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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Zidlicky out tonight vs. Sharks

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild pregame skate Updated: March 17, 2011 - 4:26 PM

Just sitting here working and it dawned on me I didn't blog.

That's how little's going on with the team right now. Thank goodness, the idle days are over for a bit and the Wild actually plays a game again.

If I wanted to cover one game every six or seven days, I'd cover football.

This has been a long road trip, mostly because the Wild's 0-3. It hopes to snap that donut tonight against the strong San Jose Sharks. The Wild hasn't lost four in a row all year, well, at least in regulation.

The Sharks are 19-4-3 in their past 26, but the Wild seems to be in good spirits. The team has gotten a lot of help during the idle days with teams in front actually losing, so at least if the Wild can get itself on a hot streak, it's not over yet.

Tonight it'll have to compete without defenseman Marek Zidlicky, who has a tight hamstring. Clayton Stoner should move back with Greg Zanon. The two were good together during Zidlicky's six weeks or so out with a shoulder separation. Marco Scandella will play for Zidlicky.

On the power play, coach Todd Richards will use either a forward at the point or Nick Schultz, he said.

Jose Theodore was sick yesterday, but he skated today and will backup Niklas Backstrom.

The Sharks are without Dany Heatley, who's serving a two-game suspension for elbowing Dallas' Steve Ott. My favorite quote was this, and I admit, I did ask him the leading question with a grin on my face, but I asked what he thought of Steve Ott calling his elbow "cheap."

“I’m not going to get into a war of words with him. Obviously he’s taken his fair share of suspensions in the league. For him to all of the sudden have a halo on his head is kind of funny.”

Niclas Wallin is also out for the Sharks. Looks like Antti Niemi will start. Antero Niittymaki is their other goalie, so either way it'll be a Finn and the Wild hasn't done well against the Finnish goalie contingent on the trip (0-2, Lehtonen and Rinne).

That's it from me. Told you it's light today.

I'll be on XTRA Sports 860 in San Francisco at 4:40 p.m. CT and Russo Radio is tonight at 6:20 p.m. CT on 1500 ESPN in the Twin Cities.

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