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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Bad timing: Wild lays egg in front of packed house; Scandella reassigned

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild game coverage Updated: November 21, 2010 - 10:54 AM

Updated Sunday morning with links to stories:

With three days off before Wednesday's against Philadelphia, the Wild sent back rookie defenseman Marco Scandella. Like Matt Kassian and Cody Almond after the game in Columbus a few weeks ago, it's no use having Scandella sitting around wasting salary-cap space when he can be shuttled back and forth because he doesn't require waivers. We'll see him again, no doubt. May not be Wednesday though. With the Philadelphia Flyers coming to town next, the Wild may want to go with the more physical Clayton Stoner as the sixth D.

But with three games in four nights starting next Friday, including one game in Calgary, I'd think the Wild brings back an extra defenseman (Scandella or Justin Falk) since it could be hard to get a reserve up if there's an injury.

I'm going to make this quick because 1) I've been going hard since my 5 a.m. wakeup call in downtown Detroit; 2) I hear it's an ice rink on I-94 and want to get home before the bad stuff comes down. After all, I learned to drive in South Florida, not Duluth. Awful ride home. Took me 90 minutes. Hoping everybody made it home safe last night.

Just poor timing by the Wild tonight. Marian Gaborik and Derek Boogaard returned to town and afforded the Wild a chance to fill the joint to more than capacity, with fans paying "premium" prices expecting to see a "premium" performance.

It was a golden chance for the Wild to recapture some skeptical, frustrated fans, some of which had to be curious about this team that had won six of eight and three in a row. And then the Wild demonstrated to perfection its season-long theme of going into hibernation, usually during the second period.

Often, Nik Backstrom or Jose Theodore's bailed the boys out. Not tonight. The Wild, after an even first period, was outshot 17-4 in the second period (outshot 18-3 last night in Detroit in the middle frame). A scoreless game became a 3-0 Wild deficit in a jiffy.

What's scary is after the game coach Todd Richards had no answers, said a couple, "I don't know's," as did his players. Well, as I've been writing for weeks, the Wild better figure out what's ailing them during these team-wide 20-minute snoozes because there's no way Backstrom and Theodore are going to be able to save the day on a nightly basis.

Derek Boogaard played a huge role on the first goal. Marian Gaborik had one assist, four shots and two hits. He was booed every time he touched the puck and cheered when he was hit. But the Wild turned that ire directly on itselves with the way they played from the second period on.

You can read the gamer and the new notebook for all the juicy details. The new notebook (link here) has fresh Gaborik quotes and some funny Boogaard stuff, especially his "hello" to Nik Backstrom in warmups. So check that out. Also check out my Colie Campbell column.

Wild's not practicing Sunday, so dormant blog unless there's news or I find some energy. Otherwise talk to you Monday.

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