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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Wellman back, but will be a game-time decision; Backstrom in net

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under Wild pregame skate Updated: November 15, 2011 - 1:19 PM

Greetings, again.

Casey Wellman was back on the ice with the Wild after having been called up for tonight's road trip finale. But that doesn't mean he will play. Wild coach Mike Yeo said he would decide before the game whether Wellman will be in the lineup.

That said, Yeo believes Wellman has played  well enough to deserve this call-up. "He's been playing great," Yeo said after morning skate. "We asked him to dominate (in Houston), and he's been doing that. What I like from what I've heard and what I've been understanding is that his goals have been the kind of goals that you can score in this league, too. His goals have been from around the blue paint."

Other news that came from the morning skate:

--To nobody's surprise, Niklas Backstrom will be in net.

--Clayton Stoner, who came back from a finger injury to play Sunday in Anaheim, is playing through some pain. And he's taking a bit of chance. He was fitted with a special glove that protected the finger, but it just didn't feel right. So Stoner has gone with his old glove. "I'm rolling the dice a little bit," he said.

--Yeo made a point of saying he doesn't want nor does he expect his team to enter this game feeling overconfident, given the struggles the Blue Jackets have been dealing with. "They have had a lot of injuries," Yeo said. "They have their guys back, and I think, if anything, we should be prepared to face a very desperate team. And I don't see any reason why our guard should come down for this game."

--Defenseman Mike Lundin, who hasn't played since the very start of training camp because of back spasms, has been practicing with the team and is looking -- and, he says, feeling -- a lot more comfortable. Yeo said Lundin is ready to take the next step. What does that mean? More battle drills in practice to see how that back holds up. "He's getting close," Yeo  said.


That's about it for now. I'll get back to you after the game


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