Good afternoon from the SKY Club at MSP Airport, where the guy in the cubicle next to me is screaming at his IT department that "this computer is a piece of" ...

Gotta love business travelers. So cool, calm and collected.

Heading to St. Louis this afternoon for Friday's tilt between the Wild, which is looking to avoid matching a franchise-record seven-game road regulation losing streak, and the Blues, who are 1-3-1 since Sweden.

Niklas Backstrom will start for the Wild. After the game, the team will make a decision about Saturday's game against Carolina.

Petr Sykora, who missed the past four games with a strained groin, practiced for the first time since Oct. 10 today. He partook in all the physical aspects of practice and coach Todd Richards said he could "possibly" play against St. Louis. Cal Clutterbuck is a very tired guy with a very tired leg, so he'll be out at least until next week.

He is going to travel to St. Louis, but he said it's now a stamina thing (get in game shape) and a mental thing (believing what the doctors say that he can do no further damage and just feeling confident that he can play through pain). More on that in the paper tomorrow.

It was an optional today. Guys that didn't practice were Burns, Nolan, Brunette, Koivu, Miettinen, Belanger, Zanon, Havlat and Johnsson. The first seven played soccer hackysack today. Everybody survived.

Lastly, I got a lot of emails from upset Wild fans with DISH Network who couldn't get last night's game. I sent it on to the Wild, and this is from Bill Robertson, VP of Communications and Broadcasting:

“Last night DISH Network experienced technical difficulties and did not air the Minnesota Wild-Colorado Avalanche game on FS-North in the Minnesota market place. We have been assured it will not happen for Saturday’s Carolina-Minnesota match-up on FS-North and for future Minnesota Wild broadcasts on DISH Network. Not at any time did the NHL, FS-North or Wild organization black-out this game. We are sorry for this inconvenience and thank you for your inquiry and support.”

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Wild 3, Avalanche 2 (SH); Slight Bouchard update

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Wild vs. St. Louis Blues; No Sykora