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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Wild juggles roster, four players called up from Houston

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under Roster moves, Wild player moves, Wild practice Updated: January 20, 2012 - 2:05 PM

Forwards Matt Kassian, Jed Ortmeyer, Chad Rau and defenseman Nate Prosser are coming up from Houston for the Wild, and forwards Casey Wellman and David McIntyre are headed back to the Aeros today.

That's a quick update from today's practice, which is in progress.  Youngblood here, and I'll have more when things wrap up from the X.

Youngblood here, with an update from today's practice.

Let's start with the roster moves. Here's what coach Mike Yeo had to say: "Well, we need to make some changes right now," he said. "We're not just going to stand around and hope things get better. Whatever it takes, whatever we can do to try to energize our group, gain some confidence to get a good feeling coming to the rink -- whether it's personnel decisions or the things we do in practice or meetings -- we have to do."

Friday's practice was an interesting one. Yeo wanted to focus on skill work and goal scoring. So he divided up his team into two groups and ran them through scrimmages, tip drills and shootout work, keeping score all the way.

Officially, the green group (Cullen, Setoguchi, Clutterbuck, Johnson, McMillan, Zanon, Spurgeon and Lundin) beat the white group (everyone else) in the final tally, though Yeo wouldn't reveal what the losers had to do.

It was all designed to give a team that has struggled to score goals confidence in that area. "If you don't score in practice, you won't score in a game," noted Setoguchi.

 

Other items:

--Yeo said he's excited about being the finale Hockey Day Minnesota. "This is a really big thing for us," he said. "A deal like tomorrow, a game like tomorrow night could help pus get going in the right direction, and give us a great feeling. That's what we need right now."

--Matt Cullen will officially get his silver stick for playing 1,000 NHL games in a pre-game ceremony Saturday. He said he hasn't decided where in the house it will go. "I'm afraid my three-year-old will have it out whacking around the walls and stuff," he said. "I'll find a place for it. It won't be stuck in the corner of the garage or anything like that."

That said, Cullen said he didn't want anything to take away from the focus the team needed trying to get on the right track.

--Mikko Koivu was doing some shooting in the cage under the stands this morning during practice.

--Spurgeon looked very good while scoring on a couple shootout attempts today. Yeo said he took note of that. So maybe we'll see Spurgeon out there in that situation at some point soon.

 

That's about it. Have a good day.

 

 

 

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