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 loss overshadowed by disturbing Oilers injury; Wild assigns Wellman, Prosser

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild game coverage Updated: September 30, 2011 - 11:31 PM

It wasn't identical to then-Wild defenseman Kurtis Foster because Foster was pushed from behind on an icing by San Jose's Torrey Mitchell and tonight, Wild forward Eric Nystrom's stick blade got caught up in Oilers defenseman Taylor Fedun's skate blade.

But man, that terrifying crash of Foster into the San Jose end boards in March 2008 was the same sound we heard tonight here at Xcel Energy Center when Fedun crashed in pain.

Again, the NHL's touch icing rule will be subject of debate after Fedun, like Foster did, broke his femur. The Oilers called it a complex fracture of the right femur, and like Foster, he was screaming in pain.

"The young fella probably lost his season because of it and who knows beyond that," Oilers coach Tom Renney said.

Nystrom was given a boarding major and a game misconduct, and the NHL will review the incident to see if he deserves further discipline. But Nystrom felt he had a legitimate race for the puck and felt absolutely awful after, saying, “Obviously, I had no intention of ever, ever doing anything like that. I was just racing for an icing and that’s just one of those freak things that happens in those situations. That’s why people always talk about that rule.”

The NHL is the only league that I know of in the world that has touch icing, and I got an unsolicited text from Foster (now with Anaheim) tonight saying he hopes this leads to change in the NHL. He plans to reach out to NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr very soon.

Just a sad scene as Fedun, who just graduated from Princeton, was taken off on a stretcher.

As for the preseason game, the Wild blew a 3-1 lead late when Linus Omark and Ryan Jones scored 27 seconds apart, tying it at 3-3 with 5:55 left. Edmonton won in a shootout. The last two goals came against Minnesota's top line.

The first goal was just a beautiful shot right after a faceoff win. The second goal, Setoguchi fell on the knife, saying he lost his assignment and allowed the defenseman to skate right in.

It did ruin a good game in which there were a lot of positive signs that the Wild was starting to grasp Mike Yeo's system. Of course, the negative way to look at it is the Wild couldn't beat an Edmonton lineup that didn't include most their real players and a team that was down to three defensemen because of injuries.

Still, Yeo was positive about the training camp to this point after the game, and I'll get more into his comments in Monday's paper and what the team's plan is to prepare for Saturday's opener vs. Columbus.

As for Saturday, the Wild has a day off, and make sure to check out a Devin Setoguchi feature I wrote in Sunday's paper. Some cool stuff in there.

After the game, the Wild reassigned Casey Wellman, who had an average camp, and Nate Prosser. That puts the Wild down to 23 healthy bodies. Remember, the Wednesday roster submission can be a maximum 23. As of today, Mike Lundin, Matt Kassian and Cody Almond are on injured reserve.

What's this mean? As of now, defensemen Marco Scandella and Justin Falk remain, as do forwards Nick Johnson and ... Brett Bulmer, who continues to improve. Fast, offensive tonight and even got into a scrap. Johnson had a real solid game. So much better, faster and grittier than last night, which was expected after a crazy day of being plucked off waivers and then having to drive to Columbus.

But it's go time. This team's got to come together because the regular season's soon upon us. I'll write a lot more about the team, and the state of the team specifically thus far into camp in the next few days.

By the way, half of Edmonton's great players were up in the press box tonight, and there was still a lot of talent on the ice. How good is Anton Lander?

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