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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Getting ready for Phoenix

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under Wild practice Updated: December 30, 2011 - 1:11 PM


Mike Russo is off today, so I had practice.

The main news to come out of today's skate was that Jarod Palmer, who scored his first NHL goal last night, didn't skate and won't play tomorrow.

Palmer has an upper body injury, one Wild coach Mike Yeo said happened in the second period when Palmer was hit by an Edmonton Oilers defenseman along the boards. Palmer came back and tried to play through it, but he's a no-go for the Phoenix game.

Add him to the list of injured Wild players. "That seems to be the way, doesn't it?" Yeo said. "We're down a few bodies, and he's the latest one. We'll have to continue to have guys step up and find a way."

Other items from today:

--Yeo said Wild defenseman Marek Zidlicky -- who had three assists against Edmonton -- is coming off his best two games of the season. That's good news for a  Wild defensive corps that needs to do more with the offense. "He's been assertive, jumping up in the play, carrying pucks," Yeo said.

--Yeo was asked if he was relieved that the winless streak was over. "Just a feeling of we did what we're supposed to do and we got rewarded for it," he said. "It's just a reminder of how we have to play and what happens if we go out and play that way."

--That said, Yeo's message at practice was to put the Edmonton game in the rear view mirror and move forward. "It's great we played a great game," Yeo said. "But the bottom line is let's get some traction from this. Let's take it to the next game, let's play another great game."

--There was a lot of talk about the team's battle level in the wake of a very feisty Edmonton game. Yeo loved how competitive his team was. To be clear: Yeo said he doesn't expect every game to be like the Edmonton game. "We're not going to run guys and throw guys over the boards every game," he said. "Or have unbelievable fights. Having said that, everybody has to go out and compete and battle. ... I like that we were getting under (the Oilers') skin, ticking them off.."

That's about it. Have a good day.


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