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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Miettinen had H1N1; Havlat practices, hopes to play Wednesday; New lines in a cut-short practice

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild practice Updated: November 30, 2009 - 1:56 PM

Wild forwards Martin Havlat and Antti Miettinen returned to practice this morning, a very short practice because coach Todd Richards only had three defensemen at his disposal and the team lacked energy.

Richards finally ended practice 40 minutes in because "we just looked tired."

It didn't help that Marek Zidlicky (lower body), Kim Johnsson (sick) and Shane Hnidy (personal) couldn't practice. The Wild hopes to get Zidlicky and Hnidy back Tuesday, but Richards said there's a very good chance Jaime Sifers will be recalled again for Wednesday's game.

Richards likes Sifers a lot. He competes and is mobile. If he comes back and continues to play well, it could affect John Scott's position on the depth chart. The problem is if you're going to throw a 6-8 defenseman who can fight on waivers, he'll likely be claimed.

Miettinen revealed this morning that he tested positive for H1N1 after pulling himself from warmups right before Wednesday's game against Boston. He said he experienced only a mild fever and fatigue, and none of the harsh symptoms he's been reading on the Internet. But he had to stay isolated in his own house because his wife is due with the couple's first child in three weeks.

He said he's been symptom-free for 48 hours and was told he could come back into the locker room as long as he's been symptom-free for 24.

Havlat looked good in practice today and said as long as everything goes well with his hamstring Tuesday, "I'd like to play Wednesday."

In today's practice, Miettinen got his old right-wing spot back on the top line with Mikko Koivu and Andrew Brunette. Chuck Kobasew moved to the second line with Owen Nolan and Eric Belanger. The third line remained the same with Gui Latendresse, Kyle Brodziak and Cal Clutterbuck. The fourth line was Derek Boogaard/James Sheppard-Andrew Ebbett and Havlat.

Richards indicated he was definitely considered those as lines and wants to see Havlat play with Ebbett.

Brent Burns is alive and well. He's been out with a concussion, but it looked like he may have worked out this morning (sweaty through his T-shirt), so that's good news. You can't work out typically unless you're symptom free.

Lots of funny things happened in the locker room today. Just great banter back and forth with the teammates. Most is unprintable, but teammates continue to be pushing for Derek Boogaard to score a goal.

Cal Clutterbuck said that when his streak eventually ends (Jan. 2006), "20 years from now, it's going to say on NHL Network, on this day 20 years ago, Derek Boogaard snapped the longest goal drought ...)

Also, Nick Schultz's mustache strangely turned black in one day. Turns out, he finally dyed it with Just For Men. He said he left it in for awhile because of how cool it was to literally watch his stache change colors.

At 3:10 p.m...ish on Twin Cities Live on Ch. 5, there's going to special segment in which the Wild help fulfill a child's wish through Make a Wish foundation. It's going to be cool, and it involves Schultz, Koivu and Backstrom.

Talk to you Tuesday.

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