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 hitting the road for brief trip to St. Louieee

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild training camp Updated: September 22, 2011 - 2:17 PM

Update: Spurgeon is playing for Cuma. Nystrom said the morning lines were meaningless, and he's right. Nystrom is on his normal line of Gillies and Staubitz.

Afternoon from MSP, where I'm about to take off for St. Louis.

Tonight's game isn't streamed anywhere and isn't on TV, so you can listen to KFAN and get live game updates, banter and cynical quips about first-line center Eric Nystrom on twitter.com/russostrib.

Speaking of Nystrom, I'll be writing about him tomorrow as he looks to put his disappointing first season with the Wild behind him. You can follow the always-entertaining Nystrom on Twitter at @enystrom23. Best part about Nystrom is he constantly communicates directly with the fans unlike some athletes and celebs on Twitter.

Nystrom will center the Wild's so-called first line tonight it appeared from the morning skate at the X. That line will consist of Minnesotans Jeff Taffe and Jarod Palmer on Nystrom's wing. Brett Bulmer also saw time during the skate.

Thanks to Brian Stensaas for blogging yesterday, and check out his blog below for the rest of the lineup.

The only change is Tyler Cuma won't make the trip. The kid defenseman sprinted off the ice this morning presumably for a garbage can. He's sick, and Jared Spurgeon will now make the trip for him. It's unclear whether Spurgeon will play or if original extra D Jeff Penner will play.

The Wild's lineup for tomorrow night's home game against Columbus should be out later, but while tonight is an "opportunity game" for the Wild's bubble players (for instance, Marco Scandella, Justin Falk, Nate Prosser and Jordan Hendry are all vying for a defenseman spot and they're all playing tonight), tomorrow's game will be a tuneup for a more representative Wild lineup.

The first line of Devin Setoguchi-Mikko Koivu-Dany Heatley will be unveiled, and I assume we'll see the preseason debuts of guys like Greg Zanon, Nick Schultz, Marek Zidlicky and maybe even the second and third lines again.

The Wild also has a 2 p.m. CT game Saturday in Pittsburgh before a bigtime cutdown day Sunday. So for some of the kids, this will be a last chance to audition.

Mike Lundin is the only Wild regular hurt right now, and that looks like pretty significant back spasms.

Talk to you tonight after the St. Louis game, but again, follow me on Twitter at russostrib for live updates.

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