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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(updated again w/Phoenix info) Irmen to make NHL debut tonight; Jovo, Michalek out

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild news, Wild pregame skate Updated: November 18, 2009 - 12:38 PM

(updated, corrected) Sellout streak's on the line tonight.

I'm correcting this from the way previously written, but Wild employees are being given free tickets to tonight's game and some Wild employees are being given free tickets to give away. 

Remember, in the NHL, a "sellout" constitutes tickets distributed, not tickets sold, so as I've mentioned before, if you distrubute them in the Mississippi River, the game's technically sold out.

Woodbury resident Danny Irmen will make his NHL debut tonight on the right side of Derek Boogaard and James Sheppard. Unless somebody pulls up lame before tonight's game against Phoenix, John Scott will be a healthy scratch.

In Raleigh the other day, because coach Todd Richards had to use both Derek Boogaard and Scott in the same lineup as forwards, Richards never felt he could roll four lines, especially after the game turned into a special teams affair.

Scott scored a goal but only played six shifts. Richards wants to keep using Boogaard, but not both Boogaard and Scott in the same lineup unless Scott's on the blue line. So Richards called up Houston coach Kevin Constantine, asked who deserved a callup the most and Irmen got the call.

That alone by the way is a huge change from previous years. It was well known that after training camp, former coach Jacques Lemaire and Constantine had no communications. The callups were decided by management in communication with Constantine. But I've always been told there was no coach to coach contact.

Irmen was obviously very excited. His mother is driving down from Fargo. His two sisters will be here, too, and I'm sure some old U buddies. His father unfortunately is in California working, and his wife is in Houston, so they'll be watching on TV.

Niklas Backstrom in the cage. Today is Cal Clutterbuck's 22nd birthday. He had a gift waiting for him at the stall, and he jokingly was careful to open it. "Boom," he said.

It were cookies, which he put in the players' lounge. If the team has food poisioning tonight, we'll know the cookies were a gift from the Coyotes.

Okay, quick blog I know. But I want to get down to talk with Phoenix coach Dave Tippett. Talk to you tonight.

(Updated): Ed Jovanovski and former Wild Zbynek Michalek are out tonight. Taylor Pyatt is a scratch. Ilya Bryzgalov is in the cage. At Xcel (regular season): He's 0-5 with a 4.02 GAA and .874 SP. Overall vs. Wild (regular season), he's 1-7 with a 3.42 GAA and .891 SP.

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