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, post-practice

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under Wild practice Updated: December 21, 2010 - 5:00 PM

Greetings. Youngblood here, again.

 

Nick Schultz missed practice and probably won't play again until after Christmas. That's the bad news. The good news is that Wild coach Todd Richards is almost certain that Schultz, who took a blow to the head in Calgary, shouldn't be out too long.

He was hurt when he was hit while engaged in a battle with another Calgary player. "It wasn't a blindside hit," Richards said. "It was one of those things, you're engaged with somebody and can't see the whole picture, probably looking down more than looking up. And the guy came in and hit him. Maybe a little high, it's one of those things you could probably rewind and go frame by frame, we would say yes and they would say no."

That said, Richards said he hasn't contacted the league about the hit, and probably won't. 

The important thing is that Schultz shouldn't be out long. It's a head injury though the Wild is not yet calling it a concussion. He did a workout on Monday, felt good immediately afterward, though less so later in the day.

"It's day-by-day," Richards said. "I don't think it's anything serious."

 

Richards also talked about goalie Nik Backstrom, who has responded with two very strong games after some difficult starts. Richards gave Backstrom a big vote of confidence before the first Calgary game and he has been rewarded by good play out of his top goalie.

"In Calgary we played a pretty good team game," Richards said. "(Backstrom) had to be good in moments, mainly coming down the stretch when the score was 3-0. .. But I thought the last game, he was the difference in the game. He really was. Especially in the second period, when we, again, had a meltdown as far as how we want to play the game. He gave us a chance to win the game."

 

That's about it.  The Wild had a late practice, which was following with a family skate on the Xcel Energy Ice with players, wives and children. They'll get back at it tomorrow morning before boarding a plane to Colorado.

 

Have a good night.

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