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 hopes Harding can back up Hackett tomorrow

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under Wild practice Updated: March 10, 2012 - 2:02 PM

 The Wild, according to coach Mike Yeo, has three options at backup goaltender for tomorrow's game against Calgary at Xcel Energy Center.

The first is Josh Harding. 

Greetings. Kent Youngblood here. I was at the team's practice at St. Thomas Academy today and I will be covering the game tomorrow. Russo will be back Monday.

But back to the goaltenders. 

According to Yeo, Harding's visit to the doctor Friday brought good news. His lower body injury -- sustained during the Wilds' game in Phoenix Thursday --is not going to be a long-term situation. Harding will skate tomorrow morning and then the decision will be made whether he can be the backup.

If not? Yeo said the team had two other options, but wouldn't tip his hand. "We'll see how Hards feels in the morning, and we have a couple contingency plans if that falls through," Yeo said.

Other news from today's practice:

--Captain Mikko Koivu, wearing a red, no-contact sweater, returned to practice with the team for the first time since re-injuring his shoulder Feb. 16. But, Wild fans, relax. Koivu is a long ways from returning. Indeed, Yeo wouldn't' say for sure that Koivu would play again this season. But having him on the ice did seem to raise the enthusiasm level on the ice. "Sometimes when you're not at your own building, the atmosphere is not great, the excitement level is not great," Yeo said. "But I know that today it was very high. I think a lot of that has to do with the guys seeing (Koivu) on the ice."

--Defenseman Jared Spurgeon was back on the ice and ready to go after missing the last game due to illness. Yeo described Spurgeon as being "a little run down." But Spurgeon will play, as will Devin Setoguchi, who is also battling an illness.

--Defenseman Clayton Stoner (lower body) continues to practice and might play tomorrow. 

--Winger Cal Clutterbuck (illness) didn't practice today. He is very doubtful for tomorrow, though he may skate Sunday morning to see how he feels. 

--Yeo is sticking the the same lines from the Phoenix game.


That's about it. I'll get back at you tomorrow.




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