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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Saturday Wild updates; Plan ahead for flood road closures

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild news, Wild practice Updated: March 20, 2010 - 12:59 PM

Good afternoon from chilly Minny.

Wild had an off-ice workout today.

Wade Dubielewicz was reassigned to AHL Houston, which means Niklas Backstrom (groin) is available to start or back up Sundaty against Calgary.

Even though it's a 2 p.m. game, coach Todd Richards said yesterday they'll have a very early-morning skate (optional obviously) and there it'll be determined whether Backstrom can play.

Shane Hnidy and Justin Falk are definitely out tomorrow. Brent Burns (hip, abdominal muscles), Derek Boogaard (nose) and Greg Zanon (broken ankle) are listed as "possible." It'll be determined pregame.

Robbie Earl and Jaime Sifers cleared waivers. They'll stay for now, but they could be reassigned at any time based on player availability.

1 p.m. addition: Real quick, last night on the blog I wrote that if Wellman scored on that one shot that hit R.J. Umberger's skate, it would have made it 3-0 and maybe game over. Looking at my notes again now, it would have made it 3-1. It was after Kristian Huselius' goal early in the second.

OK, that's it for now. Light news day. I'll get the lineup up on here before Sunday's game.

From the Wild:

Fans Advised to Plan Ahead as Flood Preparations Cause Saint Paul Road Closings

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Due to the prediction of an 18-foot flood level by early next week, the City of Saint Paul is closing Shepard and Warner Road between Eagle Street and Hwy. 61 beginning on Saturday morning. Jackson and Sibley Streets between Kellogg and Shepard will also be closed and Kellogg Boulevard, from Wall Street to Broadway Street, will be restricted to one lane of traffic in each direction due to flood protection work.

Beginning Saturday, fans planning to attend events at Xcel Energy Center and Saint Paul RiverCentre in downtown Saint Paul should allow extra time and use alternate routes. It is possible the road closures will affect fans planning to attend the following events:

Sat., March 20 2010 Red Baron WCHA Final Five 2 p.m. & 7 p.m.
Sun., March 21 Minnesota Wild vs. Calgary Flames 2 p.m.
Sun., March 21 Alice In Chains 7:30 p.m.
Mon., March 22 Black Eyed Peas 7:30 p.m.
Tue., March 23 Minnesota Wild vs. San Jose Sharks 7 p.m.
Wed., March 24 Celtic Woman 7:30 p.m.
Fri.-Sat., March 26-27 2010 NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey West Regional Varies
Sat.-Sun, March 27-28 Donnie Smith Bike Show Varies

The best points of entry for downtown will be from I-35E and from I-94. MnDOT will display messages on existing variable message signs, information regarding the closures on the northbound lanes of I-35E south of the river and, if needed on the westbound lanes along I-94 beginning Saturday morning.

Visit www.stpaul.gov/floodprep for current information on the flood preparation and information from the National Weather Service. For up-to-date information on road closures go to www.stpaul.gov/roadclosures.

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