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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No Backstrom or Harding at today's Wild practice

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild practice Updated: November 14, 2013 - 11:12 AM

The Wild is having a very optional practice this morning. Fourteen skaters are on the ice with two practice goalies.

Niklas Backstrom, who took the head shot last night from Toronto's Nazem Kadri, isn't practicing, nor is Josh Harding, who was called into duty last night despite being sick the night before. Harding is probably just exercising his option.

Not practicing today are Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, Mikko Koivu, Mikael Granlund and Jason Pominville. The Granlund one is a concern. Took the head shot from Kadri, has a history of concussions and he's the lone young guy not on the ice.

As of now, no goalie callup for Backstrom. Kadri has a noon CT phone hearing for the Backstrom hit. My guess: Dinged for two games.

The practice goalies today work with strength coach Kirk Olson at Total Hockey as part of the goalie training program, Pro Hybrid Group. They are A.J. Bucchino, 29, who has some pro hockey experience, and Tino Vasquez, who apparently may go back to school next year to play Division III hockey.

More later

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