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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Rubbing it in from gorgeous Northern California, with some Wild tidbits sprinkled in

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild practice Updated: January 21, 2011 - 6:46 PM

 

 

Look at that, palm trees in front of the Shark Tank!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's a brisk 65 here today. It was so chilly, I had to change from a T-shirt to a golf shirt. I wore my sun glasses to practice, which caused me to get chirped by a million people, especially the distracted players on the ice and in the locker room.

They're prescription. I didn't want to lose my eyeglasses because it's so sunny out and when I don't wear glasses, I get a headache. That was the reason. I wasn't Hollywooding it up.

So, I'd like to remind you, earlier this season when we were in Florida, Minnesota got its first snow shower. In December, when we were in LA, the Snownami hit Minnesota. And now we're in NoCal, and it's the coldest day of the winter in Minnesota.

I love those Hockey Gods. Just an fyi, the Wild goes to Phoenix on Feb. 4 and 5. If I were you, I'd book a trip out of Minnesota that weekend right this second. I forecast frigid temperatures and a blizzard.

Every road trip should end with three days in San Jose, and this yes, is the end of the road trip for me. Kent is covering the game in Chicago.

Great practice down at HP Pavilion this afternoon. The Wild looked good, was loose and sharp. Clayton Stoner is perfectly fine from the Curtis Glencross hit. Reportedly, he got fined $2,500. That'll teach him!!!!

Jose Theodore practiced fully today and he will back up Niklas Backstrom vs. San Jose. Theodore felt great, he said, and "he looked great," coach Todd Richards said. Speaking of Theodore, I did a big profile on him for Saturday's paper. Also YouTube Jose Theodore and NOFX and Jose Theodore and Simple Plan and Jose Theodore and Pennywise, I believe.

Theodore is an avid guitar player and is buddy buddy with a ton of bands. He's been on stage with many during concerts.

John Madden was the only player who did not practice today. It was a maintenance day and he was limping around, but he watched practice and is expected to play tomorrow. If for some reason he can't go, Cody Almond will play.

Marco Scandella was supposed to ride the bike yesterday to see how he was feeling. Richards did not yet have a report if he was symptom-free from his concussion after the bikeride, but Richards said he won't join the trip in Chicago. Great news for Scandella. The Wild's rookie dinner is in Chicago, so he gets off scot-free.

Poor Cody Almond though. And Jared Spurgeon. And Clayton Stoner. Anton Khudobin didn't realize how lucky he was with his reassignment.

Speaking of Spurgeon, another tremendous game in Calgary. Honestly, if there were third assists, he would have had a three-point night. He created at least two goals by getting the puck up ice or out. You just keep waiting for him to get exposed or embarrassed, and he never does. Even Edmonton, where I thought he was jittery with half the arena a friend or family member, it never cost the Wild.

How about Darcy Kuemper, the Wild stud prospect goaltender. Has been WHL Goalie of the Week 152 times this year and now was just named Canadian Hockey League Goalie of the Week.

Bunch of league news, eh? Peter Forsberg back practicing with Colorado, although unsigned as of now. Evgeni Nabokov signed by Detroit and likely being claimed off waivers Saturday. By who? Washington maybe? Chicago? Philly? San Jose?

Heck, 2 weeks ago when Backstrom and Theodore were down, maybe it would have been the Wild.

And Dean Lombardi, the LA GM, fined 50K for disparaging comments made about NHL exec Mike Murphy. As somebody joked on Twitter, Lombardi should have boarded Murphy and he would have escaped with a $2,500 fine.

Talk to you after the morning skates Saturday. Stay warm!

 

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