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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Kampfer to make Wild debut, everything else up in the air

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild pregame skate Updated: March 4, 2012 - 11:05 AM

Steven Kampfer, who came to the Wild in Monday's Greg Zanon trade, will make his Wild debut tonight against the Colorado Avalanche.

Kampfer, a former Michigan Wolverine who says he was a big fan of now-teammate Jed Ortmeyer "when I was a kid," will be paired with Tom Gilbert tonight and play on the No. 2 power-play unit. He's very excited and hopes to make a positive impression on coach Mike Yeo and management. He was a seventh defenseman for much of the year in Boston, barely playing because the Bruins have been healthy on the back end.

Kurtis Foster will be scratched in his place after a tough game in Detroit.

The rest of the lineup is up in the air. The Wild's even keeping the starting goalie a pleasant "surprise," which makes me think Matt Hackett is starting. Plus, Josh Harding was fairly loose this morning and he typically has his game face on in the morning if he is starting.

We'll see. If it's Hackett, it would be his second NHL start and first at home. He is 2-0 with the Wild in five appearances with a 0.63 goals against average and .980 save percentage (100 stops on 102 shots).

Cal Clutterbuck is a game-time decision with an upper body injury. He was hurt on a collision in Detroit. There were many, so not exactly positive on which one, but he bounced off Justin Abdelkader on one very hard hit near the referee's crease.

He skated this morning. If he plays, Erik Christensen looks like the scratch because he was playing D with Foster this morning, although Yeo said that's not necessarily the case because all the line combo's would change.

Chad Rau centered Matt Kassian and Clutterbuck in the skate, but who knows? Darroll Powe skated with Matt Cullen and Devin Setoguchi, while Nick Johnson was with Dany Heatley and Kyle Brodziak.

Nick Palmieri is out with an upper body injury and Yeo had no details on how long he will be out.

The Avs didn't skate this morning and got to town real late after hosting Pittsburgh last night. Steve Downie got hurt in that game and no word on the severity. Minnesota-Duluth's Mike Connolly was recalled after coming to Colorado last week in a trade from San Jose.

If Connolly plays, it'd be his NHL debut in the same arena he won a national title in. He has 30 points in 42 games this season between Worcester and Lake Erie. The Avs haven't announced he's playing yet and they do have extra forwards around, so we will see.

Talk to you tonight.

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