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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Wild's goalie for tonight a gametime decision

Posted by: under Wild pregame skate Updated: January 27, 2010 - 12:38 PM

By Brian Stensaas

Good early afternoon to you all. I could listen to my daughter giggle for hours on end. But right up there in my list of favorite sounds in the world is that of a stick blade meeting a puck. Such is what I've got right now at the X, where the last of the Red Wings who skated this morning are having a sort of mini skills competition. Five of them are shooting from the neutral zone faceoff dots toward an empty net. Brett Lebda, Jason Williams and Ville Leino are among the participants. One of them just missed, and used a naughty word. I'll leave that one out of this blog.

Another thing that I'll leave out of here is tonight's starting goaltender, and for good reason: no one knows. Both Josh Harding (hip) and Niklas Backstrom (back) are battling some minor injuries right now, and both skated this morning. But when asked who would be in, coach Todd Richards said it would be a game time decision. And I believe that might actually be the case.

For what it's worth, Harding was quick off the ice today and gone out of the locker room by the time reporters made their way in. But at the morning skate, Harding was taking pucks from the offense while Backstrom was stopping shots from the defense. That can be a tell-tale sign. Someone joked maybe they'll take the ice together here in a few hours for the pregame skate and really mess us up. I wouldn't doubt it.

As for Detroit, coach Mike Babcock said Chris Osgood will get the nod tonight after Jimmy Howard played last night in that horrid overtime loss to Phoenix (the Wings had a two-goal lead with about 90 seconds to go ...). The only other change for them is Derek Meech is in for Lebda on the blue line. That means both Todd Bertuzzi and Brad May could be on the ice for the Wings tonight. Both have quite the history playing against the Wild. Will we break a "boos" record? I'll bet the over.

Finally, Russo will land in Denver today in plenty of time to do his Russo Radio show. It will air at 6pm on 1500-AM.

I'll maybe throw a fresh blog post up when I know for sure who is starting. Then I'll check back in after the game. It's lunch time for me, Then I suppose I'll do some writing.

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