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 in Shark Tank tonight

Posted by: Chris Miller under On the road, Wild game coverage Updated: January 25, 2014 - 12:48 PM

The Wild is at San Jose tonight for a 9:30 p.m. (Central) game that kicks off a tough, four-day road trip with games also in Anaheim, Colorado and Calgary.

Mikko Koivu and Jared Spurgeon flew in with the team yesterday, but aren't like to play on the road trip, coach Mike Yeo said.

A reminder, Michael Russo is away for a family emergency.  We have veteran writer John Ryan stringing for us, and you'll get a first report from John at startribune.com when the game ends.  TV tonight is Fox Sports North.

Zach Parise felt fine after his return from a broken foot. John's report from Friday's practice is here.

Sharks, of course, are without rookie sensation Tomas Hertl, who tore up a knee and is out for the season. San Jose made big news yesterday when they extended the contracts of Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau.

Big weekend for the NHL with an outdoor game tonight at Dodger Stadium and another outdoor game tomorrow at Yankee Stadium.

Preview box for tonight's Wild game:

Preview: The Sharks are fourth in the Western Conference, and the Wild is tied for seventh. The teams have split 3-1 games this season, both winning at home.

Players to watch: Wild RW Jason Pominville scored his team-high 20th goal in Thursday’s 2-1 victory over Chicago. … Ryan Suter (31 points) is 10th in the NHL in scoring for defensemen. … G Darcy Kuemper has a 2.22 goals-against average in nine games but has started six in a row. … Sharks C Joe Thornton leads the NHL with 47 assists and is sixth in scoring with 53 points but has only six goals. Thornton and W Patrick Marleau both got three-year contract extensions Friday. … C Joe Pavelski is second in the league with 28 goals. … G Antti Niemi (2.38 goals-against average) has played in 43 of 51 games.

Numbers: Former Minnesota State RW Eriah Hayes has skated in the past nine games for the Sharks and is looking for his first NHL point. Ex-Minnesota Duluth G Alex Stalock has consecutive shutouts as Niemi’s backup. The Sharks’ Justin Braun, a Minneapolis native, is seventh among NHL defensemen in plus/minus (plus-20). … The Wild is 1-8 in its past nine games at the SAP Center.

Injuries: Wild G Josh Harding (illness), D Jared Spurgeon (foot) and C Mikko Koivu (ankle) are out. Sharks forwards Logan Couture (hand), Tomas Hertl (knee), Raffi Torres (knee) and Adam Burish (back) are out, as is D Scott Hannan (concussion).

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