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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Sick ward continues inside Wild locker room: Koivu, Kobasew ailing

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild pregame skate Updated: October 19, 2010 - 1:35 PM

Potential issue tonight at the X.

While second-line forwards Matt Cullen and Martin Havlat and defenseman Nick Schultz were back on the ice this morning, center Mikko Koivu was not and winger Chuck Kobasew went sprinting for the exits soon after hitting the ice.

There's a bug crawling through the Wild locker room.

Cullen, Havlat and Schultz should be good to go, but it sounds like Colton Gillies will be making his season debut for Kobasew.

As for Kaptain Koivu, he looked paler than normal, but coach Todd Richards said he would be "shocked" if Koivu didn't play. If by chance he can't play, Eric Nystrom will likely move from wing to center and all the lines could be shuffled. Like I said though, Richards anticipates Koivu will play.

But............if by chance he can't, as of now, the Wild doesn't have a forward up here to replace him, so either somebody's in transit from Houston or Richards will have to play 11 forwards and seven defensemen (Clayton Stoner being the seventh).

Regardless, Richards said Guillaume Latendresse, in Chateau Bow-wow, will move from the fourth line to the second line and get a chance to return to Richards' good graces. Latendresse knows he's got to be better and he talked about that this morning. See tomorrow's notebook.

If Koivu plays, it appeared as if Cal Clutterbuck would move from the second line to the third to the right of Nystrom and John Madden, while Gillies would likely end up on Line No. 4 with Kyle Brodziak and Brad Staubitz.

I'm as interested to find out whom the Wild allows on their plane tomorrow. Remember, the Wild, under this regime, usually have sick players fly commercial. Also, because it won't be easy to call up reinforcements in Canada, do the Wild call up a player tomorrow just as insurance?

Gillies was all smiles to be up today. Remember, he hasn't played a game since 2008-09 season. Asked if he's matured, he showed off his beard.

Could there eventually be a Nystrom from Gillies goal for the first time in the NHL in 25 or 26 years?

"That'd be sick," said Nystrom.

Remember, Nystrom is the son of Islanders great and Michael Russo/Nassau County Hall of Famer Bobby Nystrom and Gillies is the third or 10th or 20th cousin 10 times removed (NOT THE NEPHEW) of Islanders great and Hockey Hall of Famer Clark Gillies.

Just as a flashback, here's the note I did on Gillies after he scored his first NHL goal against the Islanders in 2008. I contacted Clark Gillies, essentially wondering why Colton never met his "uncle."

Not his nephew

Contrary to the 2007 NHL Draft guide, the 2008 Wild media guide and countless sites in cyberspace, Wild rookie Colton Gillies is not the nephew of Hall of Famer Clark Gillies.
"I've traced it to Colton being the son of my cousin's son, so I think that would make him my third cousin, right?" Clark Gillies, a financial adviser in New York, said, laughing. "
While the two have never met, Clark hopes to go to dinner with Colton in New York in March.
"I've paid attention to his career [from afar]," said Clark Gillies. "I've heard all kind of great, glowing things." ...

Onward:

-- Roberto Luongo in the cage for the Canuckleheads tonight. Check out the preview box on www.startribune.com/wild to see Luongo's ugly numbers in St. Paul. And remember, his first ever game here was a 0-0 tie vs. Jamie McLennan in 2000.

--Lastly, Richards said Jose Theodore's first start will come Thursday in Edmonton or Friday in Vancouver. He hasn't determined which game, largely because it probably has to do with how tonight goes. If the Wild wins, I doubt Richards wants to change too much.

Remember the other day when I said if it were me, I'd start Theodore in Edmonton judging by how Niklas Backstrom has played there? Not so fast.

Theodore's numbers there are worse:

EDM
5-10-0, 3.72, .869
Home 3-4-0, 3.12, .888
Road 2-6-0, 4.21, .854

VAN
11-10-3, 2.72, .906
Home 6-3-1, 1.89, .937
Road 5-7-2, 3.34, .882

Maybe they call up Anton Khudobin?

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