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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Jason Zucker to miss upcoming road trip; Marco Scandella cleared to skate

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild practice Updated: February 20, 2014 - 2:07 PM

Coach Mike Yeo updated us on a couple injuries after this morning’s practice.

Wild winger Jason Zucker will miss the upcoming road trip to Edmonton and Vancouver. After a doctor’s appointment Wednesday, it was determined that Zucker won’t be able to get on the ice for another week.

The Wild leaves for Edmonton next Wednesday, plays there next Thursday and in Vancouver next Friday.

He had an operation on his leg after the Olympic break began. The good news is it’s clearly not serious. He’s got a little noticeable limp, but when the players did their off-ice workout with strength and conditioning coach Kirk Olson after practice, Zucker accompanied the group.

Also, Yeo said defenseman Marco Scandella, who sprained an MCL on Feb. 4, was cleared to begin skating alone with Olson and the hope is that Scandella can join the group in the next couple of days.

The Wild has a Friday morning practice, is off Saturday and on Sunday at 11 a.m. has a fun, open to the public practice at Roseville’s OVAL. Unless the Wild’s going to allow Scandella’s first practice to come outdoors, he’ll more than likely start practicing with the team Monday.

Yeo did say he’s very confident that Scandella will be able to practice next week.

With Zucker out, unless Mikko Koivu can definitely return by Thursday’s schedule “resumer” in Edmonton, I’ve got to think Erik Haula returns to the team (barring a trade once the freeze is lifted after 11:59 p.m. Sunday).

“I was real impressed with what he’s doing down there and real impressed with what he was doing when he was here too. Certainly he’s in our minds, but we’ve got to figure out where we’re going to be with Mikko,” Yeo said.

The Wild got into more 5-on-5 and game situations during today’s practice and Koivu, who practiced Wednesday for the first time since breaking his right ankle Jan. 4, was held out of those.

“So obviously he’s not quite there yet,” Yeo said. “But you see guys are moving. We’re going up and down the ice pretty hard. When you don’t have as many bodies, you’re getting a lot more reps, so it’s a challenge conditioning wise. He’s responded really well. He looks strong and he’s skating well. Hopefully the pain keeps decreasing for him and we get to a point where he feels comfortable enough to get into this game situation stuff.”

Really, not much else going on. Things will really ramp up next week.

Yeo graciously moved practice up to 10 a.m. Friday so he and his players can watch Zach Parise and Ryan Suter and the rest of the Americans take on Canada in the men’s hockey semifinals at 11 a.m.

Remember, Mikael Granlund and the Finns take on Sweden at 6 a.m.

Our Chip Scoggins, Rachel Blount and Carlos Gonzalez are in Sochi, so if you don’t already, give them a Twitter follow at @chipscoggins, @blountstrib and @carlosgphoto.

The U.S. women just blew a 2-0 lead late in the third to lose in the gold-medal game to Canada in overtime. Crushing defeat, to say the least.

By the way, Parise isn’t on Twitter. He emailed me yesterday that he wasn’t on Twitter, but I forgot to put it on here. So any account you’re following that has his likeness or name

Parise was born by somebody with too much time on his hands.


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