Greetings from Xcel Energy Center.
Kent Youngblood here. I'll be sitting in for the out-of-town Russo at tonight's game.
There were a couple items to note out of today's morning skate:
1. Nate Prosser, called up to replace the ailing Greg Zanon, will play tonight. The Elk River native seemed very excited about the opportunity to play, seemed thrilled that he'll be playing for the coach -- Mike Yeo -- he played well for last year in Houston. Whether he's thrilled about helping buy the 20 to 30 tickets for family and friends? I don't know about that.
Anyway, Clayton Stoner (finger) was back on the ice today for skate. Nobody is saying the extent of the injury -- Stoner saw the doctor Friday -- but it was encouraging to see him back on the ice. He said he wanted to play, but didn't feel he was ready. "I have to be able to play at a high level," he said. "I didn't feel like it was strong enough."
Coach Yeo said he hoped Stoner would be day-to-day.
Prosser was clearly thrilled to be here. "It feels good, it feels really good," he said. "I'm just excited to get out here and do what I can to help the team win a game."
Yeo, meanwhile, knows what to expect of Prosser, having coached him last season. "I expect him to come out and move the puck well, help us execute and get into our game," Yeo said. "Positionally he'll be very sound. He's going to have to be real strong against the rush and one-on-one dealing with (Detroit's) speed and puck skills. He's a confident guy. He's a guy who knows our system well, knows how to play the game. I'm anxious to see him play."
2. The second newsy item is Yeo's decision to sit rookie winger Brett Bulmer tonight. Bulmer has played in nine games. Playing in a 10th would mean the first year of his three-year deal would count this season. So the obvious question was whether the decision to scratch Bulmer related to the 10-game situation?
Yeo said it did not. "No, no, no," he said. "It's just we wanted to put the best lineup on the ice that we think we have a chance to win this game with."
Yeo talked in glowing terms of Bulmer's play after Friday's practice. He talked about Bulmer's attitude, the way he's getting under the skin of his opponents and how he goes out every shift trying to do something positive rather than just survive the shift. He said Friday he hadn't decided on his lineup, but even then stressed that, should Bulmer sit, nothing should be read into it.
Yeo said it had more do with his desire to get Brad Staubitz back into the lineup. "Staubie is a part of our team," Yeo said. "A big part of our team. He was a healthy scratch the last game, so let's give him a chance to respond and see how he comes to the rink today. He's a real popular guy in the room. ... If you know our team, the impact he has on the rest of the group, that makes it a little easier to understand the decision."
Meanwhile, Zanon (groin) was put on IR to make room for Prosser, who will be matched up with Justin Falk, his d-partner from Houston last year.