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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Loose day at the X

Posted by: under Wild practice Updated: November 2, 2009 - 1:56 PM

Good afternoon. Michael Russo back with you, as I decided to work today.

But Rachel Blount will be back on for Tuesday's practice. Lately, I'm working the schedule of a fireman (minus the courage and heroism). Forty-eight hours on, 24 off. Or vice versa.

But starting Wednesday, I'll be with you the rest of the week.

Very loose day down at the X as coach Todd Richards had the boys laughing and smiling with a very fun practice, high-tempo, scrimmage-like practice. Martin Havlat scored some beauties today, so hopefully that'll trickle into some games.

With no Wild games until Thursday, this practice was very predictable, just as Tuesday's back to work practice is a guarantee.

The Wild's won two in a row, and the players were wishing they could play right away now that the team's finally got a little momentum. Maybe the Wild is poised to go on a run now. After all, traditionally (at least since I've been the beat writer), the Wild's on fire in October before hitting a November swoon. Maybe it'll reverse this month and the Wild will follow its 5-9 October with a successful November.

Other than injured Kim Johnsson, Josh Harding and Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Mikko Koivu and Andrew Brunette also missed practice today. It's believed both were maintenance days.

I'm writing a Marek Zidlicky story for tomorrow. He was highly criticized for his play at the end of last season by coach Jacques Lemaire -- and uh, me. Bigtime mistakes cost the Wild in New Jersey and a heart-breaker in Detroit.

But he's been playing real well lately other than a couple hiccups, and we all know he fought Sidney Crosby on Saturday. Kudos to Bryan Reynolds, by the way, who on his blog noticed that Zidlicky should have gotten the boot for not having his jersey tied down. Zidlicky admitted to such today. Here's Bryan's link, which includes the YouTube clip that very clearly shows the linesman bailing Z out by lowering his jersey again.

Zidlicky was pretty good today, and we don't talk to him a lot because he's not very comfortable talking in a second language. But as I joked with him to break the ice today, "I haven't gotten 10 words out of you in two years, but I know you know English. I saw you screaming at Crosby."

By the way, the second assist on the Eric Belanger goal with six-tenths of a second left in the first period Saturday now reads Owen Nolan and not Greg Zanon. So if you have either on your fantasy team (and if you do, you're probably not doing too well), please adjust your points accordingly.

Adios amigos!

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