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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Crashing the net

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under Wild practice Updated: December 30, 2010 - 3:27 PM

Greetings. Youngblood here. I was at practice today with Russo getting the day off. But I still got totally Russoed.

Let me explain.

I was on the phone -- with Russo -- while on the way to work today. I know. Driving and talking. Anyway, while on the phone, I got pulled over for speeding. Got a ticket. Grrrrr.. So I took the ticket, closed the window, got going to practice. When I arrived, the Wild PR folks already knew about the ticket. Russo called and told them.

After practice I made my way to the office, where everybody already knew. Russo called and told them. I'm surprised he didn't put a tweet about about it. I GOT A TICKET.

Anyway, back to practice.

Lots of injury news and updates here:

1. On the final drill of practice Wild defenseman Marco Scandella tried to push through a defender on his way to the net. He got there, big time, colliding with goaltender Niklas Backstrom, who grabbed his knee and fell to the ice, where he stayed for a while with Scandella, worried, hovering above. Backstrom was tended to by the medical staff and eventually rose on his own power and skated off. He looked to be moving around OK after practice, off the ice, as well.

Backstrom is slated to start tomorrow against Nashville, and coach Todd Richards said he assumed Backstrom would be fine, though Backstrom will be re-checked Friday morning to make sure.

As for Scandella? Asked jokingly if Scandella was going to be waived this afternoon, Richards said, "That's how you learn a lot of times."

2. Cal Clutterbuck, who has been dealing with a nagging injury, did not practice today. Richards called the day off a "maintenance'' decision. He'll be a game-day decision. If he can't play, Patrick O'Sullivan would be the fill-in forward.

3. Richards hadn't gotten an official update on defenseman Marek Zidlicky's shoulder injury as of Thursday afternoon. But: "He's going to be out for some time," Richards said. "He wont' be back in the next two weeks, that's for sure. I can guarantee that."

That means the Wild will announce a call-up from Houston later this afternoon. I would think the best bet would be the return of Jared Spurgeon, but we'll see in a couple hours.

Losing Zidlicky is a big blow. "He's one of our better puck-moving guys on the back end," Richards said. "He's a power-play guy, penalty kill. He's an every-situation player. One of the important things about being good offensively is making that first pass. I don't know if we have anybody who does it better than him. When you take that out of the lineup, it will be a blow to any team."

 

 

That's about it. Have a good day and don't speed. If you do, and get caught, don't tell Russo.

 

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