Thursday update: No practice today for the Wild. Russo Radio tonight at 6ish on 1500 ESPN
Greetings. Youngblood here with Russo getting a much-deserved day off.
The Wild was is an interesting position Wednesday. The team doesn't play again until Saturday, and even then, there isn't much to play for. Playoffs are all but off the list.
So what do you do?
Wednesday coach Todd Richards tried to keep things upbeat. Instead of holding an instructional practice, or one heavy with particular drills, Richards had the team play a half-rink scrimmage, with teammates cheering on each other with every goal or every big play.
"I don't know what we were going to get out of today," Richards said. "The disappointment (of the team's current stretch in general and of Tuesday's loss in particular). And we have three days. We figured it was a good day to get something out of it, maybe try to get that dark cloud of the players, get that out somewhat. We wanted to have a decent day, with a little bit of work, and I thought we got that."
Playing out the string of a season, with no realistic goal of making the playoffs has to be difficult. That's what I'm writing for tomorrow. I talked to Richards and some of the players about how they stay motivated in this situation. So look for that, either on the web site or in the paper.
Meanwhile, Richards said defenseman Marek Zidlicky (hamstring) did some skating on his own before practice, but is not close to returning. Defenseman Cam Barker (back) did not practice, nor did winger Guillaume Latendresse. I talked to Latendresse after the practice and he said he has not ruled out the possibility of returning for a couple games before the season ends. I would be surprised if he did, though.
That's about it for now. Mr. Russo will be back with the team, but the Wild will take Thursday off.