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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Clutterbuck sidelined with sore groin

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild pregame skate, Wild training camp Updated: September 30, 2011 - 1:32 PM

The Wild hosts Edmonton in its seventh and final exhibition game tonight at the X.

Cal Clutterbuck will miss the game with a sore groin, meaning Casey Wellman will get one final shot to impress and make this roster. Wellman's got ability, but his strength is speed and a heck of a shot -- a shot he's shown too seldomly at the NHL level and throughout the previous two preseason games.

Wellman may want to shoot tonight. Same D, meaning Nate Prosser will be scratched for the third game in a row. If Mike Lundin and Jared Spurgeon are healthy by Opening Night, no way the Wild's keeping nine defensemen, so Prosser is clearly the odd guy out. In fact, I think he's the odd guy out anyway assuming the Wild escapes tonight injury-free.

Matt Cullen and Spurgeon will miss their third preseason games tonight.

Lines I'm assuming:

Setoguchi-Koivu-Heatley

Latendresse-Brodziak-Bouchard

Johnson-Powe-Wellman/Bulmer

Gillies-Nystrom-Bulmer/Wellman

Scandella-Zidlicky

Schultz-Zanon

Stoner-Falk

(Those were the pairings for most of last night)

Nik Backstrom starts.

The Oilers won't be playing their top guys tonight, so looked to me like no Hall, no Nugent-Hopkins, no Paajarvi, no Barker.

Eric Belanger's in though.

Matt Kassian skated today for the first time since breaking his finger by getting it caught up in Darcy Hordichuk's jersey. Mike Yeo indicated that Kassian may still be in the mix to make the team because of the fighting element he brings. Remember, Brad Staubitz will be suspended the first three games of the regular season.

Right now, Clayton Stoner is probably one of the rare guys that would drop the gloves, althoigh Hordichuk may not find a partner tonight.

Last episode of Becoming Wild is on tonight at 6:30 p.m. on Fox Sports North. It'll be on in the arena apparently at 6:05 p.m.

Follow russostrib on Twitter for game details tonight. Talk to you after the game.

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