Mikko Koivu Returns After Missing Eight Games

Updated: February 9, 2012 at 1:36 pm by Alexander Monaghan

Koivu officially returns tonight. For the team’s expected lines, click here.

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Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu is expected to play tonight against the Vancouver Canucks according to the Star Tribune. Koivu practiced between regular linemates Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi and was all-but-declared ready. Stay tuned for an official confirmation from the team.

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2/7/12: Koivu practiced today but was held out of line rushes according to Michael Russo of The Star Tribune, via Twitter. However, the captain remains very close to returning — a great sign when considering the Wild are in the 8th seed by a hair. Expect Koivu to get back in the lineup shortly, as soon as this Thursday against Vancouver.

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2/6/12: Koivu continues to progress and is expected to return over the next week or two. When questioned today by the team’s official Twitter, Koivu simply answered: “I don’t know, we’ll see.” Sounds like tomorrow is a possibility so make sure to check back prior to game time.

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1/23/12: Koivu will not play the rest of this week, or during the All-Star Game for that matter. According to Michael Russo of The Star Tribune, the team’s captain is likely two weeks away from playing so his participation in the exhibition games, or Tuesday’s game, has been officially ruled out. As always, check back for a further update on his status as the Wild continue their free fall down the Western Conference standings.

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UPDATE 1/20/12: Mikko Koivu was seen firing pucks in the shooting cage today according to the Minnesota Wild’s official Twitter. Considering the Wild insist Koivu could be ready for the All-Star Game, it makes you wonder whether he will be able to tape up his shoulder and get back into the lineup.

The Wild have now lost four consecutive games and likely won’t be getting back into the win column too frequently without their leader and leading scorer. Do you think the team forces him to lace them up?

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Just a month ago, the Minnesota Wild looked like the Cinderella story of the 2011-2012 season. Due to a multitude of injuries, that story changed from contender to pretender as the team can’t kick the injury bug. Guillaume Latendresse has been out since December 14th with a concussion. Likewise, Pierre-Marc Bouchard could miss the rest of the season with a head injury. This Saturday, Mikko Koivu became the team’s latest victim, leaving the arena with his shoulder in a sling.

According to Michael Russo of The Star Tribune, the original prognosis does not look good for the team’s captain. His tentative prognosis looks like 4-6 weeks due to a separated shoulder. Russo would compare Koivu’s ailment to that of teammate Devin Setoguchi, who missed from December 6th to January 4th. Assuming Koivu misses the minimum recovery time of four weeks, the Wild would still play 27 games with their captain.

For the second time this season Mike Yeo and company will need to find a way to win without their leader and most important player. In his previous four-game stint on the sidelines, the team managed a 0-3-1 record. With just two wins in their last 10 games the Wild could be watching their playoff chances slip away if they can’t put together some wins. In fact, the Colorado Avalanche could pass them today with a win.

In the meantime, look for Matt Cullen to fill in on the top line. The Minnesota native has 11 goals and 25 points through 44 games and could fill in decently. However, the bigger question would be who replaces the secondary scoring if the team has only one scoring line. The chances of the Wild bouncing back are quite bleak.

Should you need to replace Koivu on your fantasy hockey roster, some hot picks down the middle are David Desharnais, Derek Stepan and Dave Bolland.

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