Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

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Josh Harding making season debut tonight as the Wild faces Jaromir Jagr and the Stars

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild pregame skate Updated: January 20, 2013 - 12:12 PM

As expected, Josh Harding will make his season debut tonight in the second of a back-to-back against the Dallas Stars.

It will be Harding's first start since revealing he has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

"I thought he had a great training camp," coach Mike Yeo said. "Hards, it's a great story I think, what he's battling through and the attitude that he's had through all this. We're real excited to give him this opportunity. We're all pulling for him and I'm hoping that we really play a great game in front of him."

Harding is 1-1 all time vs. Dallas with a 3.58 goals-against average and .880 save percentage.

Please go to www.startribune.com/wild for today's coverage. There's my game story, my Mikael Granlund notebook (and an update on the Houston Aeros' lease situation) that is a good read, my first NHL Sunday Insider of the 2013 season and Jim Souhan's column on Zach Parise.

As for tonight, the Stars media expects that Swedish rookie Christopher Nilstorp will make his NHL debut in goal. Like Harding, Nilstorp is a southpaw. He is 28 and played the last four years for Farjestads in the Swedish Elite League.

The Stars are coming off a 4-3 win at home last night. Jaromir Jagr, who turns 41 next month, looked like vintage Jagr. Two goals, two assists.

The only arena in the NHL that Jagr has never scored a goal in? Xcel Energy Center, and this is a guy who scored at the old Met Center.

Zenon Konopka, despite breaking his nose for like the 13th time, will play, and he said, probably without a visor.

"Better looking again," quipped Konopka, who like usual, was an awesome interview this morning. I'll lead my notebook for Monday's paper on him as of now, so check out those quotes.

"He's a hockey player," Yeo said of Konopka playing.

Matt Kassian and Matt Dumba will be scratched again.

The key tonight for the Wild is to improve in the defensive zone. There were some mad scrambles last night, and despite the result being a victory, Colorado easily could have scored three or four goals in the first period. The Avs missed three open nets, and in the third, were a goal post away from tying it.

Just turn on the NHL Network highlights last night, and sloppiness and what Yeo called "chaos" in defensive zone was the common thread for all teams thanks to a one-week training camp and no exhibition tuneups.

"It's to be expected a little bit right now," Yeo said. "...We weren't going to be about half as good as we will be a month or two from now."

As I mentioned on last night's blog, Ryan Suter and Jared Spurgeon weren't happy with their game and had a good talk afterward about what they have to do to be better. I thought there were mishaps defensively (Colorado's first goal is a chief example), but from the defensive blue line up, I thought they were good.

That's it for me. Talk to you after the game and follow me on Twitter throughout at russostrib.

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Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 4
Houston 1 Bottom 8th Inning
Cleveland 1
San Francisco 4 Top 8th Inning
Washington 2
St. Louis 4 Bottom 7th Inning
Philadelphia 5
Chicago WSox 3 Top 7th Inning
NY Yankees 3
Tampa Bay 7 Top 8th Inning
Toronto 0
Atlanta 1 Bottom 7th Inning
Cincinnati 0
Seattle 0 Bottom 6th Inning
Boston 3
Kansas City 4 Top 5th Inning
Texas 1
Pittsburgh 5 Bottom 4th Inning
Milwaukee 2
Detroit 1 Top 4th Inning
Minnesota 6
Miami 3 Top 3rd Inning
Colorado 0
San Diego - O. Despaigne 8:40 PM
Arizona - J. Collmenter
LA Angels - H. Santiago 9:05 PM
Oakland - S. Gray
NY Mets - J. Niese 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - D. Haren
Carolina 0 3rd Qtr 7:51
New England 20
NY Giants 7 3rd Qtr 13:37
NY Jets 10
Jacksonville 6 3rd Qtr 9:23
Detroit 7
Oakland 7 2nd Qtr 5:51
Green Bay 22
Chicago 9:00 PM
Seattle
Tampa Bay 8/23/14 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 8/23/14 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Houston 8/23/14 8:00 PM
Denver
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Arizona
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
UCF 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Penn State
Real Salt Lake 0 1st Half 44:55
FC Dallas 0
Montreal 0 7:19
Winnipeg 1
Toronto 8/23/14 3:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Chicago 75 4th Qtr 1:11
Atlanta 77
Los Angeles 9:00 PM
Phoenix

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