean Avery are also out tonight with injuries, so there won't be Round 2 of last year's popular Clutterbuck/Avery battle in which both voluntarily removed their helmets on the Garden ice. They're such upstanding people.

Clutterbuck was great this morning talking about Voros, whom he said was a little too confident in Houston and borderline cocky. Clutterbuck said also that guaranteed, the fans would have booed Gaborik tonight. We'll see when he's announced as a scratch. You can read about all this stuff by buying tomorrow's Star Tribune.

In the release the hound category, Petr Sykora will be back in tonight. Todd Richards wouldn't say who would come out, but it looked like Derek Boogaard. I asked Richards if he talked to Sykora since he said he did yesterday and Sykora said he didn't, and Richards said he hasn't personally talked to Sykora and that the videowork the team did the other day should speak volumes to Sykora as to what he's doing wrong.

Anton Khudobin will back up tonight, and one would think Niklas Backstrom will get back-to-back starts (although tomorrow won't be easy after late arrival into Pittsburgh). Could Khudobin possibly get tomorrow's start? A whole lot of things would have to go wrong for that to happen, in my opinion. Josh Harding is day-to-day and won't be out long, Chuck Fletcher said. He said Harding could back up, but why risk dressing him considering the team's next game after tomorrow isn't until Thursday?

Fletcher wouldn't talk about the excitement about getting his Stanley Cup ring tomorrow. "Maybe if we were 9-3 and not 3-9, but I don't think it's right to talk about me individually right now."

I've been very opinionated the last few years, and especially the last 10 months, about the long-term state of the franchise.

I did have a long talk with assistant GM Tommy Thompson about this topic, especially in regards to drafting and prospects. So I point you toward my Sunday column for that interesting topic.

Admit, that last smiley is pretty funny, and appropriate.

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