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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Backstrom to miss 2-4 weeks with a groin strain

Posted by: Michael Russo under On the road, Wild news Updated: March 2, 2012 - 5:06 PM

As if things weren't bad enough for the downtrodden Wild with captain Mikko Koivu shut down without contact for another two weeks, no indication that Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Guillaume Latendresse will be able to return this season and the playoffs looking like a longshot, No. 1 goalie Niklas Backstrom will be sidelined 2-4 weeks with a strained groin.

It is March 2. The regular season ends April 7. So if Backstrom's window is at the high end, the rest of his regular season is in jeopardy.

"That's a tough one," coach Mike Yeo said. "Fortunately for us, we have two guys that have proven themselves [with Josh Harding and Matt Hackett."

With the news still fresh, Yeo said he hasn't come up with a plan to use the goalies. He said both will get time in net. There aren't a ton of back-to-backs.

Harding's numbers haven't been good of late, especially on the road. Beginning with the game in San Jose in December that he got hurt, he is 0-5-2 on the road with a 3.04 goals against average and .911 save percentage.

Hackett this year is 2-0 with an 0.68 goals against average and .979 save percentage in four appearances.

For those asking, Yeo said there was no plan last night if Harding got hurt. They would have had to put a position player in, and the refs told Yeo they would have given him time to figure it out. In San Jose, goalie coach Bob Mason told me it probably would have been Justin Falk.

Erik Christensen is a scratch again tonight. Yeo's not going to play somebody simply because he's a shootout specialist. Talk to you after the game


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