Good late afternoon on the eve of the opening of the 2010 training camp. Finally, right?

It's been a long offseason, even by Russo long offseason standards. Two weeks from today, the Wild hosts Columbus in an exhibition game, and then hits the friendly sky just about midnight for Helsinki, Finland -- home of one Niklas Backstrom.

Actually, Iceland for refueling, but eventually Helsinki. Bax has agreed to put up the team at his house. And cook dinner every night. 

Training camp essentially opens Friday with fitness testing and physicals, but really it starts Saturday because that's when the boots are laced up. Remember, open, free scrimmage from 10-noon at Xcel Energy Center on Sunday.

In Friday's editions, please check out the Matt Cullen feature. The new Wild centerman graciously allowed myself and photographer Carlos Gonzalez to trail him around Moorhead/Fargo a few weeks ago, so there'll be a story in Friday's paper and a cool photo gallery with Cullen's voiceover on startribune.com Friday. I'll also probably post a "Cullen Extra" blog tonight or tomorrow morning.

I wrote about this last night, but the Wild has officially increased its roster from 35 to 51 with 16 promotions from the Traverse City championship rookie squad. Four are tryouts -- Jared Spurgeon, Colton Jobke, Josh Caron and Brandon Buck.

The roster's really 50 because injured James Sheppard is still included.

Here's the updated roster:

LEFT WINGS HT WT SHOOTS BORN BIRTHPLACE 2009-10 TEAM LGE 

96 Pierre-Marc Bouchard 5-10 173 Left 4/27/84 Sherbrooke, Quebec Minnesota NHL 

15 Andrew Brunette 6-1 211 Left 8/24/73 Sudbury, Ontario Minnesota NHL

59 Brandon Buck 6-1 191 Left 8/16/88 Delaware, Ontario Florida ECHL

38 Robbie Earl 5-11 197 Left 6/2/85 Chicago, Illinois Houston AHL , Minnesota NHL

18 Colton Gillies 6-4 207 Left 2/12/89 Surrey, British Columbia Houston AHL

36 Petr Kalus 6-1 201 Left 6/29/87 Ostrava, Czechoslovakia Houston AHL 

28 Matt Kassian 6-5 240 Left 10/28/86 Edmonton, Alberta Houston AHL

48 Guillaume Latendresse6-2 230 Left 5/24/87 Sainte-Catherine, Quebec Montreal/MinnesotaNHL

23 Eric Nystrom 6-1 193 Left 2/14/83 Syosset, New York Calgary NHL


CENTERS HT WT SHOOTS BORN BIRTHPLACE 2009-10 TEAM LGE 

27 Cody Almond 6-2 221 Left 7/24/89 Calgary, Alberta Houston AHL Minnesota NHL

21 Kyle Brodziak 6-2 209 Right 5/25/84 St. Paul, Alberta Edmonton NHL

7 Matt Cullen 6-1 200 Left 11/2/76 Virginia, Minnesota Carolina/Ottawa NHL

9 Mikko Koivu 6-2 214 Left 3/12/83 Turku, Finland Minnesota NHL

11 John Madden 5-11 190 Left 5/4/73 Barrie, Ontario Chicago NHL

45 Carson McMillan 6-1 190 Right 9/10/88 Brandon, Manitoba Houston AHL

43 Warren Peters 6-0 201 Left 7/10/82 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Texas AHL Dallas NHL

51 James Sheppard 6-1 220 Left 4/25/88 Halifax, Nova Scotia Minnesota NHL

75 Chad Rau 5-11 188 Right 1/18/87 Eden Prairie, Minnesota Houston AHL

17 Casey Wellman 6-0 184 Right 10/18/87 Brentwood, California Massachusetts HE Minnesota NHL

RIGHT WINGS HT WT SHOOTS BORN BIRTHPLACE 2009-10 TEAM LGE

54 Brett Bulmer 6-2 182 Right 4/26/92 Prince George, B.C. Kelowna WHL

22 Cal Clutterbuck 5-10 209 Right 11/18/87 Welland, Ontario Minnesota NHL

73 Joel Broda 6-0 208 Left 11/24/89 Prince Albert, SaskatchewanCalgary WHL

40 Jean-Michel Daoust 5-7 154 Right 11/24/83 Valleyfield, Quebec Houston AHL

29 Jon DiSalvatore 6-1 200 Right 3/30/81 Bangor, Maine Houston AHL

24 Martin Havlat 6-2 217 Left 4/19/81 Mlada Boleslav, Czech Rep. Minnesota NHL

12 Chuck Kobasew 6-0 192 Right 4/17/82 Vancouver, British ColumbiaBoston/MinnesotaNHL

20 Antti Miettinen 6-0 194 Right 7/3/80 Hameenlinna, Finland Minnesota NHL

79 Jarod Palmer 6-0 200 Right 2/10/86 Fridley, Minnesota Miami University CCHA

16 Brad Staubitz 6-1 215 Right 7/28/84 Edmonton, Alberta San Jose NHL

DEFENSEMEN HT WT SHOOTS BORN BIRTHPLACE 2009-10 TEAM LGE

42 Drew Bagnall 6-3 220 Left 10/26/83 Oakbank, Manitoba Manchester AHL

25 Cam Barker 6-3 215 Left 4/4/86 Winnipeg, Manitoba Chicago/MinnesotaNHL

68 Josh Caron 6-3 215 Right 2/10/91 Campbell River, B.C. Kamloops WHL

26 Tyler Cuma 6-1 198 Left 1/19/90 Toronto, Ontario Ottawa OHL

8 Brent Burns 6-5 232 Right 3/9/85 Ajax, Ontario Minnesota NHL

41 Justin Falk 6-5 217 Left 10/11/88 Snowflake, Manitoba Houston AHL

46 Jamie Fraser 6-1 200 Left 11/17/85 Sarnia, Ontario Houston AHL

74 Colton Jobke 6-0 170 Left 4/20/92 Delta, British Columbia Kelowna WHL

34 Maxim Noreau 5-11 192 Right 5/14/87 Montreal, Quebec Houston AHL

39 Nate Prosser 6-2 221 Right 5/7/86 Elk River, Minnesota Colorado College WCHA Minnesota NHL

6 Marco Scandella 6-3 206 Left 2/23/90 Montreal, Quebec Val d’Or QMJHL

55 Nick Schultz 6-1 203 Left 8/25/82 Strasbourg, Saskatchewan Minnesota NHL

4 Clayton Stoner 6-3 206 Left 2/19/85 Port McNeill, B.C. Houston AHL Minnesota NHL

78 Jared Spurgeon 5-8 171 Right 11/29/89 Edmonton, Alberta Spokane WHL

5 Greg Zanon 5-11 198 Left 6/5/80 Burnaby, British Columbia Minnesota NHL

3 Marek Zidlicky 5-11 186 Right 2/3/77 Most, Czechoslovakia Minnesota NHL

GOALTENDERS HT WT CATCHES BORN BIRTHPLACE 2009-10 TEAM LGE

32 Niklas Backstrom 6-1 186 Left 2/13/78 Helsinki, Finland Minnesota NHL

31 Matthew Hackett 6-2 179 Left 3/7/90 London, Ontario Plymouth OHL

37 Josh Harding 6-1 199 Right 6/18/84 Regina, Saskatchewan Minnesota NHL

35 Anton Khudobin 5-11 203 Left 5/7/86 Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan Houston AHL Minnesota NHL

70 Darcy Kuemper 6-4 200 Left 5/5/90 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Red Deer WHL

30 Josh Tordjman 6-1 155 Left 1/11/85 Montreal, Quebec San Antonio AHL