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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Harding to start tonight; Wild signs 51-year-old backup

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild news, Wild player moves Updated: November 23, 2011 - 4:52 PM

We were sworn to secrecy this morning regarding the status of Niklas Backstrom because the Wild was hoping he would be able to start, but he will miss tonight's game against the Nashville Predators for personal reasons (not serious).

Josh Harding gets the start, but the big story is the Wild has signed Paul Deutsch, a 51-year-old beer-league goalie, to an amateur tryout to back up tonight because Matt Hackett won't make warmups. Deutsch is the buddy of former assistant coach Mike Ramsey who used to periodically fill in at Wild practices when either Backstrom or Manny Fernandez/Josh Harding/Dwayne Roloson were dinged up in the past.

He runs a printing business in Richfield. Soooo, warmups should be a must-see tonight. Leave your homes early because the pre-Thanksgiving traffic on I-94 heading east is the worst I've seen.

I should be talking to Deutsch before the game, so I'll toss up quotes soon.

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