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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No lineup changes likely for game with Edmonton

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under Wild practice Updated: November 29, 2011 - 12:10 PM

Greetings:

 

  Mike Russo was on his way to Edmonton, so I was over at Xcel Energy Center for an optional pre-flight skate.

By optional, I mean just seven skaters and the two goalies running some drills for the assistant coaches. Head coach Mike Yeo said there probably wouldn't be any lineup changes for Wednesday's game against the Oilers -- a rematch of Friday's testy game at Xcel in which the Wild didn't play very well.

That means David McIntyre and Casey Wellman will probably remain in the lineup and on the fourth line and that Backstrom -- who has great career numbers vs. Edmonton -- will be in the nets.

The game will also provide Brad Staubitz another opportunity to go up against the Oilers' Darcy Hordichuk. I expect the game to be pretty intense, and I think you might see some action between those two after Hordichuk goaded Staubitz into some penalty minutes Friday. I talked with Mr. Staubitz, who -- to no surprise -- downplayed the situation.

Meanwhile, Yeo is looking to see the same type of game from defensemen Greg Zanon and Mike Lundin after both played  well in their return to the ice Monday. Sometimes, Yeo said, there is a letdown after the first game back.

"I'm anxious to see how they play in the next game," Yeo said. "I think Marco (Scandella) is a good example of that. He was out for a little while, and he came back and his first game was very good. His second game, not quite as good. Sometimes the adrenaline really kicks in the first game. It's something I'll talk to those guys about, to make sure they prepared the right way to be ready to execute at a high level."

Yeo likes the vocal leadership Zanon brings as well as his willingness to throw himself in front of shots. Yeo also liked Lundin's steady play, a hallmark of the veteran player.

That's about it for now. Russo will be with the team tomorrow.

 

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