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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Many game-time decisions for the Wild tonight; Team Greenlay/Gorg vs. Team Barker in Minnesota Plunge

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild pregame skate Updated: February 5, 2011 - 12:41 PM

Huge game tonight!

$1 beer, hot dog and soda night at tonight's Coyotes game. Oh, also, the Wild and Coyotes are currently tied for 7th and 8th, respectively, in the conference with 59 points. As always-entertaining interview Paul Bissonnette said this morning, "do or die time."

Bissonnette honestly is gold as an interview, as you can see on the column I wrote on him in December. He gave me enough material today for a month. He just is willing to say anything. Read tomorrow's notebook, and a Versus.com piece I'll be doing on him.

As for the Wild, banged-up Matt Cullen, John Madden and Cam Barker all skated this morning. Cullen and Barker said they can play, Madden, who was limping noticeably, said he wasn't sure yet. So, game-time decision for Cody Almond and Justin Falk, and if Falk plays, that would basically be a coach's decision. Ed Jovanovski is out for Phoenix.

Both Almond and Falk played in Houston's latest win last night, got to bed around 1 and had 3:15 a.m. wakeup calls to get here. Both said they were ready to play if needed, and as coach Todd Richards said, "You were that age one time, weren't you? When you're young and get a chance to play in the NHL, I think you can play under any circumstance."

The Aeros are in a four-way tie for first in the AHL's Western Conference. Things are so tight, the Aeros actually dropped in the standings with last night's win, moving from 3rd to 4th because they have games in hand.

Remember, the Aeros play at Xcel Energy Center against Peoria on Feb. 13 at 1 p.m. Tickets can be found on Ticketmaster and the Xcel box office. All the Wild players will be at the game signing autographs for $10 (raise money for Wild Foundation) and all the Aeros players will be signing for free after the game.

On March 5, Team Mike Greenlay and Team Kevin Gorg will be battling Team Cam Barker in the Minnesota Plunge to raise money for Special Olympics. They'll be jumping in icy Lake Calhoun. All three guys have done this before and it's close to their heart.

Here's a promo:

If you want to donate to Team Greenlay/Gorg, click here

For Team Barker, click here

For tonight's lineup updates later on, follow me on www.twitter.com/russostrib

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