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's Zidlicky scratched tonight

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild news, Wild player moves, Wild pregame skate Updated: February 16, 2012 - 11:35 AM

UPDATED

Marek Zidlicky will be scratched tonight against the Winnipeg Jets.

Zidlicky has arguably played his best hockey of the season the past three games, so this is not based on play.

Zidlicky asked to be traded Jan. 31. His agent said yesterday he is willing to waive his no-trade clause to go to New Jersey, although GM Chuck Fletcher says many teams are interested.

A trade has not been made yet, sources say. But coach Mike Yeo said: "I'm making an assumption that his head would not be in the right place to play this game tonight."

If he is not traded and continues to be here, Yeo said he will play Zidlicky again if he proves, just like every one of their players, he is "all-in."

Yeo said he made this decision before their face-to-face chat, and I'm being told that this in large part is due to the fact that Yeo believes playing Zidlicky would be the wrong message to the Wild players who want to be here.

Also, even though Yeo says it has nothing to do with this, playing Zidlicky would be a risk if he were to get injured.

Through Wild PR, Zidlicky is unavailable for comment today.

Mike Lundin will play in Zidlicky's place.

Justin Falk, a Winnipeger, will be scratched. Cal Clutterbuck skated this morning but is not yet sure if he's playing. He is a game-time decision. If he plays, Jeff Taffe won't. Cody Almond is in. Niklas Backstrom starts.

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