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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Zidlicky calls himself "day-to-day," return uncertain; Which D comes out for Z?; Gui update

Posted by: Michael Russo under On the road, Wild practice Updated: February 8, 2011 - 2:35 PM

Real quick blog update to the previous one.

By the way, "Russo Radio" tonight at 6:15 p.m. on 1500ESPN. Rare inside-the-studio appearance because we've been on the road so much lately. Also, I'll be on 1500 at 12:35 p.m. Wednesday and I'll be sitting in with Jim Souhan from noon-2 p.m. Friday.

Kent's actually covering the game in St. Louis on Friday, so I'll be in town and may even check out Jason Zucker and DU play at the U that night at 7.

Wednesday night at the X, Andrew Brunette will be honored before the game against, coincidentally, his previous team, Colorado. His parents, wife, brother and sister-in-law and a number of his local friends will be on hand. He'll get his silver stick from the NHL for playing his 1,000th game and a very nice gift from his teammates.

Tickets are still available to catch the Bruno ceremony and a rare Wild home appearance. From the way I feel physically, it seems they've been on the road for six weeks straight. My home's basically an extremely expensive laundromat.

Marek Zidlicky, as mentioned on the previous blog, practiced today. I may have been a little optimistic on my back-in-a-week guesstimate. Zidlicky still needs to get his timing and fitness back before he'll be able to get in those contact drills, so with so many games, who knows when that'll be. As I mentioned, the Wild only has 3 full practices before next Tuesday's game against the Canuckleheads.

So Zidlicky put himself into "day-to-day" mode and will take it just that way, day-to-day. Zidlicky said he had a Grade 5 shoulder separation, which according to my doctor pal means the clavicle separates from the shoulder blade or scapula.

Zidlicky said the doctors told him he had two options, rehab or surgery, and "it was my choice." He chose rehab so he can come back. He said surgery means six months out, so even surgery after the season would put next year's start in jeopardy. He said he'll make that decision at a later date, depending on how his shoulder feels, whether or not it separates again, etc.

He said his shot still is lacking its normal strength, so there's a lot still needing to happen with Zidlicky for the defenseman to feel comfortable again to suit up for real.

Who comes out?

If healthy, Cam Barker. In fact, coach Todd Richards may have slipped up today and divulged that. I asked if he'd put Zidlicky back with Greg Zanon, and he said it's a question mark because they like Clayton Stoner and Zanon together, but if you don't put Zids back with Zanon there, then you have a right-D playing the left side.

Well, since left D Nick Schultz is paired with right D Brent Burns, that leaves the next pairing.

And since Richards is saying right D with right D, that's Jared Spurgeon with Marek Zidlicky (Barker is a left D). Not surprising, but I'm just pointing this out now to beat the inevitable question: Who's the odd man out?

Barker, it appears, as long as the same D cast is healthy when Zidlicky returns.

No update on Marco Scandella, by the way, and last time I talked to him before the previous road trip, he still was not doing well.

Guillaume Latendresse is completely unknown as far as a return. GM Chuck Fletcher said Latendresse was supposed to meet with his doctor to get cleared to return to practice soon, but Latendresse said that appointment hasn't been set yet.

Latendresse had 3 things fixed in one surgery -- a torn labrum repaired by local orthopedist Chris Larson, then two sports hernias by another surgeon. Ouch!

He said his groins are real sore right now from skating and he said he's done very little cardio. Fletcher's been saying March 1 as a possible return date for Latendresse, but the GM openly admits he's picking it out of thin air.

I'd be surprised. By the way Latendresse feels and looks, I think it'll take him longer to get back into shape and comfortable playing again. Maybe I'm wrong. But Latendresse needs to be 100 percent to play or he's really not going to do the Wild any good. Remember, March, the game is as fast and as amped up as it's ever been this season, so to have him out there not feeling like he can keep up, to me, would be more of a disservice than a help.

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