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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Looking forward

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under Wild practice Updated: October 17, 2011 - 12:56 PM

 Greetings. 

 Youngblood here. I was enlisted to go to Wild practice today because Mr. Russo is a bit under the weather. So be sure to send him some get-well wishes. 

 

It was an up-tempo, if rather uneventful, practice at the Xcel Energy Center today. All players on the roster were on the ice working. Coach Mike Yeo said there would be no lineup changes from the Detroit game, other than Niklas Backstrom will be back in goal. 

The Wild is in the middle of a pretty difficult stretch of its schedule. Minnesota just got done with a red-hot Detroit team and here comes Pittsburgh, currently in first place in the Atlantic Division. The Penguins (3-1-2), even without the injured Sidney Crosby, have been scoring a lot. And while the Pens' defense has, at times, looked a little leaky, Pittsburgh is still going to be a tough team to skate against. Even without Evgeni Malkin, who will likely miss tomorrow's game, the Pens have a lot of scoring depth. 

Pittsburgh is also where Yeo spent five years as an assistant coach under two head coaches. 

I'll write more about this for tomorrow's paper. Yeo talked a bit about his time in Pittsburgh. But he seemed reticent to talk about the subject, preferring to talk about his own players. General manager Chuck Fletcher, who also spent some time in Pittsburgh, apparently feels even more strongly about the subject, refusing to talk about the subject at all. 

As for the players. Yeo said he loved the effort put forth by his team in an overtime loss to the Red Wings. The team's execution, however, will have to be more consistent tomorrow and going forward; after the Pittsburgh game, the Wild goes to Edmonton, then to Vancouver, before coming home to finish out the month with home games against Anaheim and Detroit. November starts with the second half of a back-to-back at Detroit. 

 

That's all for now. Mr. Russo, assuming his health rebounds, will get back to you after tomorrow's morning skate. Have a good day.

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