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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Koivu, Bouchard updates; Callup coming, but who?; Yeo on Zanon

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild practice Updated: December 16, 2011 - 5:06 PM

Update: I am now hearing more and more the below speculation is accurate and Jarod Palmer will be recalled to make his NHL debut tomorrow.

Update again: Official, Palmer has been recalled. Shut-down Guillaume Latendresse placed on injured reserve.

Afternoon. Busy day down at the X as the Wild counted bodies.

Mikko Koivu is day-to-day with a leg injury. He won't play vs. the Islanders and GM Chuck Fletcher says the team hopes to get him back before Christmas (four games left before then).

Coach Mike Yeo said, "You see him go off the ice and you hold your breath a little bit there and we've got a little bit of good news that it’s not a real serious injury and he shouldn’t be out for an extended period of time."

Yeo said Pierre-Marc Bouchard is "very questionable" for the Islanders game. He was going to get a workout in today, but he's not feeling great and with his concussion history, the Wild's being careful.

Casey Wellman did practice today, but because of a wrist injury, he's got no mustard on his shot. But he plans to gut it out tomorrow.

As for a callup, the coaches were going to meet this afternoon with Fletcher to determine what type of player it needs -- a skilled guy or a hard-working, grind-it-out type of guy.

If it's a skill guy, I see the player being Fridley's Jarod Palmer, the former Miami University standout. If it's the grind-it-out type, I see it being Jed Ortmeyer.

The one thing the Wild has to do is figure out who's on the power play with Koivu, Bouchard, Guillaume Latendresse and Devin Setoguchi sidelined. There's no doubt with this depleted roster that the Wild won't be able to outskill opponents the next few games. It'll need to outwork and outcheck to be victorious, but this team badly needs some skill and speed with these guys out.

So I've gone from thinking Ortmeyer gets the call to now thinking the speedy Palmer does. If it's Palmer, it'd be his NHL debut, he'd become the 33rd player to dress for the Wild in 33 games this season and the 10th rookie, which would already tie the team record.  

Before you ask, I just don't get the impression it's Jeff Taffe, although I thought he did a decent job during his 2-game, 2-assist, plus-3 callup.

Nik Backstrom starts tomorrow.

As for Greg Zanon being scratched, Yeo said it was a very tough decision and he took it as a pro. Normally guys who are scratched skate warmups and find out afterward. I noticed quickly Wednesday that Zanon wasn't in warmups. I asked Yeo if he felt Zanon deserved more respect and that's why he told him before warmups: "For sure, veteran guy, I think you have to handle that a little bit differently. He's usually one of the first ones to the rink. Preferably, I probably would have even done it in the morning, but he wasn't there in the morning. Tough thing. I don't like doing those things."

"He's going to get back in. He's a good defenseman for us. And I don't want all our D feeling, 'OK, every game I'm one mistake away from being the next guy in the press box,' but at the same time, he's a quality defenseman that certainly is an asset to us. ... Whether it's an injury or based on performance, he'll get an opportunity to get back in for sure."

Justin Falk is also ready, so the Wild basically have eight healthy D. The way the forwards are dropping, and the way the D dropped earlier this year, we all know you can never have too many D. But I can't imagine the Wild will just carry around eight healthy D for awhile. So I see a move coming eventually, whether it's Falk on waivers to get to Houston or a trade. If you read my online chat yesterday, I do think the Wild would be willing to trade Zanon, who's in the last year of his contract, at some point.

Talk tomorrow and I'll update the blog when a callup is announced.

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