By Michael Russo
Good afternoon from hot, humid South Florida, where things are busy.
Landed at 10:30 a.m. and have been at the BankAtlantic Center ever since covering Panthers and Wild practice.
First, for news, Marek Zidlicky has been placed on injured reserve retroactive to Sept. 26 to make room for Cal Clutterbuck, who was recalled after injuries to Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Owen Nolan.
Bouchard is back in Minnesota with the back injury; Nolan didn’t practice today with a right leg injury. I again saw him with his right thigh heavily wrapped with ice today.
Jacques Lemaire said he wouldn’t play tomorrow against Florida.
Lemaire gave Marian Gaborik, Eric Belanger, Mikko Koivu, Antti Mietinen and Andrew Brunette the practice off today. So the five played soccer hacky sack for an hour by the locker room, and by the sound of their howling, they had a grand old time.
So far all’s silent on the Gaborik front. I know you’re anxious for some news, but it’s a situation right now rather than an event as one person described it to me. Don’t start going nuts about every Internet rumor. Stuff is going to be thrown about until Gaborik is either traded or he signs an extension.
I’ve written the teams that make sense in the paper and on here. Montreal, LA and Pittsburgh are the team I’d be looking at right now.
As I’ve reported on here and on TV, there’s no doubt Doug Risebrough is talking with other teams. He’s avoiding the beat writers like the plague right now, and things are extremely tense inside the organization.
Although, watching Gaborik play last night and talking to him and watching him the last few days, he doesn’t seem particularly distracted or worried.
Lemaire wasn’t in the most talkative mood today. He said Boogaard’s 29-second shift yesterday was due to shortening the bench after the Nolan injury. He is “surprised and disappointed” with the play of Benoit Pouliot, who clearly just doesn’t get it in Lemaire’s opinion. It was almost impossible to get a usuable quote from Lemaire on this, but he is not happy with the kid and clearly can’t get a read on him.
He took an offensive-zone penalty and rides guys up the ice with his long reach. At some point Pouliot’s going to take a very costly penalty, but Lemaire said that’s the least concern he has with Pouliot. But he wouldn’t specifically talk about what he’s seeing there.
Lemaire also said Brent Burns will continue to get 29 minutes a game unless Martin Skoula, whom Lemaire referred to as his “buddy,” doesn’t improve and Nick Schultz doesn’t start playing 20 good minutes.
I’m doing a story on Burns’ hefty ice time today. I talked to Hall of Famer Denis Potvin for the story, and Florida’s Jay Bouwmeester, who plays more minutes than any player in the NHL.
Also, just a preview for the week: I talked to Barry Melrose yesterday, so I’ll do a story on the new Lightning coach for Saturday.
I also talked with Wild defenseman Tomas Mojzis this afternoon. Mojzis played in Russia last season and said there’s unbelievable medical negligence there, so the reaction to the Cherepanov incident that he’s read so much about the last couple days since the Rangers prospect collapsed and died during a game doesn’t surprise him in the least. That will be all in my Sunday column.
OK, I really have to get to work. It’s already almost 5 p.m. here.