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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Scandella stays, Falk goes

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild player moves, Wild practice Updated: November 18, 2010 - 11:17 AM

Proving yet again that few jobs are secure when you're a young kid, defenseman Justin Falk, 22, who's played quite well since a solid training camp, was reassigned to AHL Houston this morning.

With Brent Burns returning from a two-game suspension, GM Chuck Fletcher said there's no sense carrying eight defensemen even though a decision didn't necessarily have to be made now.

And with rookie Marco Scandella, 20, proving himself at least close to NHL ready during his first three NHL games, Falk was the odd man out even though Clayton Stoner's been scratched eight times and in two in a row.

Essentially, and this is me talking, not Fletcher now, Stoner requires waivers to get to the minors and would have to be paid his NHL salary (one-way contract) there. Falk doesn't require waivers and is on a two-way contract, meaning AHL salary ($55,000) there. So in my opinion, that's the obvious reason why Falk's gone and Stoner stays.

But Fletcher said that just because Scandella stays now doesn't necessarily mean Scandella and Falk don't flip soon. They both don't require waivers, so you can essentially shuttle 'em back and forth. Scandella's earned the right to play in Detroit, said Fletcher, and the Wild doesn't want a 22-year-old like Falk, who's got a future in Minnesota Fletcher says, to sit in the press box while Scandella plays.

That's it for now. Everybody else is practicing, and I've got a flight to Detroit this afternoon. May update the blog after practice, but as of now, this is it.

Wild's won five of its past seven, but it's usually ugly in Detroit.The Wild's lost seven of eight (outscored 34-15) and hasn’t won in regulation since Jan. 3, 2006 (and that was the game Dwayne Roloson had like 50 saves). The Wild is 4-13-1 all-time in Detroit, being outscored 71-40. The Red Wings have won four in a row (outscored opponents 19-8) and are 8-1-1 at home this season.

The Wild is 2 for 33 (6.1 percent) on the power play in the past nine meetings with Detroit and 5 for 61 (8.1 percent) all-time in Detroit.

It's amazing the Wild's won five of seven because their big guys have dried up. C Mikko Koivu has one goal in the past 14 games, C Matt Cullen has none in the past 12 and LW Andrew Brunette has one in the past 12.

The Wild’s given up a conference-low 2.18 goals per game, yet has been outshot in 16 of 17 games.  The Wild gives up a ton of shots because it's willing to box out and let Nik Backstrom make the save, but he's been brilliant. He's given up two or fewer goals in nine of his past 10 starts.
 
Lastly, remembered a few of things I forgot to tell you last night:

-- It's very obvious Cal Clutterbuck is playing hurt. He had no hits last night. Say no more.

-- Pierre-Marc Bouchard says there's been no change with his condition. He's practicing daily but still feels pressure in his head.

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