Nick Johnson: From waiver wire to Wild top line

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  • November 12, 2011 - 3:30 PM

From the Chick Hearn Press Room inside the Staples Center, good day to you.

Guillaume Latendresse has an afternoon flight back to Minneapolis today as he returns home to get some rest and try to recover from a concussion. Obviously, there's no timetable on his return.

With Latendresse sidelined, the Wild will try to get through tonight's game at Los Angeles before making a decision if it needs to get another player up from Houston for tomorrow's 5 p.m. PT game against Anaheim.

Nick Johnson, claimed off waivers from Pittsburgh in September, will play on the left side of Mikko Koivu and Dany Heatley tonight. Johnson has been a solid pickup for the Wild. He played the third period in San Jose with the top line and coach Mike Yeo liked the way he fit. He's got offensive skill, he's big, he can skate and he liked to play with the puck and play a north-south game. He's great on the walls.

"It's a big opportunity," Johnson said. "It's another chance to take another step."

He was real good on the whole Jarome Iginla head-butt incident the other night, so I'll get that into tomorrow's paper.

That means Darroll Powe moves up to play with Cal Clutterbuck and Kyle Brodziak, while Warren Peters will center the fourth line with Colton Gillies and Brad Staubitz.

Other tidbits:

--Clayton Stoner's finger is still just disgusting to look at and it's still sore when he shoots the puck. So he continues to sit and wait for his return. He'll miss his seventh game since blocking that Ryan Getzlaf shot.

-- Greg Zanon isn't close to returning, GM Chuck Fletcher said. Mike Lundin skated today after taking a day off yesterday as he continues to try to return from a back injury.

-- Josh Harding in the cage. Considering the quick turnaround at Anaheim because it's a 5 p.m. compared to tonight's 7:30 p.m. game, I'd think Niklas Backstrom plays the Ducks. But Yeo wouldn't commit to that and said he wanted to get through tonight's game and see how the Wild plays and how much work Harding has.

-- Kings coach Terry Murray will coach his 1,000th game tonight. I've covered 12 coaches personally between Florida and Minnesota, and he's one of my favorites to deal with and just a terrific coach.

-- Heatley predicts a Badgers sweep tonight over the Gophers. "They don't come into our house ... "

Talk to you tonight.

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