Russo reports in his blog that Havlat was looked at by doctors. And now, based on the Wild announcement that Smith has been recalled, he's a definite no-go.
For those of you who do not read Russo regularly, you're missing out. He truly keeps the fans connected with the NHL and Minnesota Wild. It is very hard to get close to the players at that level, and I think Russo does a great job of conveying what is going on at the rink ... both at practice and in the game.
What he is also good at -- and I don't know if he does this on purpose or not -- is showing just how much of a sad hockey team the Wild is this year. And it is not for lack of effort or professionalism. The big club has that, I know, because people I talk to all the time, including scouts, always compliment the team and owners. But what I mean by "sad" is the combination of mediocre-at-best-talent, zero luck and a season-opening schedule that most AHL teams would laugh at.
If it could go wrong for the Wild this season, it has. If it can go wrong for the Wild this season, just wait ... it will.
There are five forwards out of the lineup in Minny, and Russo reports that players are getting frustrated with the lack of results ... and they are also probably very frustrated knowing that no matter what, they will probably lose at least 60 percent of the time based on personnel alone.
The fact that they have won as many games as they have surprises me ... and I would like to see what this team can do when fully healthy. But you know what? As soon as one guy comes back another one will get hurt.
The Wild is missing several key ingredients that could make Todd Richards look a little bit better in his debut season as a head coach. And until he is able to cook with those, look for more of the same in St. Paul.
That being said, if I am on the Aeros, I go out there and play my freaking ass off every night. Look at all the rewards dished out this year. Hilbert, Smith (now twice), Earl, Irmen and Khudobin. (Did I miss anyone?) This is what AAA hockey is for, and the Wild is a (sexual reference deleted) dream for guys playing at this level.
Just because all the Aeros' best talent is in the NHL right now, doesn't mean fans are going to see a team full of quitters down here. There is plenty to be motivated about, and after every game players are starting to reflect that to me with their post game comments.
The Aeros are motivated to win, for sure; no one likes to lose. But they are also motivated because, for some reason, St. Paul is the place were heads, groins and other upper body parts go to die.