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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Stogies on Burnzie; Lineup updates; Boogaard from Wellman-and-Almond goal

Posted by: Michael Russo under Rookies, Wild pregame skate Updated: March 31, 2010 - 1:14 PM

Brent Burns is a father. Digest that for a second.

Brent Burns, a manchild himself and self-described "goofball," is a papa.

His wife, Susan, gave birth to the couple's first child this morning at 6:42 a.m., a 7-pound, 11-ounce girl named Peyton Gabriann (not named after Marian Gaborik, although since Jacques Lemaire pronounces Marian "Mary-anne," it could be).

Funny thing: It was spelled "Peynton" on the Wild's locker room marker board. I kept the name off Twitter for awhile because I wanted to confirm that was in fact the spelling. Just thought it was weird. Hey, maybe the 'n' was silent or something.

So I confirmed it with John Scott and Nick Schultz and equipment manager Tony DaCosta, and yes, that's how Burnzie spelled it.

So I put it out there on the Twitter-sphere even though Andrew Brunette warned me, "It's 50-50 Burnzie spelled it wrong."

Not two minutes after I put it out on Twitter did I get a text with a ":)" from Burns saying he spelled it wrong and it's indeed, "Peyton."

Ha! Let's hope he spelled it right on the birth certificate, or Burns could be spending the rest of the week googling the procedures on how to legally change his daughter's name.

So Brent Burns is a dad. The jokes were flying in the locker room: Did she come out with a tattoo (that was mine)? Did she come out in full military garb (that was Cal Clutterbuck's)? Did she ask for her first snake yet?

Clutterbuck said with the amount of animals in the Burnzie Zoo, there better be a "safe room."

Coach Todd Richards said he expects Burns to play tonight. By the way, Mark Parrish played the night his first child was born -- also against Chicago, if I remember correctly. And that was the beginning of the end of his Wild career. But no sense rehashing that, but I know Parrish would concur.

Shane Hnidy, out 11 games with a hamstring injury, will return. Marek Zidlicky took the morning off and is a gametime decision, but aren't we all. If Zidlicky plays, Justin Falk will sit. And Zidlicky normally plays when he's a gametime decision.

Nik Backstrom in the cage. Sounds like Anton Khudobin will start next week in Edmonton.

Andrew Ebbett underwent finger surgery on his mangled digit this morning. Cody Almond will play his second NHL game. My guess is it will be at wing and Casey Wellman will play center.

Richards didn't say who'd be between Owen Nolan and Clutterbuck, but it sounds like it will be James Sheppard because Richards said he'd be comfortable playing Derek Boogaard with rookies Wellman and Almond. That seems to me to be a little defensive liability, but Richards said he was comfortable with it.

In case you don't know, Boogaard's a bit snakebit offensively lately. Hey, people slump sometimes.

As I told the two rooks, if tonight there was a Boogaard from Wellman and Almond goal, not only would that be the battery of the ages, but Wellman and Almond would be heroes in Minnesota for an eternity.

Happy birthday to Pavel Bure. A young 39. He still looks like he can sign and play on somebody's power play. Could you imagine if Pavel Bure played in the era of the shootout? Oh My Lord, as Jacques Lemaire loves to say.

Good day and good luck.

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