Rachel checking in from the X, where the walking wounded came in for an off-ice workout. Several of the guys--including Koivu, Miettinen, Burns and Brunette--were booting around a soccer ball on the fake grass spread out for the Swarm lacrosse game. Koivu is amazingly competitive even doing something as simple as that.
The long list of injuries didn't get much shorter today. Niklas Backstrom is expected to play, despite taking a shot off his throat in Thursday's win at Calgary. Coach Todd Richards said Backstrom has a bruise on his neck and was undergoing a CAT scan Friday, but he added that Backstrom feels fine and will probably play Saturday against the Stars. Nick Schultz (leg injury) will be back, too. Out are Owen Nolan (knee), Marek Zidlicky (arm), Martin Havlat (hamstring), Guillaume Latendresse (upper body) and James Sheppard (knee). Richards also said the team plans to reassign Maxim Noreau to Houston today and bring up winger Petr Kalus.
Expect to see lots of the young'uns tonight. The coach noted this will be the first game in Minnesota for Elk River native Nate Prosser, who got quality minutes at Calgary.
The Wild plan a "major announcement'' Saturday before the game, which will confirm what Russo has already told you: the NHL will award the 2011 entry draft to the Wild.