Good afternoon from the TC, where it's just miserable out.
It's too hot.
I'll miss the muddy snow drifts, the de-ice trucks at MSP, the visible exhaust pluming from cars, the lack of leaves.
Face it, until October, there's nothing to look forward to but sweat, sunburns, driving with your windows open and going to weather.com every morning to check out the pollen count.
Plus, who wants outdoor baseball?
Busy morning down at the X, where GM Chuck Fletcher filled us in on a slew of injury updates.
By the way, Russo Radio on KSTP will be tonight at 6:20.
Goalie Josh Harding, center Andrew Ebbett and defenseman Clayton Stoner are all officially out the remaining six games.
Harding will likely go under the knife with a torn labrum. Right now, they're just figuring out the appropriate doctor, whether it'll be Vail-based hip guru Marc Phillipon, the man who operated on Marian Gaborik, Nik Backstrom and some no-name baseball player named A-Rod, or somebody else.
Ebbett blocked an Anze Kopitar shot on that late power play last night. When he took his glove off on the bench, he discovered a mangled pointer finger. He will likely undergo surgery.
Stoner's sports hernia surgery in Germany didn't take. He'll have more "extensive surgery" tomorrow (Wednesday), said Fletcher.
Chuck Kobasew is not necessarily out for the season. He does have a sprained knee again and they're trying to ascertain the best form of treatment, Fletcher said. Fletcher said Kobasew wants to play.
Cam Barker skated on his own today but is expected to be out the rest of the week with a sprained ankle. Coach Todd Richards expects that he'll be on the upcoming three-game road trip to Western Canada. Incidentally, Kim Johnsson, one of the players traded for Barker, is also out from Chicago's lineup with an "upper-body" injury, so neither player will play against their old teams tomorrow.
The Chicago writers aren't sure of Johnsson's injury, whether it's a shoulder or concussion. If it's a concussion, that would be at least his third. He had one big one in Philly and then the one in Minnesota when he got punched by Brad May in Game 4 of the '07 playoffs.
Shane Hnidy's hamstring is feeling better and if he feels good after the morning skate, he'll play against Chicago, Richards said. That would likely mean that Justin Falk is out, although Marek Zidlicky took the day off with his arm injury. But Zidlicky played very well with it last night. He competed his brains out.
Greg Zanon's mind is 100 percent and his body is about 50, so he's a sure-thing in the lineup.
With Ebbett out, Kyle Brodziak will likely move up to center Guillaume Latendresse and Marty Havlat. James Sheppard will center one line and then either Casey Wellman will move from wing back to center, or Cody Almond, who's being recalled, will play center. But Almond will play, whether it's at center or wing.
Richards said he liked Owen Nolan and Cal Clutterbuck together, so Sheppard, Wellman or Almond will center them.
Other than that, I gathered a lot of stuff today that you'll read in the coming days. Had a great interview with Brent Burns, who looked like his old self last night. Burns was rolling around the ice wrestling with Andrew Brunette and Mikko Koivu today, so you know Burns is feeling good again.
Although, as he pointed out, he was like that when "I was playing awful."
I had a great interview with Latendresse today for my Sunday column, so I highly recommend that. I'm planning on writing Burns for Sunday, too, so Sunday should be a fun Wild read.
I've forgotten to put this up a few times, but former assistant GM Tom Lynn wrote a really good piece for the Hockey News in the March 15 edition (the one with Sidney Crosby on the cover). Lynn talks about some Wild trades made during the Doug Risebrough regime and gave some fun behind-the-scenes color on what it was like for Lynn to call certain players and inform them they'd been traded.
Lynn had some funny lines (like Patrick O'Sullivan joke he made to Kings GM Dean Lombardi on the draft floor) and some touching lines (like his call to Ryan Hamilton when he traded him for Robbie Earl). I don't think there's a link on the hockey news web site, so you'd have to either go to a magazine store or maybe order a back copy on the hockey news' web site.
Lynn has crossed to the dark side -- the media biz -- since being let go by GM Chuck Fletcher last June, but Lynn hopes to get back into the management scene when a number of jobs surely open up leaguewide this offseason.