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.

Also find Russo on Facebook.

Email Michael to talk about hockey.

Cullen will miss tonight's game at Los Angeles; Zanon plays, Madden gametime decision

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild pregame skate Updated: December 11, 2010 - 2:38 PM

Seventy-two degrees, not a cloud in the sky. Little smog though.

Karma's going to get me good if I keep making these weather jokes to you.

Hope you all are safe back in the Twin Cities. Quick update from the Wild's optional morning skate, which had to take place at the Kings' practice facility in El Segundo due to this afternoon's Clippers-Vancouver Grizzlies game.

Just a joke. I know the Grizzlies moved to Nashville or Knoxville or Chattanooga or something like that.

Matt Cullen is expected to miss tonight's game vs. the Kings with a groin injury. Greg Zanon, who blocked that late shot vs. Phoenix with his arm, declared himself good to go: "I'm here, ain't I?"

John Madden didn't skate this morning and is a game-time decision, coach Todd Richards said. If Madden can't play, Brad Staubitz and Warren Peters play. If Madden plays, Richards said he'll decide at gametime between Peters and Staubitz.

Jose Theodore in the cage. Clayton Stoner in the press box.

If Peters plays, he'll be the first No. 43 in Wild history. If Peters plays, he'll be the 31st player to dress for the Wild this season (counting Anton Khudobin in Finland).

Richards said the Wild's calling up different players all the time because it depends on what role it needs and who's playing the best down there in Houston at the time of the callup. For example, if they need toughness, they go with Matt Kassian. If they need a skating defenseman, they'll choose the best of the bunch, which at the time of the last callup, they felt it was Jared Spurgeon. If they need a quick-fix or fourth-line guy who may not even play, Peters gets the call -- things like that -- over the young kids.

Got a couple of emails -- some bordering on maniacal -- this morning from angry Wild fans, "Why not Wellman?" "I hate this team." "This team's a joke!"

In the words of Jacques Lemaire, "Oh My Lord," lighten up people. Work off some steam by shoveling the driveway or something.

First of all, the decision to recall Peters was made before Casey Wellman scored four goals last night. Peters was in LA before the Aeros' game was even over. The Wild was looking for a center, a quick fix, a guy to play the fourth line, a guy who may not even play tonight anyway.

Wellman's played 12 games with the Wild this season and scored no goals and one assist. The Wild wants Wellman playing down there, producing down there, getting better down there.

It's interesting how Wild fans seem to fall into two Wellman camps: When he was here, I'd get daily emails, "Send him down, the Wild need him developing, not playing 10 minutes a game." And when he's gone or not the callup, I get, "Where's Wellman?"

Anyway, that's why it's not Wellman? For now...If all of a sudden they're hit with a top-2 line injury or are in need of a skilled guy or more of a long-term solution, then they'll look at Wellman.

Also, I wanted to clarify something in my Brent Burns article the other day. Burns changed to his old CCM helmet a month or so ago. He didn't change from his M11 to his CCM after his collision last week with Zanon. In fact, no helmet would have kept Burns from getting smacked there because his mouth ran into Zanon's helmet.

Anyway, just wanted to make that clear in case some thought he changed from the M11 after the last incident. I may write about Mark Messier's M11 next week, by the way. I've written a lot about it in the past.

OK, I'm going to go back now to laughing about Dan Ellis and the Lightning whining about Linus Omark's shootout winner.

OK everybody, be safe and stay warm back in the Twin Cities. I'll be back with you tonight and you can always follow me on Twitter during the game at www.twitter.com/russostrib

  • 13
  • Comments

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT