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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Wild aims to find more consistency in game; Injury, personnel updates

Posted by: Michael Russo under On the road, Vikings, Brad Childress, Brad Childress, Wild practice Updated: November 22, 2010 - 2:38 PM

As you can imagine, tomorrow's Star Tribune is all about the Wild. Above the fold, below the fold, centerpiece, even A1.

So make sure you buy a copy, plus there may be some Vikings news in the middle of the sports section.

Maybe the longest practice of the Wild season this morning down at the X as players put in a "good work day," as Matt Cullen said, in an effort to fix what's been ailing the team lately, and really all season. The team goes into 20-minute lulls, and they're trying to figure out the reasons why. More on that in the paper.

In honor of the team I cover, and to be fair SBN's Bryan Reynolds gave me the idea on Twitter, I watched the beginning and end of practice and went for a 20-minute coffee break in the middle. And as Jess Myers joked on Twitter, there will be a blank three graphs right in the middle of my story in Tuesday's paper.

Oh, Twitter. Such comedy.

As for news, center John Madden and defenseman Marek Zidlicky missed practice with what coach Todd Richards called sore legs. Richards believes both should be able to practice Tuesday. Cal Clutterbuck is playing through a debilitating injury. No need to identify the issue, but he got hit right on the spot today and took a long time to get up off the ice. But he said he'll be OK and is able to play through the injury.

Guillaume Latendresse continues to be out of sight, out of mind. Chuck Kobasew didn't practice and is still a ways off.

Richards indicated that defenseman Clayton Stoner will play Wednesday against the big, bad Philadelphia Flyers. He also said with three games in four days starting Friday, two on the road and commercial travel potentially a problem during the holidays, the team will probably call up an extra defenseman at least before it hits the road for Denver.

He did indicate that the team was kicking around maybe bringing up another forward Tuesday. There are two forwards on waivers, too, as some fans have pointed out to me on Twitter and email today. 

--Anaheim put White Bear Lake's Ryan Carter on waivers (and he's local, so the Wild owes it to Minnesotans everywhere to take a look).  

--And Carolina put former Wild second-round pick Patrick O'Sullivan on waivers.

I doubt the Wild has interest in Carter because it didn't have interest in him when he was on waivers this past summer, but maybe O'Sullivan.

I'm not an O'Sullivan proponent, as you probably know by now. There's a reason why he's bounced around the league like a car on an icy I-94, but he is skilled and Pierre-Marc Bouchard continues to be the most heavily practiced injured player in the history of the NHL. 

And since O'Sullivan is on a two-way deal, there'd be flexibility for any team to take him and then expose him to waivers again later in an effort to get him to the minors. So, what I'm saying, O'Sullivan could be good temporary help for any team that needs offense. 

By the way, even if the Wild has interest in O'Sullivan, there's no guarantee he'd get to them if they put in a claim. Waiver rules go from last to first in terms of claim, so a number of other teams have first dibs.

Today was actually a fun day to be around the rink. I informed the football lovers that Brad Childress was fired while they practiced. I've given a lot of players a lot of news this week, strangely enough -- some sad (Pat Burns), some not.

As you can imagine and many of you probably experienced (I know I did), hearing some of the anecdotes as to what it was like for the players and coaches to drive home after the game Saturday due to the ice storm was pretty humorous. And these are guys who grew up in winter climates, so I felt a little better about how uncomfortable I was driving.

The staches are coming in well for the players as Movember comes close to an end. Remember, Friday is the team's effort at a Guiness World Record with their stached fans, so I'll rehash those details on that in Thursday's paper and blog. Mikko Koivu and Nick Schultz's staches turned blonde to brown overnight mysteriously enough.

Nik Backstrom joked that he thinks Derek Boogaard should get fined for skating over the red line to say hi to him the other night during warmups. Backstrom said he didn't hear from Boogaard said, but, "He was there. I felt it."

After practice, some players signed autographed pucks until their hands fell off. Others were taking part in a food drive.

OK, that's it from here. Kent Youngblood is covering practice Tuesday. Maybe there'll be some news.

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