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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Scandella to return vs. Predators; Johnson jumps into the stands

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild practice Updated: November 22, 2011 - 1:02 PM

Afternoon Wild fans from Tom Reid's, where I'm fighting off a cold and finishing up lunch. Busy down here at Tom's today as everybody munches down on the best buy in town -- the soup and salad bar.

Local sportswriter Aaron Paitich is on his third helping of chili. He's going to put Tom out of business.

Defenseman Marco Scandella practiced yet again today and will return to the lineup tomorrow night against the Nashville Predators -- Game 3 of this 2-0 six-game homestand. Niklas Backstrom returns to the cage.

Other than that, same lineup as the last few games.

Greg Zanon practiced fully, as did Mike Lundin. Zanon hopes to be ready by the weekend, but it may be difficult for him to get into the lineup immediately if the Wild keeps winning and the defensemen keep playing great. Plus, he's missed a month and coach Mike Yeo said he's a "ways away." I'll write more about Zanon in Thursday's paper. One of his groin muscles tore completely off the bone. He painted us a picture, but I'll spare you those details.

I never got a chance to talk to Lundin about his conditining stint, so I'll do that tomorrow.

Fun practice down at the X. It ended with a shootout drill that Nick Johnson lost. The choices of punishment for the loser before the drill? Wear one of PR guy Aaron Sickman's pastel-colored shirts, which no player was willing to do, or go into the stands and high-five members of the Minnesota Hockey Coaches Association and their families in attendance.

Johnson lost, took off his skates and jumped into the stands, where he ran through high-fiving folks and signing autographs. The players loved it.

That's it for now. I'll be on KFAN live in studio on the Paul Allen Show on Wednesday morning from 9-10. We'll also have a Star Tribune video up on the site about the Wild later today.

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