Good afternoon from I-45, where I am currently in No Man's Land. There's not a lot of stuff going on strangely enough between Dallas and Houston. Lots of places called, "Bubba's" though.

Don't worry I've got the cruise control on, so I can multi-task.

Lots of cow pastures. We're going to be stopping at some famous rest stop halfway there called Buc-ee's, which I don't think is named after the great Buffalo News reporter Bucky Gleason.

I will be attending my first-ever Aeros home game tonight. I did see the Aeros play Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals on the road in Milwaukee last May. Watched it from Wild owner Craig Leipold's suite. Good grub in that suite.

Sooooo, this will actually be my first time ever in Houston -- outside George Bush International Airport, that is. Wild management and assistant coach Dave Barr, a former Aeros coach, will also be in the house.

I might have to stick Anton Khudobin or Wade Dubielewicz in the back seat after the game. One of them is expected to be backing up Josh Harding tomorrow. Niklas Backstrom was feeling better this morning, so he flew to Dallas to rejoin the team. He landed and he was no longer feeling, so now he's doubtful for tomorrow.

Commercial flights will do that to you.

Derek Boogaard's hamstring is tight again, so he didn't practice.

I wrote about the trade deadline for tomorrow, and gave you a little indication about what the Wild's thinking. It's looking less and less likely that the Wild will be selling since it's hard to imagine six games from now the Wild will be out of playoff contention.

Still, as for buying, I don't see a ton going to happen simply because the Wild's got limited assets and they're not trading their young assets (i.e. guys like Scandella, Cuma, Almond, etc.) for free-agent rentals.

I'll also do my Sunday column on yesterday's Toronto/Calgary-Anaheim madness and explain why the Wild doesn't have interest in guys like Ilya Kovalchuk -- contrary to made-up rumors. And quite frankly, if you've read me on a regular basis, you should understand why the Wild cannot afford to be trading for 40 days of Ilya Kovalchuk.

Nevertheless, it's the question I'm getting ad nauseum right now, so I'll include that in my Sunday stuff. Also, if you've read me for a long time, you know I don't throw stuff against the wall. So that's why there are no rumors out there on the Wild. I don't report rumors. I report what I know. I do know most the players available out there the team has no interest in by the way. When there's something concrete as far as whom they're going after, I'll report it to you. 

But I don't suspect much until post Olympic break roster freeze (Feb. 12-28). I don't see the Wild trading for guys just to pay them during the Olympic break. The Wild doesn't have that much cap room (they're about 500K under, although they can spend up to P-M Bouchard's salary over the cap IF he doesn't come back. However, GM Chuck Fletcher says he hasn't ruled out Bouchard's return. I do find that hard to believe, but regardless, you can spend up to Bouchard's contract over, but if he returns, you have to get back down the $56.8 million cap).

Lots of thoughts in that parentheses.

OK, gotta go. I see a state trooper. I should get the laptop off of me and get my eyes back to the road.