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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Christian Folin's NHL debut, John Curry's Wild debut may come Thursday against St. Louis

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild practice Updated: April 10, 2014 - 7:59 AM

updated

Happy Off-Day to you and yours.

As I mentioned after the Wild's Tuesday night win over the Boston Bruins, the Wild's first-round opponent isn't clear.

If the season ended right now, St. Louis will be the opponent after Anaheim beat San Jose to win the Pacific. If the Wild plays the Blues, that series would likely start next Thursday because Miley Cyrus is playing Scottrade Wednesday.

The Wild can only play St. Louis, Anaheim or Colorado now. If the Wild plays the Avs, that series also can't start until Thursday.

So we wait.

Again, the Wild, as the top wildcard spot, plays the West division winner with the second-best record.

As I mentioned at the top, today was a day off for the Wild, so no access.

My guess though is Ilya Bryzgalov (7-0-3 with a 1.65 goals-against average, .929 save percentage and three shutouts in 10 starts with Minnesota) gets spelled for a night and John Curry makes his Wild debut in net against the Blues. The Shorewood native and former Breck School and Boston University goalie would become the fifth goalie to start a game for Minnesota this season and make his first NHL start since Jan. 11, 2010, for Pittsburgh.

If you didn't read my feature on Curry in Tuesday's paper, here ya go.

I'd also guess that defenseman Christian Folin makes his NHL debut against the Blues, maybe for Jared Spurgeon. The UMass-Lowell free-agent pickup has been practicing with the Wild since last Wednesday after signing last Monday.

The 6-foot-3 right-shot blue-liner skates well, is physical, passes crisply and has a heavy shot. He wears No. 5. If he plays, that'll be huge for his development because it'll give him a taste of what he needs to work on this offseason to get ready for training camp next fall. Remember, he is not playoff eligible, but he will continue to practice with the Wild throughout the postseason. Eventually, Iowa players will join him, too.

Want to know more about Folin? Read Thursday's Star Tribune. I wrote a real cool profile on the kid that will allow you to get to know him a bit better.

Last night, I guessed coach Mike Yeo would rest all his big guns against the Blues.

The more I think about it, the more I doubt that would happen.

The Wild is 5-0-1 in its past six, has been playing playoff style hockey for awhile, has beaten some good teams and I'd think the Wild would be hesitant to just pull the plug on that. Sunday, even if Yeo goes with his full lineup against Nashville in a regular-season finale playoff tune-up, that game will be more like a glorified exhibition game.

After all, the Wild may be in do-not-get-hurt mode, so if all of a sudden you don't play your big guns Thursday, by the time the playoffs begin Wednesday or Thursday of next week, it'll be more than a week since the Wild played a playoff-like game.

So I'd guess they don't quote-unquote rest a bunch of guys. Obviously, if Yeo wants, he could cut back on ice time on some of his heavy-minute guys if he opts to go that route.

The Blues are supposed to be without David Backes Thursday, by the way. The Blues captain was hit by a shot in Tuesday's loss to Washington.'

Talk to you after Thursday's morning skates. I'll be on KFAN inside the penalty box with Paul Allen at 9:55 a.m.

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