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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Three Wild players hit with the flu; Team playing one short tonight

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild game coverage Updated: December 19, 2009 - 9:40 PM

Won't be blogging tonight, sorry to say. I played sick tonight, for lack of a better verb, and I'm done. So please refer to the Sunday coverage for everything. Hope you understand.  

As if things weren’t bad enough for the Wild with a bunch players breaking in brand new gear during tonight’s game against Ottawa, the Wild has to play one skater short when three players were struck with the flu that’s been circulating the team all month.

Eric Belanger, Guillaume Latendresse and Robbie Earl will all miss the game. Latendresse prepared like he was going to try to gut it out by kicking around the soccer ball, but he never made warm-ups.

Andrew Ebbett will return from missing five games with a concussion and defenseman John Scott will be forced to play forward.

But because the Wild’s roster is at the maximum 23 players – the Wild recalled goalie Anton Khudobin late Friday night in case Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding didn’t feel they could play in new equipment – the Wild will have to play with 17 skaters.

This flu bug, if it's the one I got yesterday that forced me to stay in Montreal until this morning, is a debilitating one for 24 hours. Stomach virus, unbelievable fatigue. I literally could not get out of bed, until the truck fire forced me into writing duty that is. Still feeling remnants of it now.

So does Wild new equipment, one less body and John Scott playing forward offset Mike Brodeur's NHL debut in goal?

By the way, lots of emails about what the Wild did with the charred equipment. Allegedly, it was hauled to a garbage, but what's the chances in a few weeks we'll be seeing some of that stuff on eBay?

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