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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Stoner returns to practice for Wild

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under Wild news, Wild player moves, Wild practice Updated: November 12, 2013 - 2:07 PM

Wild defenseman Clayton Stoner, coming back from a leg injury, was just supposed to skate on his own today before the team practiced. But he felt so good after doing so that he joined the Wild and took part in practice.

And that means there is a chance Stoner  could return to action Tuesday against Toronto.  “We’ll see how it goes as far as tomorrow,” coach Mike Yeo said.

His return would be big. Because Keith Ballard, who has missed two games with an upper body injury, was put on injured reserve Tuesday.

Here are other items from today’s practice:

--A Toronto writer at practice today, doing a story on Josh Harding, asked Yeo if he felt goalie Josh Harding should be considered for the Canadian Olympic team.

“I do,” Yeo said. “Absolutely, I do. You look at numbers, you look at stats, you look at wins, he’s certainly made a case for himself. You want players to put themselves in a position where they’re opening eyes and getting attention from other people. I think he deserves that.”

Harding is first in the league in goals-against (1.22) and tied for first with two shutouts. He is second with a .947 save percentage and seventh in wins.

Harding, who is battling multiple sclerosis, is not talking about that condition this year. Indeed, his play has pushed that issue to the back burner, something Yeo emphasized today.

“The thing about him is, if it wasn’t for all the questions I get on a day-to-day basis, I’d probably forget about it, to be honest with you,” Yeo said. “What impressed me about him? Last year it was always there, because we had to learn so much about it with the doctors. We had to have so much communication with him and with the trainers, just how to deal with it. This year it’s almost been a non-issue. He just comes to the rink and he’s just another player. He’s gone out and played at such a high level you almost forget it’s there. We’ll never forget what he has to deal with. But, at the same time, it’s impressive the way he comes to the rink. We don’t talk about it, and he doesn’t want us talking about it.”

--As expected, Mike Rupp, who has yet to play this season after having off-season knee surgery, will put in a conditioning stint with Iowa Wild. “He’ll play there Wednesday and Friday,” Yeo said. “And we’ll get him back here.”

  

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