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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Koivu, Zanon, Latendresse questionable vs. Vancouver

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild practice Updated: October 21, 2011 - 5:49 PM

Update from Vancouver:

Official word from the Wild on Koivu, Zanon and Latendresse is questionable against the Canucks.

Koivu has 10 stitches on the left side of his chin, a cut just above the Adam's Apple and a scratch the look of a skate across his neck. But the cut is mostly on his chin. The Wild hopes he'll be able to play, and Koivu wouldn't say if he is. I think he'll be able to play. However, don't know what type of protection they can put there because a full cage would rest of his chin, as noted by Mike Yeo.

Latendresse said, "We don't know," if he can play. He looks to be like he may have some aggravation with his left hip, which was one of the areas operated on last season. I've noticed this for awhile, so this will be worth watching as far as the Wild's leading scorer.

I can't see Zanon playing. He couldn't play the final 21 minutes last night, and with no games until Thursday, maybe it's worth giving him the game off so he can have a full week of rest.

If Latendresse can't play, I assume Nick Johnson gets in. If Zanon can't play, Justin Falk will.

Big game for Brett Bulmer. He grew up eight hours north and plays his junior hockey three hours east, so he'll have a dozen friends and family members in the barn tomorrow.

I'll be interested to see how the Wild comes out tomorrow. Last time they played a 1 p.m. start (local) on Long Island, it sleepwalked through the first period.

Talk to you Saturday.

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Good day from rainy Vancouver, where I'm sitting in the stands inside the home of the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds.

The Wild's on the ice for practice minus captain Mikko Koivu (cut to chin/neck), defenseman Greg Zanon (groin) and Guillaume Latendresse (assuming maintenance on his sore hip).

Zanon, I assume, will not be able to play tomorrow against the Canucks and Justin Falk will make his season debut.

Koivu, I've got to think, will be able to play, but we'll get an update after practice. He's definitely OK, and very lucky. Let's put it this way: What did happen to him is a lot better than what nearly happened to him. No Clint Malarchuk, Richard Shulmistra -- two goalies who had their jugulars slashed by skates -- moment.

For Vancouver, Mikael Samuelsson didn't practice today. Cory Schneider will start tomorrow vs. the Wild.

OK, I will update blog after practice, but you can follow me on Twitter at @russostrib for all the latest in Wild updates and my travel quips.

Maybe I'll even tweet pictures from tonight's Death Cab for Cutie concert at Rogers. Saw them in Vegas in August. They put on an awesome live show.

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