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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Lots of Wild news: Bouchard scratched, Kassian on waivers; Spurgeon returns; Kuemper debuts

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild player moves, Wild pregame skate Updated: February 12, 2013 - 6:08 PM

It's been a busy, busy news day in Vancouver for the Wild.

It started off with the news that Josh Harding won't dress tonight because he is feeling "off" due to what he says is his body's reaction to new medication to treat his multuple sclerosis.

Then, news that Marco Scandella was reassigned to make room for goalie Darcy Kuemper, who is expected to make his NHL debut tonight. He is on fire in Houston, having won five of his last six starts with the second-best goals against average and save percentage in the American Hockey League.

The Wild, my guess, doesn't want to force Backstrom into back-to-back games, especially with a home game Thursday against Colorado.

Other news today:

-- I am hearing through the grapevine that my Twitter gut feeling from early this morning wasn't just indigestion.

Pierre-Marc Bouchard will be a healthy scratch tonight. The playmaker has one goal in the past 10 games and one assist in 12 games this season. He has played on the fourth line the past two games and last night was taken off the No. 1 power play in the third period after a rough first few power plays.

Bouchard can't get into the top-6 now because he has struggled and he is useless on the fourth line. Bouchard talked about his early-season struggles to our Kent Youngblood the other day.

Coach Mike Yeo is speaking at 5 p.m. CT, so I will confirm this then. But I'm confident what I'm hearing is true.

That means Torrey Mitchell returns. He was only out of the lineup because of a numbers game and it gives the Wild some fresh legs in the second of a back-to-back.

-- Matt Kassian, on pins and needles all day thinking he was being traded, has been placed on waivers. He hasn't played this season and there had to come a point where the Wild gave him a chance to move on.

If Kassian is claimed off waivers, he simply goes to another team. If he clears, he can be assigned to Houston and earn his prorated NHL salary of $575,000.

“As a player you want to play, and obviously as a player you want to be in the NHL,” Kassian said. “One way or another, it will be good to be playing again.”
 
-- Defenseman Jared Spurgeon has been activated off IR and will play tonight for the first time in 10 games. He had a bone bruise. My guess right now is he's paired with Justin Falk (and Nate Prosser is scratched) just so the Wild can have a lefty-righty thing going. We will find out when Yeo speaks. I thought Prosser played real well two games ago. I thought both Falk and Prosser had some tough moments last night in Calgary.
 
It does seem like when Prosser plays, the Wild typically wins though.
 
By the way, I got 50 tweets today demanding to know why Falk or Prosser or Clayton Stoner aren't out of the lineup before Scandella. They all require waivers to get to Houston and earn their NHL salaries there. This is the fact of life for every NHL player. Waivers rule the day. Stoner, Falk and Prosser used to have their destiny fairly or unfairly decided for the same reasons.
 
I will be on Fox Sports North tonight at 8:30 p.m. CT and on the first intermission.

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