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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Clutterbuck likely to play against the Ducks

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild pregame skate Updated: November 17, 2010 - 1:42 PM

Coach Todd Richards expects that winger Cal Clutterbuck, who missed most of Sunday's game at Tampa with an upper body injury, will play tonight against the Anaheim Ducks. Clutterbuck skated this morning and has extra protection around the area.

How effective he'll be is the real question. He's clearly injured, so it'll be interesting to see if he'll be able to be as physical.

Clutterbuck's been one of the Wild's most effective players this season. He's played left or right wing on the top three lines, and Richards praised Clutterbuck heavily today for not altering his game depending on the line he's on. Often times if you're a third liner one day and a second or first liner the next, you start to change your game and think you're suddenly a skilled guy. But Clutterbuck's brought the same energy, physicality and crash the net mentality to every line, Richards said.

Richards basically has said recently that it's not a coincidence that whatever line Clutterbuck's been on the past few weeks has been the Wild's most threatening. He's starting to be rewarded with goals, too, with four in the past five games.

As for the rest of the lineup, no changes. Niklas Backstrom in goal. Clayton Stoner the lone healthy scratch. Brent Burns will complete his two-game suspension and return Friday in Detroit. Looks like Aaron Voros is out for the Ducks, who have lost two in a row after winning six in a row.

Richards said Jose Theodore will start one of the next two games. I'd think Theodore actually starts in Detroit and Backstrom against the Rangers. Theodore has yet to play at home.

Remember, Marian Gaborik and Derek Boogaard return to the X on Saturday. Gaborik missed last year's home game because of a leg injury. Boogaard and Clutterbuck were real good and funny on the returns today, and you can read that story in Saturday's paper.

Talked to Eric Nystrom about his first goal of the season Sunday -- an empty netter that rang the post first. He was funny talking about that. You can read that in tomorrow's notebook.

I've gotten a lot of emails and Twitter questions asking my opinion of the Colin Campbell email-gate, as dissected by hockey blogger Tyler Dellow at this link. I'll weigh in on that in my Sunday column. Not overly surprised Campbell stepped over the line and got involved with his son from a league capacity. And no matter what he and the league says, he did cross the line. And from somebody who's been on the other end of many a Colie Campbell email, I'm definitely not  surprised by the tone of some of his emails.

I will tell you this, however. 1) I do believe Campbell's a man of integrity, although suddenly his professionalism is of huge question. 2) I covered Campbell's son, Gregory, in Florida. He's a good kid, good player and I feel for him that he's become part of this story. Can't be easy for him to share a locker room now with Marc Savard, whom Campbell called the "biggest faker going" in some of those emails. Anyway, read the Sunday column.

I know, there's a lot of 'read this' in here, but I can't put everything on the blog. Otherwise, why read the paper?

Speaking of reading the paper, this may have gotten overshadowed in Sunday's paper, but here's Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman talking about the tough decision he had the spring before when he heavily considered becoming the Wild GM. In the end, he and owner Craig Leipold just realized it was a year too soon to run his first NHL team.

Talk to you tonight.

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