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.

Also find Russo on Facebook.

Email Michael to talk about hockey.

Wild returns with same lineup tonight vs. Chicago; Heatley undergoes surgery

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild pregame skate Updated: April 9, 2013 - 12:14 PM
The Wild has returned from a three-game road trip to open a three-game homestand tonight against the best team in the NHL – at least in terms of the standings, the Chicago Blackhawks
 
That fact alone should keep the Wild from having your typical first-game-after-a-long-road-trip blues, coach Mike Yeo says (hopes).
 
“Coming back off a long road trip, it’s probably a good thing to be playing the team we are playing tonight,” Yeo said. “We shouldn’t have to worry about a lack of urgency or focus or not being prepared to play. A team like this has a way of bringing out the best in you.”
 
The Wild is coming off an impressive 3-0 win in Columbus. But even more so than the win, the Wild got back to playing the right way and showed what it looks like when it plays well.
 
“And especially just finally having a day (Saturday) of practice and seeing us come out execution-wise, focus-wise, just being able to get back to our game, that was [important],” Yeo said. “And seeing the result when we do it. There were a lot of positives.”
 
The Blackhawks are the best offensive and defensive teams in the NHL, can roll four lines, have starpower everywhere, etc. The Wild needs all four lines going tonight and playing responsibly because Chicago is dangerous and can strike quickly and often. We saw that in Chicago in early March when the game got away from the Wild in a blink of the eye late in the first.
 
Dany Heatley underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder this morning at the Cleveland Clinic. There is no updated timetable on Heatley, but Yeo said Sunday the hope is he returns before the regular season ends.
 
Matt Cullen did not skate today and Yeo had no update. “More of an update later. He’s meeting with the doctor today,” Yeo said. Hopefully that’s not a bad sign. I always felt it would be a couple weeks at least with this lower body injury. We will see. Today is one week and one day.  
 
Yeo said they’re hoping to get Josh Harding out with them very soon. He’s still been taking the ice before team skates.
 
Same lineup tonight against the Blackhawks, meaning defensemen Tom Gilbert and Brett Clark are scratched.
 
Niklas Backstrom vs. Ray Emery tonight. Patrick Sharp returns for Chicago, because you know, the Hawks don’t have enough firepower.
 
I’ll be on Hockey Night in Canada Radio on Sirius 207, XM 92 at 2:30 p.m. CT. I’ll also be on the arena cam on NHL Network at 5:40 p.m.ish CT

ADVERTISEMENT

Philadelphia - R. Hernandez 6:05 PM
Washington - D. Fister
Seattle - R. Elias 6:05 PM
Baltimore - W. Chen
Texas - J. Williams 6:05 PM
Cleveland - D. Salazar
Colorado - F. Morales 6:08 PM
Detroit - J. Verlander
Cincinnati - M. Latos 6:10 PM
Miami - J. Cosart
San Francisco - R. Vogelsong 6:10 PM
NY Mets - J. Niese
LA Angels - M. Shoemaker 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Hellickson
NY Yankees - C. Capuano 6:10 PM
Boston - A. Ranaudo
Minnesota - L. Darnell 7:10 PM
Chicago WSox - C. Sale
Toronto - J. Happ 7:10 PM
Houston - C. McHugh
Milwaukee - W. Peralta 7:15 PM
St. Louis - A. Wainwright
Kansas City - J. Guthrie 8:35 PM
Oakland - S. Gray
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez 8:40 PM
Arizona - V. Nuno
Atlanta - M. Minor 9:10 PM
San Diego - E. Stults
Chicago Cubs - K. Hendricks 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - D. Haren
NY Giants 8/3/14 7:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/7/14 6:00 PM
NY Jets
San Francisco 8/7/14 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New England 8/7/14 6:30 PM
Washington
Cincinnati 8/7/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
Seattle 8/7/14 8:00 PM
Denver
Dallas 8/7/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Philadelphia 7:00 PM
Sporting Kansas City
Winnipeg 27 FINAL
Hamilton 26
Toronto 6:00 PM
Montreal
Brt Columbia 9:00 PM
Calgary
Saskatchewan 8/2/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/7/14 7:30 PM
Winnipeg
Edmonton 8/8/14 6:00 PM
Montreal
Hamilton 8/8/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/9/14 6:30 PM
Calgary
Connecticut 7:00 PM
San Antonio
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT