Greetings. With Mike Russo returning from Edmonton, I was at a rare afternoon practice today.
Out of it, there was some news:
--Cal Clutterbuck and Darroll Powe, both with charley horses, are doubtful for Friday's game with the New Jersey Devils at Xcel Energy Center. Wild coach Mike Yeo tried to see the bright side, meaning he was happy that the injuries weren't more serious. But don't expect to see them tomorrow. "They're in with the trainers now," Yeo said. "Clutter and Powsie, we'll see how the feel (Friday). But I'm not really optimistic they'll be in the lineup. But you never know about those things. Sometimes you come to the rink the next day and you feel pretty good.''
Without those two, the Wild was running these lines at practice: Mikko Koivu with Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi; center Matt Cullen with Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Casey Wellman; center Kyle Brodziak with Nick Johnson and David McIntyre and newly called-up center Cody Almond with Colton Gillies and Brad Staubitz.
Yeo sounded like both Clutterbuck and Powe might miss more than one game. But much more will be known after both have had a couple days of treatment.
--After watching a slow start to practice, Yeo called the players to center ice and reminded them of the need for more energy. And that is a translation that, if not quite literal, is certainly more suitable to a family blog. "I was hoping I wouldn't need to," Yeo said of his speech. "But after we went a couple times it was apparent that we probably should."
--Yeo still isn't saying exactly what is bothering defenseman Justin Falk, but said he was day-to-day but likely won't play tomorrow. Gui Latendresse and Marek Zidlicky are still a long ways from even returning to practice.
--Yeo talked a little bit about how he decides who will take a turn in a shootout should it get past the early rounds. He said he picked Brodziak Wednesday because he thought Brodziak wouldn't psych himself out. He chose Heatley for the crucial turn, even though Heatley doesn't have the greatest shoot stats, because he thought Heatley was uniquely suited to such a critical situation.
--Yeo said Gillies responded well from his one game off as a healthy scratch, but that Gillies still wasn't quite back to where he was earlier in the season.
That's about it for now. Mike will be at tomorrow's morning skate.