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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Bouchard out vs. Blackhawks; Zanon is scratched

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild game coverage Updated: December 14, 2011 - 6:26 PM

Pierre-Marc Bouchard will miss tonight's game against the Chicago Blackhawks with a broken nose, and defenseman Greg Zanon, a 31-year-old veteran in the last year of his contract, is a healthy scratch for the first time in his Wild career.

His subtraction ironically is because of the return of Marek Zidlicky, largely his defense partner during his first two seasons with the Wild.

It became a numbers game. Marco Scandella, Jared Spurgeon, Nick Schultz and Mike Lundin are playing well. The Clayton Stoner-Zanon pair has seen dwindling ice time, struggling bigtime Dec. 4 in Anaheim and having a couple hairy moments last night in Winnipeg.

This morning, coach Mike Yeo pointed out the intangible Stoner brings in terms of toughness and went out of his way to point out he leads the defensemen in plus-minus with plus-6.

Zanon has one goal in 15 games and is plus-3. He's played eight games since missing 16 with a groin injury.

Matt Cullen will return. Warren Peters is also in, Casey Wellman scratched.

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