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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Charlie Coyle expected to return Friday; Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise split; Brodin practicing

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild practice Updated: October 30, 2013 - 11:21 AM

Charlie Coyle, who has missed 11 games with a sprained MCL, is expected to return Friday against the Montreal Canadiens, Wild GM Chuck Fletcher said this morning. Stephane Veilleux has been placed on waivers and will be assigned to Iowa on Thursday if he clears.

Fletcher said that he has not made a decision on defenseman Matt Dumba yet and that will not come today. The reason is the Wild only has to make a decision prior to Dumba playing his 10th game and there's a chance Dumba won't play Friday.

Defenseman Jonas Brodin, wearing a full face shield -- not a cage -- to protect his broken cheekbone, is practicing today, as well as Keith Ballard. So the Wild may be able to get one, if not both, back against the Habs.

Mike Rupp is also practicing but is not ready to return.

In today's practice, and remember, the Wild doesn't play until Friday, so this is way preliminary:

Zach Parise-Coyle-Dany Heatley/Justin Fontaine

Matt Cooke-Mikael Granlund-Jason Pominville

Nino Niederreiter-Mikko Koivu-Kyle Brodziak

Justin Fontaine/Dany Heatley-Zenon Konopka-Torrey Mitchell

Rupp is being rotated into line rushes every other rotation.

Coach Mike Yeo is rotating Heatley and Fontaine between first and fourth lines. Parise and Koivu are separated in practice for the first time since Parise joined the team. Remember, we always label first, second and third lines, so while you may jump to the conclusion that Koivu has been downgraded to the third line, that Koivu line will see more ice time than the Granlund line.

That's the way it has worked all season with the Wild. The "third line" or "checking line" always sees more ice time than the second line because that lines typically goes up against the opposing top lines.

Defense pairs are

Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon

Marco Scandella-Nate Prosser

Clayton Stoner-Keith Ballard


More later


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