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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Earl on emergency recall, Kobasew day-to-day; No Ovechkin tonight; Russo's Friday the 13th cab ride

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild pregame skate Updated: November 13, 2009 - 10:58 AM

Good morning from our nation's capital, where Chicago-born Robbie Earl has just landed on emergency recall from Houston. Earl is up because Chuck Kobasew has an upper-body injury and is day-to-day, but aren't we all? 

I know I am. My moronic Tampa cab driver this morning missed the airport exit, and then decided to stop short on I-275 and put the minivan in reverse. I am not kidding you. After I literally had to scream on top of my lungs to get this guy to stop (he goes, "I'll go slowly,"), he drove over the long bridge into St. Pete and performed the most illegal U-turn in the history of mankind.

Then this guy misses the exit upon his return, and then was about to make another catastrophic mistake that would have killed us both before I saved both of our lives and directed him to the airport. I handled it quite well as you can imagine (I'm getting heated up reliving it).

Then, this joker found up the nerve after I generously paid for this cab ride from you nowhere to actually offer me his business card, like in that Seinfeld episode where Babu says, "Tell your friends," after the awful experience at his restaurant. 

Well, I made it to DC. And after two cab rides and two flights on filthy planes, if I don't contract swine flu today, I'm officially immune.

Kobasew's down at the Verizon Center right now with the rest of the optional-skating Wild, so it's unclear as to whether Earl will play for Kobasew, if Kobasew will be able to play, or if maybe John Scott returns to forward if Kobasew can't play.

We will know later, so hold your horses. You people are pushy.

Josh Harding looks to be the starter. Niklas Backstrom isn't down at the rink, and normally he likes to take shots the morning of games. So it appears as if Harding will start for the first time since that Edmonton game last month.

Washington Post's Tarek El-Bashir has tweeted that Ovechkin will miss his fifth straight game tonight with a shoulder injury, but he may play tomorrow against Jersey. The Caps probably figure, let's keep Ovie away from a few Wild players that like to run around.

Varlamov in the cage. Jeff "Don't Call Me Nick" Schultz and Milan Jurcina also out, according to Tarik. Also, it sounds like David Steckel, whose grandmother passed away, will be out.

Talk to you tonight.

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