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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Mikael Granlund returning tonight for the Wild

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild news, Wild pregame skate Updated: December 22, 2013 - 4:50 PM

Mikael Granlund's much-anticipated return to the Wild's lineup will occur tonight against the New York Rangers and he will be reunited on the second line with Nino Niederreiter and Jason Pominville to see, as coach Mike Yeo said, if they can "rekindle some of that spark they had going earlier on."

Zach Parise will play on the left side of Mikko Koivu and Charlie Coyle, while Matt Cooke will play on the left side of Kyle Brodziak and Dany Heatley.

Mike Rupp, scratched in the past six games, will play against the Rangers in his first return to the Garden since New York traded him to the Wild in February for Darroll Powe and Nick Palmieri.

"He should be motivated," Yeo said.

Rupp will be centered by Erik Haula with Torrey Mitchell on right wing.

Zenon Konopka, Justin Fontaine and Nate Prosser are scratched.

Niklas Backstrom will start the first of maybe back-to-back games. Darcy Kuemper is indeed not coming to Philadelphia because he is hurt.

"I would like to see us play a really good game in front of him," Yeo said. "It would be nice if we could score a few more goals. The fact that we haven't been scoring goals, everything is more magnified right now, every mistake is magnified, and if we could ease a little bit of that pressure, we'd like to do that."

Granlund has missed 11 straight games and 13 of the past 14. In those 14 games, the Wild has scored 22 goals. It is not easy returning immediately from a concussion.

"We'll be realistic with our expectations, but I think there's no better way of getting right back in there than to throw him back into the fire," Yeo said.

Ice could be awful tonight: "That's kind of a trademark here," Yeo said. There was a women's basketball doubleheader here that ended at 4 p.m. The boards were just taken off and the Zamboni is roaming the surface as we speak. It's also unseasonably warm here in New York.


Washington 0
Pittsburgh 7 FINAL
Detroit 3
Miami 3 FINAL
St. Louis 2
Boston - WP: K. Couch 11 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: C. Reavis 8
NY Yankees - LP: M. Tanaka 1 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: T. Milone 3
Tampa Bay 4 FINAL
Baltimore 3
Philadelphia 6 FINAL
Toronto 10
Chicago Cubs 15 FINAL
Texas 10
Cincinnati - WP: M. Lorenzen 10 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: M. Fiers 4
Colorado 3 FINAL
San Francisco 4
Chicago WSox 2 FINAL
Los Angeles 1
Seattle 6 FINAL
Cleveland 8
Oakland - WP: J. Fuller 13 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: B. Loconsole 10
Texas 7 FINAL
Arizona 8
Houston 8 FINAL
Atlanta 5
Kansas City 4 FINAL
San Diego 1
Atlanta 95 FINAL
Detroit 105
Indiana 106 FINAL
Brooklyn 111
San Antonio 95 FINAL
Miami 81
Golden State 110 FINAL
LA Clippers 106
New Jersey 2 FINAL(OT)
Columbus 3
Carolina 2 FINAL
Washington 4
Florida 2 FINAL
Boston 3
Ottawa 2 FINAL(SO)
Detroit 1
Tampa Bay 1 FINAL
Toronto 3
NY Rangers 3 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Vancouver 5 FINAL(SO)
Nashville 4
UT Martin 66 FINAL
Evansville 79
Miami-Florida 60 FINAL
Temple 57
Northern Ariz 68
Stanford 67 FINAL
Old Dominion 60
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