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 a game-time decision for Wild

Posted by: Michael Russo under On the road, Wild pregame skate Updated: December 17, 2011 - 11:51 AM

Morning from the X, where the Wild hosts the New York Islanders -- my childhood team -- as a kid. Speaking of childhood, the great Jiggs McDonald is calling the game for the Isles tonight. He's subbing for Howie Rose, and the Hall of Famer is as good as it gets.

Pierre-Marc Bouchard, whom coach Mike Yeo called "very questionable" yesterday, skated this morning, lasted the entire skate and well past most of his teammates leaving the ice. If he plays tonight, it'll be up to him. Yeo called him a gametime decision. Even if he doesn't play, this is great news for a guy with a concussion history.

Bouchard knows his body better than anybody, he knows concussion symptoms better than anybody. For Bouchard to work out and skate, you know he's not feeling anything close to what he felt during his year-plus nightmare that originally occurred, coincidentally, against these very same Islanders in New York. So even if he chooses not to play this is good news.

If Bouchard plays, the Wild goes with 6 D and Greg Zanon presumably is scratched. If Bouchard doesn't, the Wild will go with 7 D and Zanon returns.

Casey Wellman is scratched, however, with that wrist injury I reported in yesterday's paper. Yeo says he just can't shoot the puck the way the Wild needs.

Jarod Palmer will make his NHL debut. The Fridley native guess he'll have 100 people in the stands tonight, including his dad, Jeff, whom he says taught him everything he knows about hockey. He's very excited obviously and seemed very calm.

Palmer had a real good preseason and scored in the exhibition opener in Edmonton, which gives him confidence that it can be done in the NHL. He got a quick, matter of fact phone call yesterday from Aeros GM Jim Mill to pack up and get on a plane.

Mikko Koivu skated this morning in a track suit. He won't play, but he's expected to make the road trip. I'd think Devin Setoguchi comes on the road, too. Guillaume Latendresse remains completely shut down and will be for a bit.

That's it for me.

Islanders vs. Wild, next. Talk to you before the game to let you know if Bouchard is playing.



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