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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Koivu out with undisclosed injury; Zidlicky out, Falk in

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild news Updated: February 18, 2012 - 1:08 PM

The Wild plays the St. Louis Blues today at 1 p.m. The Blues are 17-0-3 in their past 20 at home.

Wild captain Mikko Koivu will not play with an undisclosed injury. He is day-to-day and uncertain to play on national TV tomorrow against the Boston Bruins.

Also Mike Lundin is out for both weekend games with a lower-body injury. That leaves open spot for a defenseman.

Justin Falk will play and Marek Zidlicky won't. Coach Mike Yeo said he decided to play Falk today even before Lundin's injury because of how well Falk played in this building during last month's shootout loss (and he was awesome).

Still, I'm thinking Zidlicky hitchhikes back to Minnesota at this point.

You can read Yeo's quotes on not playing Zidlicky in tomorrow's Star Tribune. But man, this is an unbelievable situation. The way Zidlicky was playing, he clearly was trying to showcase himself for another team. I'd take advantage of that if it were me.

With no Koivu, we will see the reunion of the Dany Heatley-Kyle Brodziak-Nick Johnson line to start. That line was great before Koivu returned from his shoulder injury.

But Yeo said Devin Setoguchi has played so well lately with Heatley, he may be quick to replace Johnson with Setoguchi. For now, Setoguchi will play with Cal Clutterbuck and Matt Cullen.

As for the bottom six, it doesn't really matter. Just throw em in a hat and pull out some names.

Josh Harding will be in goal. For now, Niklas Backstrom will start vs. Boston, but Yeo said Harding can dictate if that changes.

As for Yeo, he is bribing his players for a win today. He said if they win, he plans to wear the ugliest tie he has on national TV tomorrow (NBC) vs. the Bruins.

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