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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Konopka returns tonight for the Wild as Flames vow to be more physical

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild pregame skate Updated: February 23, 2013 - 1:20 PM

Zenon Konopka, a healthy scratch the past two games, will return to the lineup tonight when the Wild visits the Calgary Flames on Hockey Night in Canada (9 p.m. CT start).

The Flames, who have lost three of four, have been talking the last few days about being more physical. Coach Bob Hartley called out his team for not sticking up for goaltender Joey MacDonald (tonight's starter) when he was bowled over by Los Angeles' Trevor Lewis the other night.

The Flames also called up 6-foot-4 Akim Aliu for his season debut. He has 80 penalty minutes for AHL Abbotsford and 12 penalty minutes in two NHL games.

Mikael Granlund will come out of the lineup for Konopka, so the anticipated lines are:

Zach Parise-Mikko Koivu-Dany Heatley

Jason Zucker-Matt Cullen-Devin Setoguchi

Pierre-Marc Bouchard-Kyle Brodziak-Charlie Coyle

Mike Rupp-Zenon Konopka-Torrey Mitchell

Ryan Suter-Jonas Brodin

Clayton Stoner-Tom Gilbert

Nate Prosser-Jared Spurgeon

Niklas Backstrom

The Wild's power play is 3 for 32 the past 11 games. Coach Mike Yeo said the team will make some adjustments tonight to be less stationary and get more of a net-front presence. Sounds like Coyle will replace Granlund on the second unit.

In Flames lineup news, winger Mike Cammalleri will play center with Curtis Glencross and Lee Stempniak and youngster Sven Baertschi will return the lineup from a hip flexor injury.

The Flames also host Phoenix tomorrow before visiting the Wild on Tuesday.

Talk to you tonight.


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