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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Burns returning, Harding starting tonight

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild pregame skate Updated: January 21, 2010 - 12:46 PM

Happy go-lucky Brent Burns, after only two practices and a morning skate, will make his return tonight against the Detroit Red Wings. He's missed the past 29 games with a concussion, although he alluded today that it was partially something else.

"I was confident it wasn’t bad. Some other stuff was delaying the process of getting better. Once we figured that out, I got better quick, like in four days, five days. It was a long process. Things we found out, it was good news for me.

Asked if he thinks it wasn't a concussion then, Burns said, "I don’t know. It’s too hard to tell with brain stuff. It was the same for awhile, and then something happened, we went and saw somebody, got some stuff to take care of it. How about that for a riddler?"
 
He also alluded to the fact that he's been doing some stuff in his life to help him "get rid of my rollercoaster emotional state when I play."
 
Sounds like Burns has had a moment of Zen during his time off.
 
He joked how tonight he'll try to get his A.D.D. to slow down and said he's in such good shape, "I can wash your shirt on my abs right now."
 
He said he'll try to keep it simple tonight and let the game come to him.
 
Josh Harding will start at home for the first time in more than a year because coach Todd Richards says he's played extremely well the past three appearances -- one start, two relief appearances for Niklas Backstrom. Richards said Backstrom's game is not where it needs to be, but the plan is to give him the start off and come back with him Saturday against Columbus. I got Backstrom alone his extra ice time with goalie coach Bob Mason, and he concurred with Richards and admitted that for the first time since he's been here, he's unsure of himself and that his play lately has been weighing on him. He said the golden chances he's faced lately has hurt all facets of his game.
 
I'll write about that for tomorrow.
 
Derek Boogaard and John Scott are scratched tonight. Robbie Earl and James Sheppard are in on a line with Andrew Ebbett.
 
Skills competition this Sunday from 1-2:30 p.m. with autograph session at the X. Tickets can be bought on wild.com, Ticketmaster and arena Box Office for $10. Tickets can be bought at the door for $15. Proceeds benefit the team's Foundation.
 
Also, the Wild send out a mass discount ticket offer for this weekend only. Fans can save up to 15 percent for any February or March non-premium home game. Here's the link

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