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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Bouchard "symptom-free," aiming for Opening Night; 18 Wild players on the ice

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild news Updated: January 7, 2013 - 1:53 PM
 
Pierre-Marc Bouchard, who sustained a season-ending concussion last January, says he is “pretty much symptom-free” and says he is aiming to play his first game in more than a year on Opening Night.
 
Good afternoon from Xcel Energy Center, where 18 Wild players are wearing Wild sweaters in the Wild’s arena and are skating on the Wild’s ice in front of me. Unofficial, yes, as management and coaches watch from the stands, but the first sign the lockout is all but over (pending ratification).
 
I talked on the phone this morning with Bouchard because originally there was no access to the players today. That is why I had to postpone the chat today. We will reschedule, hopefully Tuesday (I will promote if so).
 
Bouchard said he will sit with the Wild staff – doctors, trainers and GM Chuck Fletcher – this week to plan his point of attack for training camp. He has not been cleared to play yet because he hasn’t faced the final hurdle – contact.
 
“My guess is training camp will be my last test,” Bouchard said. “It’ll be intense, I’ll be able to get into physical stuff, game-like situations, but I still don’t know.”
 
But asked if it’ll be pushing it to be ready by the opener, he said, “No, no, no, I I don’t think it’ll be pushing it. We’ve been taking it step by step and making sure I don’t jump one. We’ll see during training camp, but I feel good.”
 
The players on the ice with skating instructor Andy Ness today are Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, Josh Harding, Niklas Backstrom, Devin Setoguchi, Jake Dowell, Nate Prosser, Matt Kassian, Matt Cullen, Justin Falk, Bouchard, Tom Gilbert, Kyle Brodzy, Clayton Stoner, Jared Spurgeon, Stephane Veilleux, Darroll Powe and Cal Clutterbuck.
 
Mikko Koivu and Dany Heatley are expected in town Tuesday. I’d assume Zenon Konopka and Torrey Mitchell soon as well. Mikael Granlund and Marco Scandella are right now still with Houston.
 
More later.

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