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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Richards adjusts lines

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under Wild pregame skate Updated: January 25, 2011 - 12:46 PM

Greetings. Youngblood here picking up the last installment of the four-game road trip. I think Russo is already in the sun somewhere.

Anyway, here's what was gleaned from the morning skates today.

First, Chicago: Neither Jonathan Toews nor Marian Hossa skated this morning. Toews has been banged up recently, but should play. Hossa is ill and will be a game-time decision.

Now, the Wild: Coach Todd Richards has made adjustments to a couple lines. He has put Chuck Kobasew on the right wing with center Matt Cullen and RW Pierre-Marc Bouchard. That means center John Madden will skate with Brad Staubitz and Eric Nystrom.

Backstrom is in net.

There is no word yet on whether Mikko Koivu or Martin Havlat will get the call to play in the All Star game as replacements for injured players who have pulled out. There is a pretty good chance that, if a call should come, it would be this afternoon. I'll let you know as soon as I know.

Talked to Barker about playing here as a visiting player. He sounded pretty stoked. "For sure," he said. "It's exciting to be back here, to play a game. Not just the game, it's everything that goes with it. People you're familiar with. Obviously the game will be fun."

Over in the Chicago dressing room Patrick Kane was asked about Baker, his old teammate who was traded to the Wild during last season.

"You were sad to see a guy like that go," Kane said. "He was a really good guy in the dressing room. Lots of laughs with him. It was tough to see him go in the middle of the season when you're making a (Stanley) Cup run. he could have been a part of it."

That's about it. I'll get back to you after the game.

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