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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Cullen, Zanon, Madden banged up; Wild to call up forward; Theodore to start at Los Angeles

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild practice Updated: December 10, 2010 - 6:43 PM

Good early evening back in the very cold, soon-to-be-very-snowy Twin Cities. I hope you weren't holding your breath for my blog. If so, you turned blue.

Late one, I know, but things to do, people to see, coffee to drink.

I just met Aaron, a contestant, from the Biggest Loser. I must confess, I've never seen the show (although it'd be good for me to enroll), but I just went to the show's web site, and that guy should be proud of himself. Aaron's dropped a lot of weight.

Very nice guy -- he held the elevator for me. He said all the contestants are staying at my hotel because the Finals are Tuesday on NBC.

The Wild practiced out here in El Segundo at 3:30 p.m. CT/1:30 PT. 

Matt Cullen (groin), Greg Zanon (arm) and John Madden (upper) didn't practice. Coach Todd Richards said Cullen was doubtful, although Cullen got treatment today and said, "Don't count me out." 

Richards called Zanon and Madden "dings," and said they are possible to play Saturday night vs. the Kings. In fact, he made it sound like they would. Zanon's arm injury was from blocking that shot in the waning moments last night at Phoenix.

If Zanon can't play, Jared Spurgeon and Clayton Stoner will play. If Zanon can play, Spurgeon will play again, Richards said, and Stoner will be scratched.

The Wild's calling up a forward in the morning to perhaps make his Wild debut.

I'll tell you whom it is when I'm given permission either tonight, but I've been sworn to secrecy (it'll be in Saturday's paper, at least). If Cullen and Madden can't play, this player will definitely make his debut and Brad Staubitz will be reinserted. If one plays and the other cannot, I still believe this callup will make his Wild debut and Staubitz will be scratched. If both plays, Staubitz and the callup will likely be scratched.

GOT IT?

Jose Theodore will start in nets vs. the Kings and Niklas Backstrom will Sunday night at Anaheim.

Lots of good spirits at practice today. That's what a win will do for ya. Sgt. Slaughter -- aka J.B. Spisso -- made the trip with the team and even humored all the players today by taking the ice for practice.

As Richards joked, the only place he'd suggest anybody fighting this energetic former Army Ranger is on the ice. Skating his not his strong suit, although he gives "110 percent" and blamed his sketchy skating on a broken foot.

I got lots of hangover notes for Sunday's paper today because Kent Youngblood wrote a Spurgeon feature for Saturday's paper and I needed to hold a bunch of stuff because the Wild's having an extremely optional morning skate Saturday.

The reason? The team is staying by the Staples Center, but the arena is unavailable for the morning skate because the Clippers are hosting Memphis at 12:30 p.m. local.

That means the Wild's skate is at the Kings' practice facility by the airport. Few players are expected to report, other than a couple who will go down there to let Theodore see some shots.

That's it for me. Talk to you next Saturday night.

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