Greetings. Kent Youngblood here, with Michael Russo taking a day of much-needed rest.
So the wild are about to end their five-game homestand with a seriously injur-riddled team. Here's the quick medical-watch list:
--W Chuck Kobasew (groin) did not practice. Coach Todd Richards said he has received an injection, but he remains questionable for Friday's game.
--W Guillaume Latendresse (groin) appears to be more severely injured than previously thought. He has been listed as day-to-day but Richards said today that it was more accurate to call him week-to-week. This might just be semantics, but I think Gui might be out for a while.
--It does not appear D Marek Zidlicky (lower body) or Antti Miettinen (concussion) will play tomorrow.
So what did that mean Thursday? Some interesting lines practicing, including Cal Clutterbuck on the top line with Mikko Koivu and Andrew Brunette; Kyle Brodziak centering a line with Matt Cullen and Martin Havlat on the wings; John Madden centering Eric Nystrom and Casey Wellman and Pierre-Marc Bouchard skating with Brad Staubutz and Matt Kassian.
By the way, Richards said Bouchard had not yet connected over the phone with the doctor in a position to clear him to return to the ice.
--Richards re-emphasized the need to work harder on the offensive end. He said he is exhorting his team play more simply -- get the puck in, get it on net and then crash that net, he said. "We need to figure out ways to score more five on five," Richards said. "It's something we worked on today."
--Nystrom is pumped to play Calgary, his former team. Look for he and Jarome Iginla to get a lot of up-close-and-personal time together tomorrow.
--Kassian, the team's second-round pick in 2005, is finally going to make his NHL debut tomorrow. Kassian talked at some length about the dues he's paid and the excitement with which he'll play tomorrow. I'll write about it in my notebook. But know this: Kassian is a prime example of hard work finally paying off.
That's about it. Have a good day.