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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Tyler Cuma expected to make his NHL debut against Phoenix

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild pregame skate Updated: March 8, 2012 - 1:39 PM

The going keeps getting tougher for the Wild.
Defenseman Jared Spurgeon won’t play tonight against the Phoenix Coyotes after coming down with the flu in the middle of the night. Clayton Stoner skated this morning, but he hasn’t played since Feb. 2 after tearing the muscle off the bone in his hip during a fight with Cody McLeod.
So word is he is not ready. What’s that mean?
Tyler Cuma is expected to make his long-awaited NHL debut tonight as long as his plane arrives in Phoenix on time.
Cuma played in Abbotsford, British Columbia, last night, is currently in the air from Vancouver to Houston, then has 90 minutes to recheck his bags and gear and get on a flight from Houston to Phoenix.
If on time, he is due in at around 5 p.m., has to get his gear, and take a car service through rush hour all the way to Glendale. I’ve done that drive during rush hour.
My guess is he gets to the arena just before warmups.
Cuma, 22, was the Wild’s first-round pick in 2008. He’s been hit with a horde of injuries since being drafted, the latest coming last season during the Aeros-Peoria game at the X when he tore his ACL in the corner.
That set him back bigtime and the goal was to spend all season in the minors this year reestablishing his game. But with Stoner, Justin Falk and Spurgeon out, Marek Zidlicky, Nick Schultz and Greg Zanon gone, it is Tyler Cuma’s turn in the rotation.
He will become the team-record 45th player to dress for the Wild this season as long as he plays.
Cal Clutterbuck is still not feeling well, so he is also out tonight. Josh Harding in goal.
That’s it for me. I’ll talk to you after the game. I am also off until Monday, so Kent Youngblood will have the keys to the blog until then.

Check out my Sunday column this week. I chatted on the phone for awhile the other day with actor Seann William Scott about his career and growing up as an athlete and movie lover in Cottage Grove.
The man best known as Stifler from the American Pie movies and upcoming movie "American Reunion" stars in the new hockey comedy, "Goon," which comes out March 30 in the U.S. Real, real nice guy and gave me all the time in the world to talk hockey, movies and Minnesota. I'll also have a Seann William Scott "Extras" blog on Sunday for you to check out with all the stuff I can't fit into the column.

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