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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Latendresse upgraded from "maybe" to "possibly" vs. Colorado

Posted by: Michael Russo under On the road, Wild news, Wild pregame skate Updated: March 8, 2011 - 1:07 PM

Big clarification in bold and addition later in bold

Morning from the X.

Quick blog.

Coach Todd Richards upgraded Guillaume Latendresse's status from "maybe" to "possibly" playing tonight against Colorado. I've upgraded my belief that Latendresse will play from skeptical to very optimistic.

Latendresse will take warmups and said he's tired of waiting, so unless something goes haywire in warmups, I'd be surprised if he doesn't play.

Richards said he'll spot Latendresse into the lineup, probably with fourth-line duty and power play. His ice time is hard to project. I'd say 9 or 10 minutes, but depending on how tight the game is, how many power plays, how Latendresse looks and feels are all determining factors.

Latendresse said he's got to try to stay warm on the bench if he's sitting for awhile. He showed me what he plans to do with his legs, but he may slice open a teammate's Achilles if he actually does it . For that reason, Latendresse admitted there's not much he can do.

With Latendresse likely back in, my prediction is Eric Nystrom moves back to center and Casey Wellman is scratched. He only played nine shifts last game. If that's not the move, Brad Staubitz would likely be the scratch, or Chuck Kobasew. But Warren Peters is obviously not being pulled after his quality game against whoever the heck the Wild played the other night -- five hits, four shots, goal.

I can remember what he did, but not who the Wild faced. That time of year, I guess.

Oh, Buffalo. Killed a few brain cells there.

Andrew Brunette will play. Clayton Stoner is a gametime decision. If he can't play, Cam Barker returns.

Cal Clutterbuck is out. He's still not allowed to talk and said he'll find out tomorrow if he goes on the road trip. But Richards sounded like that was a good possibility. Mikko Koivu looked real good today, in my humble opinion. He'll be on the road trip, but won't play tonight (I'd be shocked if he doesn't play on the road trip). He looks like he's getting a better feel on his shot and passes and just an overall grip of the stick.

How about last night's LA-Dallas game? Did anybody out there really think that the two teams in front of the Wild wouldn't play a 3-point game? If you watched the game, by the way, the two teams didn't try to score the last six or seven minutes. That's how valuable that point is these days. It's what I hate about the system this time of year. Only league that games have different values, some 2 points, some 3.

Forgot to put this on, Got a bunch of questions about Rick Rypien being sent to Manitoba on a conditioning stint by Vancouver. The Wild had been told by the league that James Sheppard and Josh Harding were not allowed to be put on 14-day conditioning stints after the NHL trade deadline.

The Wild planned to call the league today to try to find out why Rypien is allowed to be put down and why Sheppard and Harding apparently are not allowed to be. This is a huge thing because Harding and Sheppard are free agents this summer. I know Harding, particularly, would love to show 1)himself and 2) other teams that he can still play.

He's close to dropping in his butterfly.

Sheppard is still a ways off from being able to play, too, but should the Wild ever need him late in the year or in the playoffs if it gets there, it would be nice if he had some games under his belt.

Anyway, if I find out what the Wild learn, I'll let you know. I've also sent NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly an email. Regardless, they wouldn't be eligible for AHL playoffs because they're not on the Aeros' Clear Day roster.

Lastly,

Marty Nanne and Bill Kozlak are hosting a fundraiser at Jax Cafe on Wednesday, March 9 for Defending The Blue Line. J.P. Parise will be the featured speaker.

Defending The Blue Line is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created by a group of National Guard soldiers in Minnesota. The charity assists families of all branches of the military with costs associated with hockey. They provide financial assistance for registration fees, free equipment, summer hockey camps, and sending many deserving families down to Xcel Energy Center for a night of fun at a Minnesota Wild game. Defending The Blue Line is excited for this opportunity to further help military families. Keeping the kids focused and active in hockey is a great way to help keep their minds off of a parent’s upcoming deployment.

For more information on this event and how you can help Defending The Blue Line visit their website at www.DefendingTheBlueLine.com.
 

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