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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Modano interested in Stars ownership "down the road?"; Lots of gametime decisions in Edmonton; Backstrom starts; Earl recalled

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild pregame skate Updated: April 5, 2010 - 5:00 PM

Update: Just talked with GM Chuck Fletcher, and he doesn't expect Nolan, Schultz or Zidlicky to play, meaning defenseman Nate Prosser should make his NHL debut and left wing Robbie Earl should play.

Also, defenseman Tyler Cuma sustained a pulled "glut" (buttocks), not a knee injury, as reported on the Canadian broadcast, and he hopes to play in Tuesday's Ottawa 67s playoff game.

Good afternoon from Edmonton, where the Wild visits the Oilers tonight in the final meeting of the season.

It should be an epic battle, well worthy of your attention over the NCAA championships, Twins opener or Tiger Woods presser. I think the Strib plans to clear space on A1 for it tomorrow.

Before I get to tonight's game, the Star Tribune's Rachel Blount talked to Mike Modano this morning for a story to appear in Saturday's paper. Saturday may be Modano's last NHL game, returning back to the state in which his NHL career began with the North Stars.

There was a report in the Dallas Observer (here's a TSN link) that says Brett Hull is trying to get Wayne Gretzky and Modano part of a group to purchase the Stars from Tom Hicks.

Rachel talked to Modano about this, and he said, "I've had talks with a lot of the people who have been interested in the Stars, in acquiring them from Tom Hicks. I've talked to a lot of those people, and they've asked my thoughts on things, on the situation here. I guess down the road, if things pan out, being involved with some sort of group that came in and took over trying to get the marketing and the city and the fans back to what we were seven, eight, nine years ago, that would be a nice goal or something to work towards.''

Word from the Rexall Place: It appears Niklas Backstrom will start the second of back-to-back, which says everything about the confidence in Wade Dubielewicz. Devan Dubnyk starts for Edmonton. He's 2-10 with a 3.79 goals against average and .880 save percentage. He's won two of his past four starts. This will be his first career appearance vs. Minnesota.

Marek Zidlicky, Owen Nolan and Nick Schultz are gametime decisions tonight. Zidlicky's been playing hurt. He usually plays when he's a gametime, but tonight may be different. If Nolan can't play, Robbie Earl's been recalled to play. Schultz looks like he's hurt his hip or hamstring. If he doesn't play, Andrew Brunette and Kyle Brodziak will be the only Wild players to have played all 80 games so far.

If one of the defensemen don't play, John Scott will likely play. If both don't play, rookie Nate Prosser will make his NHL debut.

If Prosser plays, he would be the 39th player to play in a game for the Wild this season. That would be a new team record, surpassing 38 in 2000-01.

OK, talk to you tonight.


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