By Michael Russo
Just jumping on real quick before I head to the airport.
Just got off the phone with Rachel Blount, who reports the following from practice:
1. Coach Todd Richards reshuffled some of the lines in the third period last night, and he liked what he saw. He said he will stick with those lines Thursday in L.A., meaning Eric Belanger will center Martin Havlat and Petr Sykora and Mikko Koivu will center Andrew Brunette and Cal Clutterbuck.
I’m sure Havlat would love to still be with Koivu, but I can guarantee he loves the fact he’s with Sykora. He even tweeted early this morning how it felt like old times. The two have played together in a number of international tournaments and definitely showed on that one give-and-go goal that they’ve got chemistry.
Rachel said Richards continued a training-camp theme and raved all morning about Clutterbuck’s game. He loves his consistency and how you always know what you’re going to get with him.
Richards loved Belanger’s game in the third period and reiterated that the team still needs somebody to seize that No. 2 center position, especially now with Pierre-Marc Bouchard out of the lineup.
As I reported on the last blog, the Wild is not going to call up a forward yet until it’s necessary and Richards said today he’s happy with whom he’s got and it’s an opportunity for players to gain some valuable ice time.
Rachel also asked John Scott what he’s going to do with that UFC championship belt I wrote about. Scott said somebody’s already stolen it, so as Rachel quipped, “he lost the belt quicker than a heavyweight.”
Talk to you after Thursday’s morning skate in Los Angeles. Remember, with the time change, it’s an afternoon skate for you. Wild starts at 1:30 p.m. CT, so I’ll have an update in the afternoon and will always be on my twitter @russostrib.
Also, Russo Radio is scheduled to broadcast Thursday at 6 p.m. CT.