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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Sykora assigned to Houston Aeros, soon to be free agent

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild news Updated: January 27, 2010 - 9:51 AM

The Wild is close to cutting all ties with Petr Sykora.

Sykora, 33, who’s been away from the team since being placed on waivers Jan. 19, was officially assigned to the Houston Aeros today.

However, Sykora has officially declined to report. The two sides have mutually agreed to terminate his contract, and once approved by the NHL in the next day or two, Sykora will immediately become an unrestricted free agent .
 
In essence, Sykora will be free to sign with any team before the March 3 trade deadline and the Wild will be free of the remaining $600,000 or so of Sykora’s contract and salary-cap hit.
 
Sykora, who’s scored 302 goals and 677 points in 935 regular-season games, scored two goals and an assist in 14 games with the Wild. But he did that in a fourth-line capacity and showed last year that he's still got bullets in the chamber -- 25 goals in 60 games.
 
Last week, it's believed the Wild was close to a trade that fell through.

Sykora is waiting on the sidelines. Even if it takes him a few weeks to sign with a team, he'll have the Olympic break to skate -- and the final week of the Olympic break to practice with a team -- in anticipation of playing once the NHL schedule resumes in March.

Brian Stensaas has you covered today as I head to Denver this afternoon. He can be followed at twitter.com/stensation. Russo Radio tonight at 6 on KSTP.

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