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 looks forward; Latendresse takes step back

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under On the road, Wild practice Updated: February 1, 2012 - 2:24 PM

Wild practice today was surprisingly upbeat at Xcel Energy Center after Tuesday night's collapse in a 5-4 loss to Nashville.

Most newsworthy thing was probably Guillaume Latendresse (concussion) taking a slight step backwards and being held out of Wednesday's practice. Latendresse did not travel with the team. 

Greetings. Kent Youngblood here. I was at practice while Russo made his way towards Denver.

Wild coach Mike Yeo ran a fast-paced practice that felt almost relaxed in its tone. Perhaps that's by design, after the disappointing way the team finished its game with Nashville last night, blowing a 4-1 lead in a 5-4 loss. 

Yeo's theme in practice today was taking the positives out of the first 50 minutes of the Nashville game and not dwelling on the final 10 minutes of said game.

"We don't want to dwell on it," Yeo said of the loss. "If we want to dwell on anything it should be the fact that we should have won the game. For the majority of the game we were playing our game, doing the things we were supposed to do. And we gave ourselves a chance to win three games in a row. I'm very pleased we're starting to see some consistency come back to our game. Obviously it ended on a very negative note. But let's look at the positive here. We've won two out of three, had a chance to win three out of three. Now we get to go out on the road and make sure we continue that game going."

To that end, Yeo said he would discuss possible lineup changes -- say, inserting Mike Lundin or Marek Zidlicky back into the mix. But Yeo sounded as if he wasn't sold on the idea of a knee-jerk lineup change in reaction to the loss.

"We have to look at the big picture here," Yeo said. "We have to get consistency in our game, and sometimes getting consistency, it's a little easier when you have consistency in your lineup. ... I've seen consistency in our game the last three games, again minus the last 10 minutes (of the Nashville game).''

 

In other news:

--Mikko Koivu continued to work hard trying to come back from a shoulder injury. Yeo said now the biggest thing is conditioning. Koivu is going on the trip. He won't play in Denver. When asked if Dallas was a possibility, Yeo said, "I don't really want to talk about that." Translation? He could play against the Stars.

--Yeo said he talked with Marek Zidlicky about comments he made yesterday about not playing. Offering no details, Yeo did say the meeting went well. 

 --Can goalie Niklas Backstrom continue his domination in Colorado? He is 8-2-1 in 11 games there, with a .934 save percentage, a 2.12 goals-against average and two shutouts. Over the last seven games he is 5-1-1 with a .948  save percentage and a 1.75 goals-against average. He has allowed one or fewer goals in five of those seven games.

That's about it for now. Russo will be at tomorrow's skate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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