This is Michael Russo's 18th year covering the National Hockey League. He's covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005 following 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. Michael 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.
Also find Russo on Facebook.
Email Michael to talk about hockey.
I will be doing another Wild blog-submitted Q and A for Sunday's newspaper.
If you have any questions that you want considered for my Q and A, please leave them in the comment section of this blog OR you can LIKE www.facebook.com/startribunemikerusso and leave questions in the comment field of the link to this blog.
One rule: Space is tight in the paper. So no long comments or War and Peace type questions. Just quick-hitting, brief questions please that you know can easily be answered in the paper. Read through the questions already submitted. If you see one that you were going to ask, try to come up with another.
In other Wild news, Mikael Granlund traveled with the team to San Jose. The team should learn after Thursday's morning skate whether or not Mike Rupp can play against the Sharks.
Granlund was reassigned to Houston on Tuesday only to be called back up on an emergency becasue Rupp was banged up. Granlund then scored against the Oilers, his first goal since Jan 19.
There weren't too many folks on the ice for Sunday's optional skate at Xcel Energy Center.
Goalies Josh Harding and Darcy Kuemper with a handful of skaters -- Nate Prosser, Justin Falk, Charlie Coyle, Mikael Granlund, Jason Zucker, Brett Clark.
As they took turns taking shots on goal at one end of the rink, Matt Cullen was at the other, working very hard on battle drills with assistant coach Darby Hendrickson. Cullen was on the ice long before anyone else. And when he came off, he had good news.
"We're getting to the point in the season where you have to be in there," said Cullen, who has missed six games with a lower body injury. "So it was a good day to push it a little bit, see how it feels in the morning, how everything is going. But it was definitely a good day. And it's definitely getting better."
Cullen is going on the trip with the Wild, which plays its next three on the road. And coach Mike Yeo said there was a chance Cullen could be in the lineup Monday night in Calgary.
"He looked really good," said Yeo, who didn't skate Sunday but did make sure to look in on Cullen. "He looked good today. We'll see how it is tomorrow."
Yeo indicated that should Cullen be ready, he'd be inclined to reunite Cullen with Devin Setoguchi, considering how well the two clicked before. The question would be who would be the third man on that line. Yeo said it would be either Jason Zucker or Pierre-Marc Bouchard.
Here are some other items from today:
--Russo blogged earlier that there would be no supplemental discipline from the NHL for his hit on Artem Anisimov early in the game with Columbus. Coyle said he wasn't surprised, that he thought it was a clean hit and that he wasn't trying to hurt anyone. But he disappoint his family, who came a long way to watch him play all of 17 seconds. The good news? His family was also around to watch the Wild game Thursday. Plus, Coyle said his two nephews enjoyed watching him fight Brandon Dubinsky Saturday.
--Yeo said center Zenon Konopka, who was wearing a cast on what is believed to be a broken foot, would not be out an extended period. "I don't think it will be a long time," Yeo said. Konopka did not fly with the team to Calgary, but Yeo said there was a chance Konopka could join them on the road trip should he heal sufficiently.
That's it. Have a good afternoon.
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