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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Wild bringing skilled lineup to St. Louis; Dowell on waivers, Steckel released

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild pregame skate, Wild training camp Updated: September 27, 2013 - 3:04 PM

UPDATED

Mike Yeo said yesterday he planned to go with a "skilled lineup" tonight in St. Louis, and that he is.

In an intimidating arena against a big team, no Zenon Konopka or Jake Dowell. Ryan Suter and Keith Ballard also get the night off. Same with Niklas Backstrom

Yeo is trying to get a lot of answers tonight in what could be the final audition for one of the youngsters in the lineup.

Josh Harding gets the start. Johan Gustafsson has been recalled to back up as Backstrom stayed home.

Zach Parise-Mikko Koivu-Jason Pominville

Dany Heatley-Charlie Coyle-Justin Fontaine

Matt Cooke-Kyle Brodziak-Torrey Mitchell

Jason Zucker-Mikael Granlund-Nino Niederreiter

D are:

Jonas Brodin (playing left side for first time I can remember)-Nate Prosser

Marco Scandella-Jared Spurgeon

Clayton Stoner-Matt Dumba

Yeo said he plans to juggle the lines a lot less tonight, but it will be interesting to see if any of the skilled forwards on the fourth line get an opportunity to slot up.

The Wild has also placed Dowell and Tyler Cuma on waivers. Dowell wouldn't need to be reassigned to Iowa right away if he clears. It just gives the Wild roster flexibility -- perhaps to even keep all the kids or eventually sign Steckel.

Steckel has been released from his tryout. As of now, Steckel plans to sign an AHL deal and play in Iowa as he waits for an opportunity with the Wild or elsewhere. The Wild informed Steckel of the situation yesterday. There's just no room with Konopka here and the kids playing well. So Steckel will return to Columbus, where he lives, for a few days. If no NHL job comes up, he'll report to Iowa.

Again, just because Dowell is on waivers doesn't mean all the kids make it. Dowell is still with the team and it's hard to imagine the Wild would permanently have one of its prospects be the 13th (extra) forward.

The opening night roster will hopefully become clearer before the Wild heads to Duluth on Sunday.

Cuma has been cleared to return from a knee injury. He is in Iowa already. Brett Bulmer is still getting healthy and will officially be reassigned to Iowa when that occurs.

Follow on @russostrib tonight.

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