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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Latendresse "available" but questionable

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild practice Updated: October 26, 2011 - 1:29 PM

After missing the Wild's last three practices and Saturday afternoon's game at Vancouver, left wing Guillaume Latendresse joined the Wild for practice this morning at the X.

Latendresse is clean shaven for a change, saying he kind of resembled stallmate Kyle Brodziak (which seemed to thrill Brodziak).

Coach Mike Yeo said, "we'll see," when asked if Latendresse would play against the Ducks. Unless it's as a fourth-liner though, Latendresse may have to wait a few more days. Yeo said he's anxious to see the new first two lines of Heatley-Koivu-Clutterbuck and Bouchard-Cullen-Setoguchi against the Ducks, and the third line of Bulmer-Brodziak-Johnson would be a "pretty tough line to tinker with" after their terrific game against Vancouver when the Wild last played on Saturday.

"He felt great out there. He said he felt better than he has in a couple weeks," Yeo said of Latendresse. "We'll have to decide what we want to do. He's missed a lot of practice time, but as of right now, we think he's available if we want to use him. ... I don't see us making a whole lot of changes here."

Latendresse said it's a coach's decision, but he felt good out there. He said he thinks this groin strain has nothing to do with last year's surgeries.

"It's just a bad groin," said Latendresse, saying in his mind, all of last year's ailments are healed.

Greg Zanon did not practice and won't play vs. the Ducks, so Justin Falk will get his second straight game. He was real good in his season debut against the Canucks.

Couple Wild-Ducks notes:

Wild won three of four in last season's series and has beaten them five in a row at home.

The Wild is 0 for 18 on the power play the past five games and 3 for 31 (9.7 percent, 28th in the NHL); The Ducks are 25th on the power play, connecting 11.4 percent of the time. … The Ducks’ penalty kill ranks sixth (90.6 percent); the Wild’s penalty kill ranks 24th (76 percent). … The Ducks are 30th in faceoff win percentage (44.9 percent); the Wild ranks 25th (48.1 percent).

Minnesotans Jason Blake and Matt Smaby are both sidelined for Anaheim.

Kurtis Foster could be in the lineup after returning from thigh surgery. He scored the other night, with the assist coming from his good friend's brother, Saku Koivu.

 

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