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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Wild's Setoguchi fined for cross check; Koivu misses practice

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild news, Wild player moves, Wild practice Updated: February 19, 2013 - 1:21 PM

UPDATED

Wild winger Devin Setoguchi was fined slightly more than $8,108.11 by the NHL for high-sticking Detroit's Kyle Quincey in Sunday's game at the Xcel Energy Center. That's half one day's salary.

Fines now can be $10,000 or half one day's salary, whichever is lower.

Here's the hit and this morning's story.

Mikko Koivu didn't practice today. He is sick and was very sick in the win over Detroit, I heard afterward. Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Niklas Backstrom and Justin Falk, all sick last game, did practice.

Congrats to two Wild players: Bouchard is a dad for the first time. His daughter, Amelia, was born last night at 5 p.m. and is 6 pounds, 15 ounces. Ryan Suter is off to the hospital because his wife is being induced today, I'm told.

The Wild will practice Wednesday in Edmonton and after that we should know the lineup. Coach Mike Yeo said the Wild will assess the team health with the flu circulating and then decide.

There is a whole lot of coughing and hacking going on in that locker room. A lot of guys.

If everybody's available to play, it'll be interesting to see if Yeo comes back with the same lineup that beat Detroit, 3-2, or changes things up by getting Bouchard, Falk and/or Zenon Konopka back in.

Many coaches wouldn't want to change it up after a win. However, Bouchard does munch on the Oilers pretty often. His 12 goals and 41 points in 44 games against the Oilers is by far his best output against any opponent. His 18 points in 22 games at Rexall is his best output in any road rink.

If a lineup change results in Johan Larsson being scratched, GM Chuck Fletcher indicated he may send him back to Houston rather than put him in the press box. He said you could always bring him back for Saturday's game in Calgary if he's needed. I wouldn't think Jason Zucker has any shot of not playing.

The other intriguing thing: The Houston Aeros dominated Oklahoma City with a 6-1 record during the lockout, so guys like Jason Zucker, Larsson, Mikael Granlund should feel more than comfortable playing against the Halls, Eberles, Nugent-Hopkins, Schultz's, etc. So do you really want to pull Larsson? If Yeo wants to play Bouchard, he may have no choice.

Darcy Kuemper, Nugent-Hopkins junior teammate by the way, said the Aeros pretty much threw the Justin Fontaine-David McIntyre-Nick Palmieri (before he was traded) trio out against the Oilers' OKC stars during the lockout. Their stars like Hall, Eberle and Schultz did get a pile of points despite the Aeros' success.

The Oilers are a very, very skilled team from top to bottom, so Yeo said he'll need a concerted team effort shutting that team down. But you know the Koivu and Kyle Brodziak lines will get plenty of work, as well Suter and Brodin and Tom Gilbert and Clayton Stoner.

I'd think Backstrom gets back in if healthy, although starting Kuemper is intriguing (although Matt Hackett started five of the Aeros' wins vs. OKC this year). Backstrom has righted the Recall ship, going 3-1-0 with a 2.17 goals against average and .930 save percentage there the last four. He hasn't been pulled since 1/30/09 (which was 4th straight game he was pulled there). Since those 4 starts, he is 4-2-1 with 2.21 GAA and .926 SP there.

Yeo mentioned after the win the other night that the Wild got "ticked off" after it fell down 2-zip and finally got engaged physically, etc. He said the Wild needs that every night from the outset. It's a team that has chased almost every game this year.

In the middle of today's practice, Yeo stopped a drill and lit into the team for its lack of purpose on the forecheck. Having a few days between games for the first time really this year also allowed Yeo to do five or 10 minutes of Herbies for the first time since the beginning of the year.

That's it from me. Hopefully you read today's story on Brodin. I should have a couple good ones in the next two day's newspapers, too.

By the way, few things are funnier than listening to Konopka talk to Larsson and Brodin about Swedish meatballs and Ikea.

Talk to you after practice Wednesday afternoon from Edmonton.

 

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