"Russo Radio" tonight at 6 p.m. on 1500 ESPN, so give us a ring.
Good morning from the X, where I will update this blog with more detail later.
Friday's lineup at St. Louis (22 players, 2 won't play) is: Josh Harding (likely 2 periods), Matt Hackett (1 period), Cody Almond, Kyle Brodziak, Brett Bulmer (huge reward for the unsigned draft pick), Matt Cullen, Jon DiSalvatore, Colton Gillies, Petr Kalus, Matt Kassian, Guillaume Latendresse, Carson McMillan, Antti Miettinen, Eric Nystrom, Warren Peters, Casey Wellman, Cam Barker, Tyler Cuma, Maxim Noreau, Nate Prosser, Clayton Stoner, Greg Zanon, Marek Zidlicky.
Coach Todd Richards said Latendresse is penciled in, so he may play or be replaced by one of the young guys. It sounded like Noreau might be the defenseman scratched just because Richards said we'd probably see Noreau and Drew Bagnall at later dates (unless Richards mispoke).
The Wild trimmed its roster from 51 to 43 today by dispatching eight players.The Wild reassigned Brandon Buck, Jarod Palmer, Joel Broda, Jean-Michel Daoust and Josh Tordjman to AHL Houston, returned Darcy Kuemper to WHL Red Deer and defensemen Josh Caron and Colton Jobke to WHL Kelowna.
The roster's really at 42 because it includes injured James Sheppard.
This came after the Wild officially signed Jobke, Caron and Jared Spurgeon to entry-level deals as the Wild continues to restock the cupboards in unique ways. Since March, the Wild has signed college or junior free agents Casey Wellman, Nate Prosser, Jarod Palmer, Joel Broda and now Jobke, Caron and Spurgeon.
Couple Todd Richards comments from today:
On quick demotion of Palmer, who's from Fridley: "Right winger, looks like he has some offensive ability. There’s still things about his game, just like all those young kids, that he has to get better at. He’s intriguing, it looks like he moves around on the ice pretty well, but the offensive instincts are there. Like a lot of these young guys coming up, it’s more when they don’t have the puck, how are they playing and their defensive responsibilities."
On Nik Backstrom's game last night (five goals on 18 shots): "We just watched the chances – we went through the whole game – we had the puck on our stick a number of times. I think the first three goals we had the puck on our stick. One was a penalty kill, we didn’t get it all the way down the ice. One, the puck bounces over Mikko’s stick. And the other was a turnover (by Barker). It hit the official, but we had the puck and we needed to make a better play leading up to that. At the end, everyone always looks at the goalie and says we need a save, but we made a lot of mistakes leading up to those points. Looking at the goals, I don’t know if there’s one you can point the finger at Nik and say he’s necessarily got to be better on. But you always count on your goaltender to make some key saves at some key times, and Nik is that goalie, and he will do that when we get into the season."
"Looking at the game systematically, I went through our systems, it wasn’t systems. We had individual breakdowns that led to goals. We gave up 13 scoring chances. They scored on five of them. We generated 14 scoring chances and scored one goal. That’s how we had it. … If we’re better with the puck, we manage it a little bit better, I don’t know if it’s a different result, but the score’s not 5-1."
"Everybody’s a professional and prepare and they work. No questions about that. But sometimes those games are hard to play. It’s your first game, you’re down 4- or 5-1. I liked the way we played in the third. There were a couple plays here or there that ended up fishing the puck out of our net."
On giving up a flurry of goals again like last year: "Exactly. We’ll address it more. Giving up three goals in a period, we did that too many times last year. We have to recognize that when a goal gets scored, that next shift is so important. We gave up their first goal, and I think it was about 1:15 later, they score their second goal. And again, that’s where as a team you’ve got to be really good. Now you’re battling uphill. It was a 1-0 game, we give up one. OK, that’s fine. It’s a 1-1 game, let’s be ready to go. Now, a minute and a half later, it’s 2-1. Now we’re looking up. Now we’re chasing. Like last year."
Richards is really intrigued to see some of these guys vying for spots tomorrow, like Wellman, Peters, Prosser, Cuma, etc. He said many of these guys will get two of the next three games.